Microsoft Word 2007 Tips: Part 1

 One of the most widely used applications for Windows users is Microsoft Word.  I use it daily, and ever since I’ve upgraded to Office 2007, I find myself stumbling across new tips and tricks that make my experience that much better.  Word 2007 is setup much different than previous versions, so it does take some time to get used to.  Because of this, I’ve decided to start a mini-series offering some of my favorite tips and tricks.

—Minimizing the Ribbon—

One of the biggest changes in the user interface for Office 2007 is the use of the “ribbon” as it’s called. It replaces the traditional menus and toolbars and organizes everything you’d need into tabs. Within Microsoft Word, there are tabs for Home, Insert, Page Layout, References, Mailings, Review, and View. Everything is broken down into one of those categories so that it’s easy to find (The image below shows what the ribbon looks like).


I have adapted well to the Ribbon, but at times it would be nice to have the screen space that it takes up.  Luckily there’s a way for you to minimize it down to just the tab options.  To do this, you’ll need to right click anywhere on the ribbon. One of the options when you right click says “Minimize the Ribbon.” Just click on it, and you’ll have all of your screen space available (The image below shows what it looks like if you minimize the Ribbon).


To get it back, you just have to right click again and choose the same option.


RulerIf you’re doing table work, it’s nice to have the rulers accessible. By default, you don’t see the rulers on the top and side of your screen.  One option to view the ruler is to bring your mouse up to the top of the page right before the Ribbon and wait a couple of seconds for it to appear. If you don’t get your mouse in just the right spot, it doesn’t work.

Another option to get the rulers to stick around permanently is to click on the small ruler icon right above the scroll bar. It doesn’t look like much, but by clicking on it your rulers will appear. By clicking it again, they’ll disappear.

—Quick Access Buttons—

If you decide that you want to conserve space and you use the “Minimize the Ribbon” option, there’s a way to give you easy access to the functions you’ll use the most. The Quick Access Toolbar is found up at the top, and by default the save option will be there. You can add anything you’d like to this toolbar for easy access.For example, if you find yourself switching fonts or size often, all you have to do is right click on the button within the ribbon and select to add it to your Quick Access Toolbar. 


Essentially you’re creating your own customized toolbar up at the top that you have easy access to.  I use tables a lot, change fonts frequently, and print quite often, so I added each of those options to the Quick Access Toolbar so that they’re easy to get to.

—Thumbnail View—

Thumbnailview1When you’re working on a longer document, navigating can become tedious. This is where the Thumbnail View will probably come in handy. Much like PowerPoint’s thumbnail view of slides, Microsoft Word also has something similar which will display a thumbnail preview for each of the pages within your document. While each of the thumbnails aren’t very readable, you can still use them to navigate.

To get the thumbnail view, click on the ‘View” tab, and then check the box that says ‘thumbnails’ in the section where it says “Show/Hide.” After selecting this option, a new pane will open on the left side of your screen with thumbnails of all of the pages in the document. This makes for easy navigation because each of the thumbnails are clickable.  If you click on a thumbnail, that page will now be the main document in view.

While it’s not quite as nice as the PowerPoint thumbnail preview, it will help you navigate through longer documents.

—Wrapping it up—

There are so many different tips and tricks that can make your Microsoft Word experience better.  Once you get used to the new user interface, you’ll probably find that you like Office 2007 better than previous versions. Stay tuned for additional parts to this series dedicated to helping you make the most out of Microsoft Word 2007!