One of the complaints I’ve heard from people who start using Microsoft Office 2007 is that because of the new Ribbon, they sometimes have a hard time finding the commands that they’re looking for. The Microsoft Office Labs team knows this, so they’ve decided to help users by launching a project for Office 2007 called Search Commands. Before we dive in and explain how it works, we first need to explain the new web site/community for Microsoft Office Labs found at www.officelabs.com.
Office Labs is the site that has been put together by the Microsoft Office Labs team. They’re the ones that test different ideas and then build the prototypes for people to experiment with. They like to describe the prototypes that they build as “Concept Cars.” From their About page:
The prototypes you see here are like “Concept Cars”. They aren’t products or features of Microsoft Office. Don’t expect them to work perfectly, or be available here forever. Just as when a concept car is shown at an auto-show, one or two or none of the ideas shown might make it into a future vehicle. Everybody knows its unpredictable, so don’t go off thinking this is some kind of preview for future versions of Office, ok? Anyway, we thought it would be interesting to present some ideas we are exploring.
Now that you’ve got an idea what the Microsoft Office Labs site is all about, we’ll dive into Search Commands. Knowing that Search Commands is a product of Office Labs should tell you straight from the start that you might run into a problem or two. But it could also be a great help to you as well. After downloading and installing it, a Search Commands tab will appear in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint. By clicking on it you’ll see a search field where you can type in what you’re looking for like “spell check” or “bold.” The image below shows what you’ll be looking for in Office once you install Search Commands:
Here’s a quick list of all of the different things Search Commands will help you find:
The only downside that we can see at this point is that English is the only supported language, and that it is just a prototype so it may not always work perfectly. Other than that, it might be a pretty big help for some of you still trying to adjust to Office 2007.
If you’d like to watch a really corny video which shows Search Commands in action, click here.