Well, and when you first look at it, it does look different. And, it is different. Forget all those shortcuts through the menus, you have used so far...
In fact, only one menu item remains, everything else has been moved to the all new ribbons. Note: Microsoft does not call them toolbars anymore, those are ribbons. And the file menu itself has changed. It is much clearer, yet some items do not really related directly to the file opened. But they had to put some things somewhere, I guess.
Well, let's create a new document. From the file menu, go to New... and you will be greated by the all new New Document window. Usually you'll see the featured templates to begin with. On the right is a list of the most recently used templates.
But there are more views. Like the localy installed templates, which yet lack a preview - for which reason, I do not know - and the online library hosted by Microsoft. Select any category and you'll see a live list of templates available for download. Note: the dialog is downloading the preview in the background, 10 previews are available, more will come in in just a few seconds (well, not on this screen shot anymore ;-))
Well, let's import an existing document. I'll take the one created for my first BDN article. When loaded, I first saved it in the new Office Word format. The file extension is .docx. In fact, all MS Office products now save the files with an additionall x at the end. I do not know what it stands for. Someone told me, that it denotes the new XML file format, but looking at the file, it is not an XML format. But anyway, below you see the icons for older Word formats (.doc) and the new one (.docx).
Once you have saved the file in the new format, Word will still preserve a backward compatibility mode, which easily allows you to save your document for use with older versions. From the file menu, you can select Convert and Word will forget about those restraints.
Now, once you see those ribbons and if you are like me, how can you navigate them without using your mouse. Well, it es easy, simply tap your [ALT] key and release it again. All items accessible through any [ALT]+[...] combination will show a little hint giving you there access key(s). Below you see the three step navigation to change the document color theme ([ALT]+[P]+[TC]). Press [ESC] at any point to cancel this navigation mode.
But, let's take a look at those common ribbons you will have to get used to. Those ribbons should be accessible at all times and at any place in your document.
But what happens when you select a picture in your document? Well, the another ribbon (or more) will appear at the top. All ribbons will show only when their features are required. This way Microsoft hopes to keep the interface much cleaner and easier.
As you know it from those good old toolbars, ribbons will collapse too, if the screen size is too small. First some of the larger items will scale/collapse down and next those rarely use will shrink to a drop down button. The next image shows this behavoir with the Home ribbon. Note, at the bottom, each ribbon area shows its name.
Another nice feature, once you get used to everything moving around when you use it, is the live preview of styles. Select some text and test the styles that come with the document template. As you move your mouse across those styles, Word will automatically display a live preview. Once you select a style, it will be applied permanently (until you use undo ;-)).
Next, I have found another feature, which I'll call the Most Wanted-Feature. Not because it is the one I was waiting for, but it is the one, that probably gets you the most wanted functions... When you select some text with your mouse, Word will automatically move the most used items right next to your mouse cursor. This is neat. I love it.
Now, it will take some time to get used to the new Microsoft Office Word 2007 and the way you work with it. Users who use it often, users who know it inside out, by heart, and while sleeping will have a hard time to get used to it. But I believe this will be somewhere between 3 to 5 percent of the current users. Everyone else will move right into it and start working with it. It is great and I will play around some more with it. Once I got it figured out a little more, I'll start to play with it and I'll try to add some new ribbons. I don't know how, yet, but things.take.time ;-)