"10 New Office 2007 Screen Elements"

This tutorial introduces you the 10 new Office 2007 screen elements that you can easily found on the Office 2007 applications.

You may know that the Office 2007 differs substantially from the previous versions, both in appearance and functionality. Traditional menus, toolbars, and task panes have been replaced by a new navigation system and a multitude of new features that are designed to make accomplishing tasks in the application easier than ever before.

The following are descriptions of the major Microsoft Office 2007 screen elements.

1. Office Button

Office button

The Office Button is that large, round control in the upper-left corner of some of Office 2007 applications. It displays a new menu that replaced the old File menu in previous versions of Office programs. This new menu shows icons next to the commands, letting new users associate the icons with the commands.

It offers basics such as New, Open, and Save commands, along with some newcomers, like Prepare and Publish.

Related options are now grouped together. For example, previous Office programs listed Save As and Save as Web Page separately. On the new menu, when you mouse over the Save As option, additional options appear.

2. Ribbon

The Ribbon is a bar across the top of the window that contains tabbed pages of commands and icons/buttons. Previous versions of Office interface included a complicated set of toolbars and menus. These have been replaced by the Ribbon. Instead of the old menu bar, which included the drop-down menus like File, Edit, View, Insert, etc., the Ribbon (shown below) contains tabs and grouped commands.

Here are the elements in Office 2007 ribbon:

  • Ribbon: The whole bar, including all of the tabs.
  • Tab: A tabbed page of the Ribbon such as Home, Insert, etc. Every tab contains several groups and every group has its own command icons.
  • Group: A section of a tab. For example, the Home tab has the following groups: Clipboard, Font, Paragraph, Styles, and Editing.
  • Dialog box launcher: A small icon in the bottom-right corner of a group, from which you can open a dialog box related to that group.
You can minimize the Ribbon to make more space available on your screen. To quickly minimize the Ribbon, double-click the name of the active tab. Double-click a tab again to restore the Ribbon.

Note: To minimize or restore the Ribbon using keyboard shortcut, press Ctrl+F1.

3. Tabs, contextual tabs, program tabs

Each tab corresponds to a task. For example, in Word, the Home tab contains the most commonly used writing tools, such as the font formatting options and style options. Additional tabs will appear in a program based on an action. For example, if you are working with a header or footer, the Header & Footer Tools tab will display. Such tabs are called contextual tabs.

Office 2007 Tabs

Groups are units of related commands (buttons, menus, drop-down lists, etc.) They include each command needed for a certain task. The groups on the Word Home tab include Clipboard, Font, Paragraph, Styles, and Editing.

And certain groups (all but the Editing group in the Ribbon shown here) have dialog box launchers, those tiny icons in the bottom-right corner of the group. Click that icon and you get a traditional dialog box or task pane associated with the group.

In addition to the standard tabs, you'll see specialized contextual tabs that appear depending on what you're working on. For example, if you insert a chart in Excel, the Chart Tools tab will appear, with Design, Layout, and Format subtabs, as shown below.

Office 2007 Contextual Tabs

One more distinction to make regarding tabs: The Ribbon also sometimes displays program tabs. These are tabs that appear for certain views or authoring modes, such as Print Preview.

Office 2007 Program Tabs

4. The Quick Access Toolbar

Office 2007 Quick Access Toolbar

The Quick Access Toolbar located right beside the Office Button. It is comparable to the Standard toolbar in earlier versions of Office programs. With the new Ribbon, by default it contains 3 buttons but you can customize the toolbar to include other buttons that are not found anywhere on the Ribbon, as well as any macros you might want to have handy.

To add or remove buttons, click the down arrow. When the Customize Quick Access Toolbar menu appears, select or deselect an option. (Checked options are already included in the Quick Access Toolbar.)

Customize Office 2007 Quick Access toolbar

5. Mini Toolbar

The Mini toolbar is a set of formatting tools that appears when you first select text. It is not context sensitive and always contains the identical set of formatting tools. There is no Mini toolbar for graphics and other non-text objects.

mini toolbar

When you first select text, the Mini toolbar appears as a ghostly apparition. When you move the mouse pointer closer to it, it becomes more solid. If you move the mouse pointer far enough away from it, it fades away completely. Click a button on the Mini toolbar to apply formatting to the selection.

6. Galleries

A gallery is a set of thumbnail graphics that represent a set of formatting options that you can apply to various elements in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Access 2007. Examples include table styles, chart styles, and PowerPoint themes, shown here.

Office 2007 gallery

7. Live Preview

Live Preview is a feature that works together with the styles in a gallery to let you preview the results of formatting choices. So you can flit from one choice to another and try on the various sets of formatting without committing to anything until you're ready.

To acquaint yourself with Live Preview, create a simple worksheet in Excel. Click the Page Layout tab on the Ribbon, and then click Themes. Move your mouse over the gallery, and watch how the formatting is dynamically updated in the worksheet.

8. KeyTips

You can't deny that the traditional Office keyboard shortcuts work as they've always worked.

KeyTips designed to serve as keyboard accelerators to access various items on the Ribbon. Just press the ALT key and then you press the appropriate additional keys as indicated by the KeyTips labels.

For example, pressing Alt + X will cut an item on the document.

Office 2007 keytips

9. Enhanced ScreenTips

Enhanced ScreenTips give some explanations on the icons in the Ribbon as well as the keyboard shortcut for the particular icon. Just move the mouse pointer over icons and you'll see it.

These ScreenTips will probably come in handy for novice users and those who are learning the Office 2007. More experienced users may not pay much attention to them, although in some cases, they should.

Example here shows the Enhanced ScreenTips for the Table icon in Excel 2007.

Enhanced ScreenTips

10. Status Bar

The Office 2007 Status Bar is the bar display at the bottom of the document screen. Depending on the application in use, the status bar provides dozens of optional pieces of information about the current document.

By default, the Office 2007 status bar offers options such as a Zoom slider for magnification and view options (Print Layout, Outline, Draft, etc.). The options vary by application.

The best part is that you can customize what appears on each application's status bar. Just right-click on it and you'll see the Customize Status Bar menu. It lists everything you can place on the status bar, along with its current state.

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