Looking at What's New in Word 2007
Earlier versions of Microsoft Word all looked alike. They had menus, toolbars, task panes, and other pop-up, drop-down, leak-out stuff. With Word 2007, all of that is gone. Word 2007 sports no menus — it has only one tiny toolbar.
Replacing the menus and toolbars is a tabbed Ribbon system. The tabs are like the menus of old, but their commands are grouped into graphical command buttons. Some buttons are commands, and some buttons are menus. This setup can be overwhelming at first, but it makes it possible to do some tasks in fewer steps than with the old Word interface. The tabs, groups, and command buttons also change as you take on various activities in Word. Although this may seem disruptive, it's in fact quite handy. Knowing that, of course, doesn't make the thing less intimidating.
You can hide the Ribbon if you would rather have more room to write: Right-click anywhere on the Ribbon and choose the Minimize Ribbon command from the pop-up menu. To restore the Ribbon, right-click any tab and choose the Minimize Ribbon command again.
Beyond the interface (that is, the way it looks), Word is a bit stricter on styles and formatting. The benefit here is instant previews — or the ability to instantly see how changes affect your document as you browse a menu. (This Live Preview feature doesn't work in the Draft view in Microsoft Word.)
Word's main mode of operation is Print Layout view. If you were a fan of Normal or Draft view in previous versions of Word, you should switch to Print Layout view, if you haven't already. In Print Layout view, you get to see the entire page, just as it prints. Activate this view by clicking the status bar's Print Layout button. Graphical images, columns, and all sorts of other fancy items show up on the page fully visible. You can see the edge of the page and a blank space between pages.
Finally, many commands didn't survive the transition from older versions of Word to Word 2007. You won't find any of the following in Word 2007:
- Character Animation
- Close All
- File Search
- Office Assistant
- Save All
- Save As Web Page
- WordPerfect Help
These items were either dropped entirely or replaced with something better.