Microsoft Office 2007
Microsoft Office 2007 is a version of Microsoft Office, a family of office suites and productivity software for Windows, developed and published by Microsoft. It was released to volume license customers on November 30, 2006 and to retail customers on January 30, 2007, the same respective release dates of Windows Vista. It was preceded by Office 2003 and succeeded by Office 2010.
Office 2007 introduced a new graphical user interface called the Fluent User Interface, which uses ribbons and an office start menu instead of menu bars and toolbars. Office 2007 requires Windows XP with Service Pack 2 or higher, Windows Server 2003 with Service Pack 1 or higher, Windows Vista or Windows 7.
Office 2007 includes new applications and server-side tools, including Microsoft Groove, a collaboration and communication suite for smaller businesses, which was originally developed by Groove Networks before being acquired by Microsoft in 2005.
With Microsoft FrontPage discontinued, Microsoft SharePoint Designer, which is aimed towards development of SharePoint portals, becomes part of the Office 2007 family. Its designer-oriented counterpart, Microsoft Expression Web, is targeted for general web development. However, neither application has been included in Office 2007 software suites.
Speech and ink components are removed from Office 2007, since speech recognition and handwriting recognition becoming a part of Windows Vista. Handwriting and speech recognition work with Office 2007 only on Windows Vista or Windows XP Tablet PC Edition. However, XP users can use an earlier version of Office to use speech recognition
The new user interface (UI), officially known as Fluent User Interface, has been implemented in the core Microsoft Office applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access, and in the item inspector used to create or edit individual items in Outlook. These applications have been selected for the UI overhaul because they center on document authoring. The rest of the applications in the suite changed to the new UI in subsequent versions. The default font used in this edition is Calibri. Original prototypes of the new user interface were revealed at MIX 2008 in Las Vegas.
The Office 2007 button, located on the top-left of the window, replaces the File menu and provides access to functionality common across all Office applications, including opening, saving, printing, and sharing a file. It can also close the application. Users can also choose color schemes for the interface. A notable accessibility improvement is that the Office button follows Fitts’s law.
The ribbon, a panel that houses a fixed arrangement of command buttons and icons, organizes commands as a set of tabs, each grouping relevant commands. The ribbon is present in Microsoft Word 2007, Excel 2007, PowerPoint 2007, Access 2007 and some Outlook 2007 windows.
The ribbon is not user customizable in Office 2007. Each application has a different set of tabs that exposes functions that the application offers. For example, while Excel has a tab for the graphing capabilities, Word does not; instead it has tabs to control the formatting of a text document. Within each tab, various related options may be grouped together.
The ribbon is designed to make the features of the application more discoverable and accessible with fewer mouse clicks as compared to the menu-based UI used prior to Office 2007. However, many users feel that the existing menus should have been left alone. In The ribbon can be minimized by double clicking the active section’s title, such as the Home text in the picture below.
Some tabs, called Contextual Tabs, appear only when certain objects are selected. Contextual Tabs expose functionality specific only to the object with focus. For example, selecting a picture brings up the Pictures tab, which presents options for dealing with the picture.
Microsoft Office 2007 also introduces a feature called Live Preview, which temporarily applies formatting on the focused text. The temporary formatting is removed when the mouse pointer is moved from the button. This allows users to have a preview of how the option would affect the appearance of the object, without actually applying it.
The new Mini Toolbar is a small toolbar with basic formatting commands that appears within the document editing area, much like a context menu. When the mouse selects part of the text, Mini Toolbar appears close to selected text. It remains semi-transparent until the mouse pointer is hovered on it, to avoid obstructing what is underneath.
Quick Access Toolbar
The Quick Access toolbar sits in the title bar and serves as a repository of most used functions, such as save, undo/redo and print. It is customizable, although this feature is limited, compared to toolbars in previous Office versions. Any command available in the entire Office application can be added to the Quick Access toolbar, including commands not available on the ribbon as well as macros. Keyboard shortcuts for any of the commands on the toolbar are also fully customizable, similar to previous Office versions.
Other UI features
- Super-tooltips, or screen tips, that can house formatted text and even images, are used to provide detailed descriptions of what most buttons do.
- A zoom slider present in the bottom-right corner, allowing for dynamic and rapid magnification of documents.
- The status bar is fully customizable. Users can right click the status bar and add or remove what they want the status bar to display.
Smart Art, found under the Insert tab in the ribbon in PowerPoint, Word, Excel, and Outlook, is a new group of editable and formatted diagrams. There are 115 preset Smart Art graphics layout templates in categories such as list, process, cycle, and hierarchy. Each Smart Art graphic, based on its design, maps the text outline, automatically resized for best fit, onto the graphic.
Office Open XML
Microsoft Office 2007 introduced a new file format, called Office Open XML, as the default file format. However, it can still save documents in the old format, which is compatible with previous versions. Alternatively, Microsoft has made available a free add-on known as the Microsoft Office Compatibility Pack that lets Office 2000, XP, and 2003 open, edit, and save documents created under the newer 2007 format.
Office Open XML is based on XML and uses the ZIP file container. According to Microsoft, documents created in this format are up to 75% smaller than the same documents saved with previous Microsoft Office file formats, owing to the ZIP data compression.
Initially, Microsoft promised to support exporting to Portable Document Format (PDF) in Office 2007. However, due to legal objections from Adobe Systems, Office 2007 originally did not offer PDF support out of the box, but rather as a separate free download.
Office 2007 documents can also be exported as XPS documents. This is part of service pack 2 and prior to that, was available as a free plug-in in a separate download.
Microsoft backs an open-source effort to support Open Document in Office 2007, as well as earlier versions (up to Office 2000), through a converter add-in for Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and also a command-line utility. As of 2008, the project supports conversion between ODF and Office Open XML file formats for all three applications. Third-party plug-in able to read, edit and save to the ISO-standard Open Document Format (ODF) are available as a separate download.
- New style sheets (quick styles) and ability to switch easily among them.
- Default Font now ‘Calibri’ instead of ‘Times New Roman’, as featured in previous versions of Microsoft Office.
- Word count listed by default in the status bar. The word count dynamically updates as you type.
- New contextual spell checker, signified by a wavy blue underline analogous to the traditional wavy red underline for misspellings and wavy green underline for grammar errors, sometimes catches incorrect usage of correctly spelled words, such as in “I think we will loose this battle”.
- Translation tool tip option available for English (U.S.), French (France), and Spanish. When selected, covering the mouse cursor over a word displays its translation in the particular language. Non-English versions have different sets of languages.
- Automated generation of citations and bibliographies according to defined style rules, including APA, Chicago, and MLA. Changing style updates all references automatically. Connect to web services to access online reference databases.
- Redesigned native mathematical equation support with TeX-like linear input/edit language or GUI.
- Preset gallery of cover pages with fields for Author, Title, Date, Abstract, etc. Cover pages follow the theme of the document (found under the Page Layout tab).
- Document comparison engine updated to support moves, differences in tables, and also easy to follow tri-pane view of original document, new document, and differences.
- Full screen reading layout that shows two pages at a time with maximal screen usage, plus a few critical tools for reviewing.
- Building Blocks, which lets one save frequently used content, so that they are easily accessible for further use. Building blocks can have data mapped controls in them to allow for form building or structured document authoring.