As you probably know by now Microsoft has made some major changes to the interface in the their Microsoft Office 2007 suite up applications (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.), specifically the “Ribbon”. The ribbon is essentially a completely new way of displaying buttons, tools, commands and menus items which is “intended” to enhance usability and decreases the time it takes to edit documents.
However, until you learn to use the ribbon it could have the exact opposite affect! Most people find themselves continually hunting for buttons and tools that they could easily find in the past. Don’t worry they still exist! You just have to learn where to look, and here’s how:
One of the best tools to make this transition easier is the Microsoft Office Interactive Guides. The site contains Microsoft Office 2007 user interface guides for each application in the suite. The guides are simple visual tools that show you were where to look in Office 2007 to find the same exact tool you used in Office 2003. (If you’re used to a version older than 2003 don’t worry, it’s probably similar enough to 2003 that the tool will work just fine for you as well.)
You can launch web based versions or download them and take them with you. They run independent of other programs and don’t require any version of office to be installed on your computer.
After you launch one of the guides you are presented with the Office 2003 interface where you navigate to the button or menu you were searching for. By hovering over the item you are presented with a simple description of where to look in Office 2007 to find the same tool. If you click an item you get an animated display. It’s that simple!
Here’s the link where you can find the interactive guides: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/training/HA102295841033.aspx.
You may also want to check out the Microsoft Office training site for lots of other helpful information on the Office suites: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/training/FX100565001033.aspx
Now that you’re well on your way to learning how to use the ribbon you can take full advantage of one of its best features: hovering over an item on the ribbon will temporarily modify your document (until you hover off) so you can see exactly what the results of selecting the item will be, no more trial and error!
Good luck and enjoy!
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