Opening Files in Office 2011 for Mac - dummies

By Geetesh Bajaj, James Gordon

Every program in Office 2011 for Mac is associated with files that must be opened from the File menu. Whenever you choose File→Open or when you insert content into existing files using a file browser, such as when choosing a picture to insert, you encounter Open dialogs. Office 2011 applications tell the Mac operating system to display the familiar file browser dialog you encounter all the time while using Mac OS X.


As in a typical Open dialog, this one also has these features:

  • Forward and Back buttons: Help you navigate the folders in your directory.

  • Icon view, List view, and Column view buttons: Display files as icons (Icon view), in a list (List view), or with a mini preview and file details (Column view). In List view, you can click the column headers to reorder the list.

  • Shortcuts pop-up menu: Includes major directories and recent places.

  • Search field: Search is special. See the next heading.

  • More Info button: Displays Mac OS X Get Info for a selected file.

  • Resize: Drag to resize the pane. Double-click to resize all panes.

  • Enable pop-up menu: Enables you to choose which file type to open. Use this to choose a file type other than the application’s default format.

  • Open pop-up menu: Choose from Original, Copy, and Read-Only. Original opens the selected file, Copy opens a copy of the selected file, and Read-Only opens the selected file as read-only.

  • Open and Cancel buttons: Open the selected file. (Double-clicking a file does the same thing.) The Cancel button closes the dialog without opening a file.

Want to peek inside an entire file without actually opening it? You can! This feature is great for those times when you have several similar files and you aren’t sure which one you want to open. Just select an Office file in the file browser and then press the spacebar. That small act lets you look at the entire document from start to finish. When previewing an Excel workbook, you even get to choose tabs. Amazing!

To open multiple files, hold Command down to select individual files or hold Shift down to select a range of filenames in the file list. Then click the Open button.