I.T. Help Desk
New Features in Microsoft Office 2010
Microsoft Office 2010 for Windows includes many changes from Office 2007. This document reviews a number of these changes and covers how to find additional information about using Office 2010. You can skip ahead to any desired section:
|Uniform, Streamlined Ribbon||Quick Steps in Outlook|
|Collapsing the Ribbon||Sending and Receiving Meeting Invitations|
|File and Backstage View||Learning More|
|Customizing the Ribbon|
Protected View is likely the first new feature you will notice. Files downloaded from the Internet or received as email attachments can potentially contain viruses or other malware. Because of this, Office 2010 opens these files in a mode called Protected View to help protect your computer from any malicious content they might carry. Opening a file in Protected View allows you to read the file, but blocks you from making edits to, saving, or printing the file. Office will display a yellow bar similar to this one when you are in Protected View:
If the file is from a trusted source, and you need to make edits to, save, or print the file, exit Protected View by clicking Enable Editing on the yellow bar. This will make the file a trusted document, so Office will not place it in Protected View the next time you open it.
Uniform, Streamlined Ribbon
The Ribbon interface, introduced in Office 2007, has improved in Office 2010. Microsoft has made the Ribbon nearly uniform across all applications, meaning even Outlook uses the Ribbon in its main window. The Ribbon, which uses tabs to provide access to different sets of buttons and commands, has re-incorporated File, which was missing from Office 2007, and has done away with the Office Button.
Collapsing the Ribbon
To get the most workspace at your disposal, you can easily collapse the Ribbon by clicking on the chevron in the upper right-hand corner. To restore the Ribbon, click the chevron again. Double-clicking on the current tab also collapses and restores the Ribbon. Unlike Office 2007, however, double-clicking in the empty area near the tabs will no longer collapse and restore the Ribbon, but will instead maximize and restore the entire application window.
|- the chevron, used to collapse the Ribbon|
File and the Backstage View
The File tab, permanently positioned at the left of the Ribbon tabs and brightly colored (blue in Word, green in Excel, etc.) is more than just a standard Ribbon tab. Clicking on it brings you to the Backstage view, where you manage your document and application settings.
Selecting a command in Backstage view will automatically return you to the regular document view. To exit the Backstage without performing a command, simply hit the Esc key or click on any of the Ribbon tabs. Backstage contains standard File-menu commands such as Save, Save As, Open, Close and Exit, in addition to a number of useful panels.
The first of these panels is Info, where information about the current document (size, page and word count, tags, comments, dates, and authors) is displayed and can be edited, where applicable.
The Info panel is where you manage overall settings for the document. Here the document can be converted out of Compatibility Mode, where new documents default. (Compatibility Mode allows files to be opened by earlier versions of Office, but it restricts the incorporation of new features.) You can also set permissions, such as password protection, for your document. There is a Prepare for Sharing section, devoted to checking the document for accessibility and compatibility issues before sending it to others. Finally, the Versions section lets you recover recently auto-saved versions of the document.
Some traditional File-menu items get entire panels in Backstage view: The Recent panel shows recently opened documents and the folders they came from. Folders, in addition to documents, can be pinned to the top of list to ensure easy future access.
The New panel has a gallery of file templates to choose from, many of which are easily downloaded from Office.com.
The Print panel includes a print preview of the current document in addition to print and page setup options. You can change settings (such as margins, page orientation and size) and see how they affect your document before clicking the Print button to print it.
The Save & Send panel has options for saving the current document as a different file type (such as a PDF, template, or web page) and for sending the file through email or easily posting it to a blog.
Application preferences are accessed from the Backstage by clicking on Options. This opens a separate window with a number of its own panels, much like the Office 2007 Options window, but with a few changes.
Customizing the Ribbon
The most notable change in the Options window is that it now includes a Customize Ribbon panel where you can modify the Ribbon to suit your workflow. Right-click anywhere in the Ribbon and choose Customize the Ribbon from the context menu that appears.
The box on the right side of the panel displays a list representing all tabs, groups, and commands currently in the Ribbon. You can adjust the order in which groups and tabs appear by dragging them up and down this list.
Select a command from the box to the left and click Add to add it to a custom group (created by clicking New Group) in the Ribbon. Groups you create can reside in already-made tabs, or in tabs you create by clicking New Tab.
To remove a group (or a command from a custom group), select it in the list to the right and click Remove.
To prevent a tab from appearing in the Ribbon, un-check the box next to its name. You can re-check it later to bring it back.
To undo customizations to the Ribbon, click the Reset drop-down and choose whether to reset only the selected tab or the entire Ribbon to its default state.
In Office 2010, Outlook has undergone some dramatic changes. The menus and toolbar in the main Outlook window have been replaced by the Ribbon and the Quick Access Toolbar, so now it looks like the other Office applications:
Now, instead of having to hunt through menus, you can find commonly used commands displayed on the Ribbon. Additionally, you no longer have to look in the File, Tools, and Help menus for various preferences, as they are now all gathered into the File tab’s Backstage View.
The Info panel in Outlook’s Backstage View is where major account settings are found. Here is where you can add, delete, and modify your accounts and their connection settings. You can schedule automatic (out of office) replies from this panel. Mailbox cleanup tools, which help you easily archive old messages and erase deleted messages, are also located here. The Info panel is also where you can create and manage email rules, which are actions Outlook automatically performs on specified messages you send or receive, such as applying labels or playing an alert sound.
The Print panel of the File tab also has some notable features. It is similar to the other Office applications in that it has a preview pane that updates as you apply different print settings. Whatever item in Outlook you were viewing or had selected (such as an email message, multiple email messages, or a calendar page) before going Backstage determines what Outlook thinks you want to print. Depending on which view you were in (Mail, Calendar, Contacts, etc.), you will get a choice of print layout settings. Other options, such as number of copies and page size, can be changed by clicking Print Options.
Quick Steps in Outlook
Outlook mail has a new feature for automating common tasks called Quick Steps. With Quick Steps, you can perform multiple commands on a message with just one click. By default, a Quick Steps box is located on the Home tab of the Ribbon when you are in Mail view.
The first time you click on one of the default Quick Steps (except for Reply & Delete), a First Time Setup dialog will walk you through setting its parameters. For example, when you first click on Move to: ?, you will be prompted to specify which folder the message should be moved to, and whether it should also be marked as read. Click Options to edit the quick step by adding, editing or deleting actions. When you edit a quick step, you can change its name to something that makes sense for you.
When you click Create New in the Quick Steps box, you are taken directly to the Edit Quick Step dialog where you can build your quick step from scratch.
Clicking the expansion arrow in the corner of the Quick Steps box opens the Manage Quick Steps window. Here you can add, delete, duplicate, and edit Quick Steps, as well as change the order in which they appear in the Quick Steps box.
|- the expansion arrow|
Sending and Receiving Meeting Invitations
Outlook 2010 has made creating and answering meeting invitations considerably more convenient by putting schedule information in front of you when you need it.
When you create a meeting request (you can do this in Calendar view by clicking New Meeting in the Home tab), the meeting window will automatically include the Room Finder pane. As you add attendees to the invitation, the calendar in this pane will update to show the best dates for the meeting (based on the information provided in the attendees’ calendars). If you click on a date in this calendar, it will be selected as the date for the meeting request.
The Suggested times field at the bottom of the pane shows the best time slots for the date selected on the calendar. Outlook will always display the time slots without conflicts (if any exist) at the top of this list. Clicking on a time slot will select it for the meeting invitation.
You can still use the Start time and End time drop down menus to set dates and times for meetings, as you did in Outlook 2007. The Room Finder pane provides an alternate means of doing so, while making it easy to filter out conflicting dates and times, all within the meeting request composition window.
Receiving and replying to meeting requests are similarly improved in Outlook 2010.
When you open a meeting invitation in Mail view, the message will contain a small calendar preview. This preview shows the proposed meeting in the context of your schedule for that day. This lets you make an informed decision on whether to accept the meeting request without having to navigate away to Outlook’s calendar view.
This document has covered the basics you will need to get started in Office 2010. You will likely want to learn more about the new features that will help you put your best work out there. Some of the more exciting ones include:
- Sparklines (cell-sized summary charts) in Excel
- Easy document navigation and reorganization when you use heading styles in Word
- Ability to insert web videos into PowerPoint presentations
- Enhanced picture editing tools and artistic effects in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
To learn more about these features and more, go to File > Help in whichever application you’re curious about. Click on the button for Getting Started, and click on the “What’s new...” link on the web page that launches.
Also, keep in mind that Office comes with an extensive help system built-in. Any time you have a question, you’re likely to find the answer by clicking on the blue question mark at the right of the Ribbon.