MS Office 2007

By Team Digit Published Date
01 - Nov - 2006
| Last Updated
01 - Nov - 2006
MS Office 2007

The next version of Microsoft's popular Office suite, Office 2007, is currently in Beta 2 stage. However, it's never too early to get started. Most of you might already have installed the Beta 1 version that we provided on our August 2006 DVD, so here are some tips that will help you master Office 2007.

The Ribbon
The very first thing users will notice is the enhanced toolbar, called "The Ribbon." Microsoft has provided this Ribbon so as to reduce the number of mouse clicks needed to accomplish tasks and get to the option you want. This also increases the visibility of various features and options, which a lot of regular users might not have seen earlier. Another good thing is that this is quite consistent across the applications, so Excel, Word, and PowerPoint all have the same look. Take a look at the screenshots to better understand the new look. You can click on the different tabs to get different options.

A closer look at the ribbon: You can see that feature and options that were previously hidden in menus are now available  at a mouse-click


With the introduction of "The Ribbon," Microsoft Office 2007 looks very different from previous versions. This Ribbon appears to be more mouse-friendly, and a lot of keyboard warriors may feel left out.

This is especially true because quite a few advanced keyboard shortcuts have been changed.

However, a quick way to check for the keyboard shortcut that you need is to press and release [Alt]. When you do this, you will see all the keyboard shortcuts possible.

Live Previews
The best addition to Office 2007 is the live previews it offers. For example, when you want to change the font for headlines, instead of selecting the headline and then applying each font one by one, to try and figure out which the best option is, all you need to do is click on the Font dropdown, and move your mouse over the name of the font you want to try.

The selected text is automatically changed to the font highlighted by the cursor. This way, you can scroll through your entire font set and see how each one of them looks, without ever needing to apply any changes to the document.

The same holds true for most other options, such as selecting a page theme, changing font sizes, colours, highlighting, etc. So, for an increase in productivity, make sure you use this cool feature.

The Only Pop-Up We Like!
When you highlight text or fields in Office 2007 documents and right-click, you will see a little pop-up on the top right of the selection that allows you to accomplish many common tasks-a mini toolbar.

You can even make this toolbar appear semi-transparent when you hover over your highlighted text. You can change the font, font colour, highlighting colour, alignment, indents, insert images, format paint, etc.

Once you get used this, you will find you can save a lot of time and effort-no need to go to the top-left of the screen and change the font; just do it anywhere in the document.

The new random text generator is a lot better

Random Text

In order to create a design, you often need to add text. However, sometimes you may find that you don't have the text ready, or that you haven't yet got down to writing it all out. In such cases you can use Office's random text generator. This feature was always available in previous versions of office as well, but only in Office 2007 have Microsoft made it properly functional. Basically, in older Office versions, the line "The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" would be repeated as many times as you decided. However, in Office 2007, when you generate random lines, you actually get readable text.

In order to do this, just type in "=rand(X,Y)" without the quotes and press [Enter]. Here, "X" is the number of paragraphs you want and "Y" is the number of lines each paragraph will have. You can also use the command "=rand()" and press [Enter] to generate about three paragraphs of lines.

The X Factor
Those of you who have already started using the Office 2007 Beta we provided in our DVD, or have downloaded it, will have already noticed that the default file format has an extra "X" extension. So MS Word 2007 files will have the ".docx" format, MS Excel 2007 has ".xlsx", etc. A lot of us have heard or read about this format being XML (eXtensible Markup Language)-enabled. Apart from the advantages of using XML tags to classify and sort data, the "X" format also results in much smaller files. This is because Office 2007 also Zips its documents in the process. For those of you who do not have Office 2007, opening .docx or .xlsx files shows just junk characters.

The new X file type is just zipped XML files

After providing our readers with Office 2007, we got quite a few queries from people who hadn't installed it. The problem was that a lot of people did start using Office 2007, leaving the rest scratching their heads about what to do with all these new .docx and .xlsx files that they were receiving from friends.

The solution is quite simple, really: since Office 2007 documents are nothing more than a lot of XML documents Zipped into one file, you can actually rename the file to .zip and then extract the contents. You will end up with a whole load of .xml files, which will contain your data.

using the online tutorial to understand new office 2007 commands

Now, depending on the filetype (.docx, .xlsx, etc.), you will find either a "Word" folder or an "XL" folder that will contain your data. If the file contained any images, you will also find them here. If you want the data, open the XML file in an XML Editor, and you should be able to extract it.

I'm Still Lost

For those of you who just cannot get the hang of the new interface, there's still hope. In true Microsoft style, there's a guide available for everything, and comprehensive help. If you're used to the older Office 2003 interface, and want to know how to go about translating your actions into Office 2007 commands, things couldn't have been easier.

If you have an Internet connection, you can get a Web-based tutorial for Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2007 here:
MS Word:
MS Excel:
MS PowerPoint:

Just start the tutorial you want and go about using the commands you're used to. Then watch the screen carefully, because you will be shown the placements of the same commands in the Ribbon.

The Logo
The new Office 2007 logo on the top left of your screen is more than just a pretty sight. It also functions as the old File menu. Of course, there are many more options here than in older versions of MS Office.

As in the screenshot above, you will see the following new options:

Finish: This is where you will go once you're done with your document. The Properties option under here will let you set the document properties, such as Author, Title, Category, and even add comments. The Inspect Document option will let you check your document for comments, revisions, metadata, extra XML code, personal information, headers, footers, watermarks, hidden text, and more. You can also add digital signatures, mark the document as finalised, and check for compatibility issues with older versions of Office.

Publish: You can use the Publish option to post the document on a blog or a document management server, or even make a new document workspace where people with permissions can access it, both locally and over the Net.

The Vista Look
Depending on the Office 2007 tool you're using, you will also see the Options button when you click on the Office 2007 logo at the top left of the interface. Here, you can choose to change a lot of options.

By default, Office 2007 installs using a bluish interface. We're rather smitten by the Vista look so far, and since a lot of other people seem to have the same opinion, chances are you will like it too. In order to give your Office 2007 installation the Vista feel, open Word or Excel 2007, click on the Office Logo, select Word Options (or Excel Options), and a new window will pop up. Here you will see topics on the left, such as Personalize, Display, Proofing, and more. With "Personalize" selected in the left pane, look for an option called "Color Scheme." In the drop-down box next to it, you will see "Windows XP (blue)" selected. Change this selection to "Windows Vista (gray)." This will make your Office 2007 match with Vista and Windows Media Player 11.

Where Did VB Go?
Nowhere! Visual Basic is just hidden. In order to add the "Developer" toolbar to the Ribbon, go to Options, check the "Show Developer tab in the Ribbon" option and press OK. Now you should see the Developer tab appear on your Ribbon. This contains the VB launcher, Macros, and structural information of your document. Expert Office users will never be able to live without using this, the Developer tab and Macro recording.

Windows XP


Faster Network Browsing
If you're on a network and are tired of waiting for ages for all the network shares to load, this is a tip you'll love. There are four basic things you need to do in order to speed up network access:

1. Remove all shortcuts in My Network Places. These are automatically       generated, and if a few of them aren't shared anymore, Windows         will keep searching for them anyway. So just select them all and            delete them.
2. Stop Windows from automatically adding these shortcuts to shared      folders, otherwise you'll just end up having to delete the shortcuts         everytime you open My Network Places. This is a registry hack, so         make sure you backup your registry. First, go to Start > Run, type in     "regedit" and press [Enter]. Navigate to                                                 HKEY_Current_UserSoftware                                                                  MicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesExplorer. Here, create         two new DWORD values (if they don't already exist) called                     "NoRecentDocsNetHood" and "UseDesktopIniCache", and set them     to "1".
3. Have everyone on your network increase the send buffer for                 network data. Tell everyone who shares files or folder to go to             HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE                                                                          SYSTEMCurrentControlSetServicesLanmanServerParameters.         Create a DWORD value called "SizReqBuf", and assign its Hex value     to "FFFF".
4. Just stop using My Network Places for folders you access on a             regular basis, and instead, map the drive by going to Tools > Map         Network Drive in Windows Explorer.

A Shortcut To Shares
Sometimes we get a little too click-happy sharing folders, and soon we realise that we have shared too many. The most common thing is to share folders, within shared folders, within other shared folders. For example, we've very often come across people sharing D:XYZ123, D:XYZ, and the root D: drive as well. You need to monitor your shared folders on a regular basis, and for this, the easiest thing to do is create a shortcut on your Desktop to the Shared Folders tool. You can either just go to Start > Run and run "fsmgmt.msc", or create a shortcut that points to "fsmgmt.msc". Now you can quickly check what's shared and what's not.

Guest Access
Quite often, in offices, you will try and access a shared folder on the network, only to be greeted by a Login/Password prompt. The login is usually <Name>/Guest. This is very frustrating for people trying to access your shares for work. You can get rid of this by going to Control Panel > Administrative Tools > Local Security Policy > Local Policy > Security Options. Here, double-click on "Network access: Sharing and security model for local accounts," and select the option "Classic - local users authenticate as themselves" from the drop-down box. Apply the settings and you're done.

Hiding From Network Neighborhood
If you want to share folders on your computer but do not want them to be visible to others when they go to Network Neighbourhood, just go to Start > Run, type in "net config server /hidden:yes", and press [Enter].

So Long, Shared Documents
By default, your Shared Documents folder is shared over the network. This is irritating because if one computer in the network gets a virus or worm, it usually ends up in everyone's Shared Documents folder. There are two ways to go about avoiding this. Find this folder in Documents and Settings, right-click on it and select "Sharing and Security…". Share the folder over the network as docs$, or something with a "$" sign at the end. This will make it invisible to the rest of the network. You can also set it to share as read only by unchecking the "Allow Network Users to Change my Files" box.

The second way is to open the Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftware MicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionPoliciesExplorer, create a new DWORD Value (if it doesn't already exist) called "NoSharedDocuments", set its value to "1", and then reboot the computer.

There are a few interesting troubleshooting tools that are not installed in the default installation of Windows XP. If you have the installation CD, you will find them in the SupportTools directory. Just run SETUP.EXE in this directory to install them. Here are a few examples:

diruse: This utility shows you the disk usage of your drives
dupfinder: Identify duplicate files, so you can free up disk space
getmac: A simply utility that will tell you the MAC address of your NIC (network card)
netdiag: Tests and diagnoses your network components
pviewer: Shows you a list of processes, and allows you to see how much memory each process uses, and to kill processes individually

Driver List
You can troubleshoot driver issues by using the "driverquery" utility. The easiest way to do this is to use the utility to output its data to a CSV (comma separated value) file, so that you can import it into MS Excel, and get a nice, clean results table. The command to do this is "driverquery /v /fo > drivers.csv". Here, you can substitute "drivers.csv" with any filename you like.

Hidden Devices
There is a list of hidden devices that do not normally show up in the Device Manager. You can get XP to reveal these by either changing a Registry entry, or by creating a batch file to launch the Device Manager with the correct options.

If you're comfortable with the Registry, open the Registry Editor and navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE SYSTEMControlSet001ControlSession ManagerEnvironment. Here, create a String Value called DEVMGR_SHOW_ NONPRESENT_DEVICES, and give it a value of 1. If you'd rather create a batch file, open Notepad, and type in the following:

@Echo Off
Prompt $p$g
start devmgmt.msc

Then save it as "devmgmt.bat". You can use any descriptive filename you like with the .bat extension.

Quick Access To Control Panel Applets
If you're a keyboard warrior and don't really like going to Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs, or the likes, you will love these shortcuts. Just press [Windows] [R], type in one of the following, and press [Enter].
appwiz.cpl will open the Add/Remove Programs dialog
desk.cpl will open the Display Properties dialog
firewall.cpl opens your Windows Firewall settings
inetcpl.cpl will take you straight to Internet Options
mmsys.cpl will open the Sound and Audio Devices controller
ncpa.cpl will open Network Connections
nusrmgr.cpl opens the User Accounts window
powercfg.cpl will take you to the Power Options Properties dialog
sysdm.cpl will open System Properties. You can also just use [Windows] [Pause/Break]!
wscui.cpl opens up the Security Center
wuaucpl.cpl opens up the Automatic Updates Configuration window

Suspend Shortcut
If you like to use Windows XP's Suspend feature so that you can quickly get back to what you were doing, instead of shutting down and then rebooting every time, you can create a shortcut on your desktop for this task in one easy step:

Right-click on your desktop, select New > Shortcut, and in the item location field, type in "rundll32.exe PowrProf.dll, SetSuspendState" (without the quotes), give the shortcut a descriptive name-generally "Suspend"-and click Finish. Now, when you want to suspend the system, just double-click this shortcut.

IrritantsDisable Thumbnails
Windows Explorer has a feature called thumbnail view, which shows you thumbnails of all pictures in the current folder. Some people love it, others hate it. If you have pictures that you'd rather everyone around you not see, even by accident, you probably hate the thumbnail view. If so, instead of cursing at it under your breath, just get rid of it for good!

Start the Registry Editor, navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerAdvanced, and change the value of the ClassicViewState key to "1".

No More Zip Files As Folders?
Windows XP natively supports extracting from or compressing into ZIP files. However, it treats ZIP files as folders, and if you double-click on a ZIP file, you get to see the contents, instead of unzipping it. You can prevent this from happening by running the appropriate command. Go to Start > Run, type in "regsvr32 /u zipfldr.dll" (without the quotes) and press [Enter].

Thumbs.db Irritants
It's probably happened to all of us at some point or another, especially those of us who work with a lot of images: When Windows XP forgets to update a folder's Thumbs.db file after you have overwritten some image files, you end up with some wrong thumbnails associated with the wrong images.

This is because the Thumbs.db file has outdated data, and you have to delete it for Windows to get it right again. If you'd rather Windows got it right always instead of just doing it fast, you can stop the generation of Thumbs.db files altogether, forcing Windows to read every image in the folder you access, every single time.

We warn you, this is slower as Windows generates the thumbnails afresh every time.

In Windows Explorer, go to Tools > Folder Options > View. Look for the option called "Do not cache thumbnails" and check the box associated with it. Click OK and then search your entire computer for "thumb.db". delete all the search results once it's done searching, and you will never find another thumbs.db file on your system ever again!

Delay Desktop Cleanup
Ever so often you get this little irritating pop-up that tells you that you have unused items on your desktop, and asks whether you want to delete them. This is the Windows Desktop Cleanup Wizard, and it is set to run every 60 days by default. It's irritating to most, and feels a lot less than 60 days because of this. You can get rid of it forever by right-clicking on the desktop, selecting Properties, going to the Desktop tab and clicking on "Customize Desktop…". Here you will see a little checkbox that says "Run Desktop Cleanup Wizard every 60 days"; uncheck it and click OK.

TricksCleaning the Prefetch Directory
Windows XP keeps shortcuts to recently launched programs in the WindowsPrefetch directory, which can take up some space, but helps find and launch applications faster. After a while, however, some really old programs which you may not even be using anymore can still be found in the Prefetch directory. Also, you may experience system slowdowns when booting or when launching applications, because Windows is sifting through a large bunch of Prefetch files. So, as you can see, a large Prefetch can do more harm than good. It's best that you delete all the files in here about once a month, or once in two months. The first time you boot, or start applications after you delete all Prefetch files, it may be even slower than before, but this is normal: Windows is adding shortcuts and data into the Prefetch again. After the third of fourth time you boot up, things should be back to normal speeds, because Windows will have finished re-building the Prefetch cache.

To delete your Prefetch files, just go to WindowsPrefetch, do a [Ctrl] [A], and press [Shift] [Delete].

Clearing out the Prefetch clutter

Print The Directory
If you want to make a list of all the contents of a directory, you're going to have to find a much easier way than typing it all out. If it's a multi-GB music directory, you'll end up with aching fingers before you're even halfway through. Thankfully, we've got an easier way. You can create a small batch file, and then add it to the right-click context menu, so that all you will have to do is right-click and select "Print Directory Contents" (or something like that). First, open Notepad, and type in the following:

@echo off
dir %1 /o:g > c:directory.txt
start /w notepad /p c:directory.txt
del c:directory.txt

Save this in the root of the C drive as "print_directory.bat". Now, in order to add this option to the right-click context menu, you will need to edit the default folder properties. In Windows Explorer, go to Tools > Folder Options > File Types. Click on the "File Folder" file type and then click on the Advanced button at the bottom right. Now, click on the "New…" button. In the Action field, enter the name of the action, such as "Print Directory" or "Print Contents", and in the "Application to be used to perform this action" field, fill in "C:print_ directory.bat". Click OK thrice and then close to exit.

Before you do anything, check to see that if you double-click a folder it actually opens normally, because sometimes the Search function gets set as default. You really don't want to have to right-click every folder and select Open. So let's fix this first:

Open the Registry Editor and navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT Directoryshell. Edit the default value (which might have changed to "Open" or "Find") and change it to "Explorer".

Now make sure you can double-click and open folders again, and then you're ready to test the Print Contents / Directory command you just made.

printing out a directory's contents

Right-click on a directory and select "Print Directory" (or whatever you called it). You will get a pop-up that will ask you where to save "directory.mdi". This is the Microsoft Document Imaging format, which makes a nice, neat, and readable file that will list out the contents of the directory. Rename it to the name of the directory, and then save it. It will open with Microsoft Office Document Imaging.

No To All
When you're copying files into a folder that have the same name, you get a dialog box that asks for confirmation about whether you want to overwrite the existing files. The options that you are given are Yes, No, and Yes To All. But what happens when you want to say "No To All"? Well, there's a simple solution actually; just hold down [Shift] and press No. This is as good as saying "No To All". 

Speedier Boot
If you feel your computer takes too long to boot, you can use a tool that Microsoft provides to monitor your bootup. The tool is called BootVis, and is available from www.onecomputerguy. com/software/bootvis.exe.

Uncompress the self-extracting archive and run it. Go to Trace > Next Boot Driver Delays. Next, reboot your computer and wait for BootVis to provide you with the results. You will see some graphs of your system startup, and then go to Trace > Optimize System. The system will reboot again. Re-run the Next Boot Driver Delays and see how much time has been saved.

End-Task Automatically
Windows waits too long before killing a non-responsive task. To remedy this, in the Registry Editor, go to HKEY_CURRENT_ USERControl PanelDesktop, change the value of the "AutoEndTasks" key to "1". Here, also change the "WaitToKillApp Timeout" key's value to the number you want. The default is 20000 milliseconds.

Stop Burning

Stop Windows from burning CDs

You might certainly want to stop Windows from trying to act as a CD burner, trying to write to CDs and popping up "Write CD" dialogs every time you insert a blank CD-this is just plain irritating. To disable that functionality, open Windows Explorer, right-click on your CD drive, select Properties, click on the Recording tab, and uncheck the "Enable CD recording on this drive" box.

Additional Programs?
You don't see all the programs in the Add/Remove Programs list because Windows hides a lot of Windows components. If you want to see everything, open the Windowsinf sysoc.inf file, press [Ctrl] [H] (find and replace), search for "hide", and leave the "replace" field blank. Choose to replace all, and then save the file.

The file lists Components in the following order:

Find hidden windows components


Whatever was previously hidden in the Windows Components section will all now be visible in the same section in the Add/Remove Programs list.
                                   Blending Well
                Get to grips with Blender's unique user interface

Blender is a very powerful open source tool for creating, modelling, and rendering 3D scenes. If, however, you're used to a different tool, or if you're just starting out, you might find yourself a little taken aback by the interface. However daunting it may seem, Blender's interface is actually quite easy to get used to-you just need to clear your head of all those "traditional" interfaces.

The Interface
When you start up Blender, you'll be faced with its default interface (or screen, as it's called). At the top, you'll see the familiar menu bar that lets you open and save files, render your scene, or get help. Next to your main menu is a drop-down that lets you select the screens you want to work with. The default is Model (where you model your 3D objects), and you can choose from Animation, Material (where you apply materials to your objects), Sequence (advanced animation), and Scripting. You don't really need these screens-they're just organised differently to speed up your work.

This is what you get when you first start up Blender

Below this menu bar is the 3D window, where you'll be setting up your scene. At the bottom of this window is the window header that lets you specify what type of window this is (like a script editor or file browser), or in the 3D view, which angle you're viewing your scene from. To work better, you'll need more than one of these windows-3dsmax's extremely useful four-pane layout comes to mind-and you can do this by moving the mouse to the edge of the window, right-clicking and selecting Split Area. Doing this at the top or bottom edge splits the window vertically, and at the sides splits the window horizontally.

Finally, the bottom of your screen is occupied by the buttons window, which is further divided into panel groups, which in turn contain panels where you can edit a whole host of parameters for your objects (whew!).
Now that we've taken a quick tour of the interface, let's see what can be done about...

Getting Around
Before moving any further, we should mention that using Blender will require extensive use of the mouse as well as the keyboard, so if you're not seated gamer-style, you should be.

By default, you're viewing the scene from the top. To fly around the scene (the term is orbit), hold down the middle mouse button and drag. You'll find your viewing angle changing, and this looks a little weird. This is because the view is orthographic-the way you would see it in an engineering drawing. To get a more realistic view, hit [5] on the numeric keypad. This switches the view to perspective-the way we see things in real life.

To pan around the scene, hold down [Shift] and the middle mouse button, and drag. To zoom, you can either use the scroll wheel, or for more precision, hold down [Ctrl] and middle-click, then drag. You can do all this from the numeric pad on the keyboard as well-[2], [4], [6] and [8] to control orbiting (hold down [Ctrl] to pan instead), [7] for a top view, and [1] and [3] for side views. The plus and minus keys zoom in and out respectively, the star key takes you back to the default view, and [Enter] resets the zoom level. [0] changes your view to what the camera sees, and [Ctrl] [Alt] [0] converts your current viewing angle to that of the camera. Considering that you'll be rendering your scene the way the camera sees it, this is tremendously useful.

A more entertaining way to position the camera right is the Camera Fly Mode, accessed when you're in the camera view by pressing [Shift] [F]. Initially, you'll be free to look around the scene; click in the middle of your view and you'll find that the camera has begun to fly like an aircraft. Repeated clicking makes you fly faster, and hit the Spacebar when you've flown to an angle you like.
That's enough of that, let's start...

Doing Things
When Blender first starts up, you're faced with a cube, a light, and a camera. To select any of these objects, right-click on them. When you've done that, you'll see the red, green, and blue axes at the centre-click on any of these axes and drag the mouse to move the object along that axis. If you don't want to confine yourself to one axis, "grab" the object by pressing [G], and move it around with the mouse. When you're done, left-click to commit your changes.

Use the spacebar to bring up the add menu

To rotate the object, hit [R], and if you want to confine this rotation to a particular axis, press [X], [Y], or [Z] while you're in the rotation mode. Scaling objects-[S]-also works this way, simple and logical.

And then, there are the mouse gestures-using the left-click, draw a straight line to grab the selected object, draw a straight line and track back (left-right-left, for example) to scale the object, and draw a curved line to start rotating the object.

Now, on to creating new objects: you can either hold down the left mouse button and wait for the Add menu to pop up, or simply hit the spacebar and select the object you want to add to the scene. When you add a new object, you're automatically taken to Edit Mode, where you can fine-tune your object by moving its vertices around. You can choose your editing mode-whether you want to edit vertices, edges or faces-from the last set of buttons on the window's header. To enter or leave Edit mode, use [Tab].

Out Of The Blue
Finally, here's a hidden feature few know about-if you drag the top menu bar as if you were resizing it, you'll find yourself presented with the information window just above.

Of all the panels in this information window, the most useful is "View & Controls". Here's where you can decide whether you want to swap the functions of the left and right mouse buttons (some find this more comfortable), change the orbit mode between trackball and turntable (the latter feels a lot more controlled), and a whole bundle of other options.

Help Yourself!
Guiding you through the innards of Blender is going to take a lot more pages than these two, but hopefully, you've shed your inhibitions about its interface. To get the low-down on the program, head over to http://mediawiki. for the manual. Blender's inbuilt help system is quite useful as well, and make sure you go through the shortcut reference-it's refreshing how logically everything is placed.

Team DigitTeam Digit

All of us are better than one of us.