Word 2007 Cheat Sheet

Microsoft Word 2007's new interface is likely to confound veteran Word users. Here's everything you need to know to make the switch.

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New File Format

Under the hood, the biggest change to Word is the new Office XML format -- all Microsoft Office applications now use it. By default, Word saves in this new format, which has the .docx extension, or the .docm extension if the document contains macros. For businesses, this can be a big plus, because it allows for easier integration with enterprise-level applications and for exchanging data.

In some instances, it also creates files of a smaller size, because files are automatically compressed when they're saved to disk and then automatically uncompressed when you open them.

In addition, the new format makes it easier to recover damaged files because it saves different data components -- such as tables and charts -- separately from one another. This means files can be opened even if an individual component, such as a chart, is damaged.

That's the good news. Here's the bad news: Most of the world doesn't use the new format and won't for some time. So if you want to exchange files with others, you'll need to use the old .doc format.

To save a file in the .doc format, click the Office Button and choose Save As > Word 97-2003 Document. To have Word save all of your files in the old .doc format automatically, click the Office Button, choose Word Options > Save > Save files in this format > Word 97-2003 Document.

Themes

Have you ever tried making sure that your Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents all include a common look and feel -- for example, incorporating a corporate logo, certain colors and so on? If so, you've most likely struggled mightily and come out on the short end of the stick.

Themes, new to Word 2007 and Office 2007, are designed to make doing that easier. You can create a single, overarching theme, with colors, logos, paragraph styles and so on, and then use that theme for all of your Office documents.

Themes may sound suspiciously like templates, but they're somewhat different. You can have multiple templates that use the same theme. So, for example, you could create a theme that includes your company logo, colors and font choice. You could then have one template in that style for letters, another for budget proposals and many others for different purposes.

Themes

You'll find Themes on the Page Layout tab.

Click to view larger image.

To use Themes, select the Page Layout tab and click the Themes button to choose a new theme. You can also customize any theme and create new ones.

One important caveat: Be aware that themes only work if you're using Word's new Office XML format; they won't work on old-style .doc files.

Quick Parts

If you need to create sophisticated documents that include complex headers and footers, objects such as decorative text callouts, and fields for dates, file names, bar codes and the like, you'll appreciate the new Quick Parts feature. To insert just about any object, field or style, click the Insert tab, then click Quick Parts and choose what you want to insert.

Choose "Document Property" for objects that relate to the entire document, such as Author, Company and Keywords. Choose Field to insert a field such as the number of words or the page number, and choose Building Blocks Organizer to see every single Quick Part available.

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