Microsoft Word 2010, The New Word
As I write this the new Microsoft Word is Word 2010. Let me give you a little background. First about MS Word. Word is a word processing software program that lets you create and edit documents. Each new version is enhanced providing more features for your word processing. Next, my background. I worked in a school district in Technology. One of my jobs was to prepare manuals and introduce the staff to any new software we purchased, especially any Office programs. I believe I started with Office 98 then went to 2000 and 2003. We skipped 2007. I retired in December 2010 but was asked if I could come back and do an introductory class on Word 2010. Piece of cake right? Wrong! Lots and lots of changes to Word 2010.
If you ever used Word 2007 you have a pretty good idea what Word 2010 is like. If you are still using Word 2003 you’re in for a really big surprise. I started working on my manual and had a lot of learning to do. First of all, anyone who has used Microsoft Office knows there are menu bars on the top of the windows. Well, starting in the 2007 edition those menu bars were replaced by a ribbon. The ribbon places commands in tabs. Each tab is then divided into different sections or groups. A lot of users believe the ribbon takes too much time and energy to learn and many businesses complain of loosing productivity time while their workers are relearning a product they’ve been using for years. Other people object to the ribbon’s size, it takes up more space on the top of your window…is there anything good about the ribbon? Once you become familiar with it there it.
Okay, so I have no choice. If I’m going to introduce this, I have to figure out how to use it. So, I check out the ribbon only to learn it is topped by a Quick Access Toolbar. I know, I said there weren’t any toolbars anymore, but we’re talking about Microsoft here. The benefit of the Quick Access Toolbar is that it is always visible, no matter what Tab you are currently working in. The Quick Access Toolbar comes with only four items, however, you can customize it and add more if you’d like.
So, back to the ribbon. Instead of the nine menu choices you had, you now have eight tabs. Some of the choices you had before are still available but they’ve moved and/or new ones have been added. For example, the types of documents you can work on in Word have expanded. Actually, I guess they’re not all documents but templates. In addition to those available in the program, you can download more directly from Microsoft or you can download from other sites like thepapermillstore.com and you can buy professionally made templates from other sites.
Back to the ribbon. When you open Word 2010 the Home tab is where you’ll find yourself. That is the default tab. I find that a little strange since you need the File tab to start a new file or open an old one, but I didn’t write the program. The Home tab contains most of your editing tools. The first section, labeled Clipboard has cut, copy and paste. The next section of the Home tab is Font. All the tools you need to change, modify and enhance your fonts is right in this section. Next you have Paragraph. Again this section contains all the tools you need to work with paragraphs like bullets, indent, fill, sort (which is new), and so on. There’s a Style section that gives you options for changing the styles in your document including heading styles. Lastly is Editing which contains Find, Replace, Select. That is a very basic run down of the Home tab. If you’ve been paying attention you can see a tab has a lot going for it. The initial problem is learning where to find what on what tab!
Of course there are many new features throughout Word. Backstage is one. No, you’re not reading an article about Broadway. Microsoft says, “The Backstage view is used to manage files and the data about the files, such as creating and saving files, inspecting for hidden metadata or personal information, and setting file options.” Clear? I didn’t think so. It takes time, research and practice to become familiar with some of these options and changes. Backstage is where you’ll find the Help Menu, lots of document sharing options…Can’t find the Backstage tab? It’s the File tab, not at all confusing, especially for the novice! What happens is when you click on the File Tab you are taken to the “Backstage View.” It keeps track of the files you’ve used, and when you used them. It’s the place to go to recover unsaved files. The list goes on. Backstage (File) is probably one of the best places to be in Word 2010. I don’t have enough room or time in this article to go into all the details of Backstage.
There’s also a screenshot feature called screen clipping. It eliminates the use of third party software to copy a screenshot for your document. However, I still haven’t figured out how to get a picture of something inside of my document. Outside of my document, no problem.
If you look at the Insert Tab in Word 2010 you will see it is easier to find the items you want to insert. They are right there with icons. The first section is Pages, the second section is Tables, both familiar territory, however, on the Pages section is Insert Cover Page. This is truly a handy dandy feature. There are improved charts and diagrams to insert into your document. You can use SmartArt to create powerful diagrams that add value to the information you are conveying. Another new feature, Word now offers the ability to remove the background from a picture, right in Word, again no third party software needed. There are several new art work type features including font enhancements, artistic effects to apply to pictures, again the list goes on. You can now insert bookmarks in your document, especially useful if you have a very long document with aspects you’d like to point out. Have you ever worried about the cover page of your document? Word now helps you by letting you insert a cover page right in Word. You can select from a list of available templates and/or customize your own. Inserting page numbers and headers and footers is part of the Insert Tab as well. There are new options for managing these insertions. I don’t know how many of you are familiar with AutoText but if you type a lot of documents using the same items over and over this is a great time saver. For example, if you write to Joseph Smith, President of the Smith & Jones Company, you can program AutoText so that all you have to do is type JSP and hit the F3 key…when you do Joseph Smith, President of the Smith & Jones Company will be inserted in your document. Oh the marvels to be found here!
The Page Layout tab contains everything you could possibly need to work on your page. Everything from margins, to orientation to size and columns. A new addition is Themes. Themes let’s you choose a theme that coordinates the fonts, color, and style throughout your document giving you a new and professional looking document. You can also insert a Watermark on your document from the Page Layout tab.
References is a great new tab. The selections in this tab allow you to search the web for citations right from your Word document or look up information in various references linked to word under this tab. You can create a Table of Contents or Bibliography and insert Cross-References from the References tab as well.
The Mailings tab does pretty much what it suggests. It helps you with mailings. Here is where you can address envelopes and labels, create mail merges to send those nice individualized letters to 100 people, definitely the Mailing tab.
The Review tab holds some interesting options including the familiar Thesaurus, a better spellchecker, etc. Oh, did I tell you about the translator? There’s now a language translation tool in Word. You can translate your document, either entirely, just a paragraph or even just a word into a host of available languages AND you can translate from a language into English.
When I was writing my manual I did quite a bit of web research. Of course, as always The Dummies books are always good. One website I found particularly helpful was howtogeek.com
I have just scratched the surface of the new MS Word 2010. You really need to check it out yourself to find all the new features though I must warn you it will take you a while to find them and incorporate them into your daily routine.
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Word 2010 for Dummies