Welcome to the new-look Office column for PC World. Each month we'll be providing advice on how to get more from the software you use every day, aimed at anyone who needs time at their PC to be as productive as possible. We'll offer concise 'How to' guides and tips to help you get the most from office applications.
While we will be looking at the most common office application, Microsoft Office, this is just the beginning. We will take in the alternatives to see if another suite might offer you a better deal.
And our remit doesn't end with office suites. We'll be looking at all applications that can make working from home or in the office much easier, as well as garnering loads of practical advice and guidance on how to get the most from your computer in this setting.
This month the big story has to be Microsoft Office 2007, the first full beta in the series to have been released free of charge to entice users to find out about its features.
Our How-to focuses on the most commonly used Office application: Microsoft Word. We'll highlight some of the latest features to be found in Word 2007, to help you decide whether it's worth a try (go to www.microsoft.com/office/preview if you're keen).
New Features in Word
- Word 2007 introduces a context-sensitive ribbon that replaces the old toolbars and drop-down menus. This makes changing text styles simple. To alter a style, hover over the styles boxes on the right-hand side of the ribbon, you will then see in real-time how the style looks. Click on the style to apply it.
- To access a list of your recent documents, click the Office menu in the left-hand corner. The list that appears is no longer limited to the most recently edited nine documents. You can even "pin" a document to ensure it stays on the list by clicking the pin icon next to it. It turns green to indicate that it is now a pinned document.
- You can now create your own blog from within Microsoft Word 2007. To do this, first go to the Office menu and then select Publish, followed by the Blog option. You will see that a new Blog Post tab will appear in the ribbon. From here you can both publish your Blog and manage your accounts.
- Word 2007 now features a live word count. This allows you to see how many words you have written - as you type - via the live word count in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. To see more details, such as character and line counts, click on the word count and these will be displayed in a separate window.
- Microsoft has introduced a contextual spell check feature, which monitors whether words have been spelt correctly and used in the right context. To enable this feature, go to the Office menu, click on the Word Options button, then select Proofing from the list on the left-hand side and check "Use contextual spelling".
- Document Inspector is a tool that allows you to strip a document of hidden extras. To use the Inspector, go to the Office menu, select Finish and Inspect document. You can then select which elements you want to check for. You will be presented with a report and can select which elements you want to remove.