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If you're going to be migrating from Word 2008 to Word 2011, your biggest adjustment will likely be getting accustomed to the new fluent user interface. Here in Word 2008, you're accustomed to using the menus on the menu bar: File, Edit, View, et cetera. Below that, you'll see shortcuts to some of those commands on the toolbar for creating new documents, opening, saving, printing, et cetera. And then below that, you have the formatting bar, giving you access to formatting options when working with text, for example, that might be selected.
You do have an Elements gallery here with Document Elements, Quick Tables, Charts, and clicking these tabs does expand the Elements gallery to give you some options. When you click the same tab, you collapse the Elements gallery, so you're not eating up valuable real estate, allowing you to see more of your document. Now, that's very similar to the new fluent user interface. If we flip over to Word 2011 now, working with the same document, you can see here at the very top, we still have our menu bar: File, Edit, View. Then we have our toolbar with shortcuts to some of those commands.
These would be more frequently used commands. It is a little bit different than Word 2008. For example, there are some extra buttons here like Access to the Media Browser, for example. Just below that then, you don't actually see a formatting bar; what you see now is this new fluent part of the user interface called the Ribbon with the various tabs--the Home tab being the default tab that's usually selected when you start a new document or open up an existing document. Under the Home tab, you do see all of those formatting options you are used to seeing on the formatting bar.
Then as you scroll across, you will see Styles, and you can see how they are all grouped together. If you want to insert something into your document, there is an Insert group here. If you want to change the theme, for example, it's by itself over there on the far right-hand side. Now, the Ribbon itself is laid out in a way that it should make it easy for you to find commands and work more efficiently. All of your layout commands, for example, are under the Layout tab. Want to get to those document elements, you would normally go to the Elements Gallery in Word 2008. Here you have a tab on the Ribbon for document elements, things like headers and footers, citations, table of contents and so on, and there's Tables and Charts.
The Ribbon itself, although it's really a great way to work more efficiently, if you need to get something done and you're accustomed to working in Word 2008, it's kind of in the way and confusing you, you can collapse it. Just go to the right-hand side and you will notice this little arrow pointing up. Give it a click and it collapses the Ribbon. The arrow is now pointing down. That doesn't mean you can't access the Ribbon. You can still go to those tabs by clicking them. Click them again and you will collapse the Ribbon. Click the little arrow again that's now pointing down and you'll expand the Ribbon, so it's always in view.
Now, if the Ribbon is something you just want to put off for now--you don't have the time to get used to it, you want to work the way you've been working-- you can access Ribbon Preferences as well. You could go to Word, down to Preferences, and access the Ribbon from there. Or you'll notice to the right of our little Expand and Collapse arrow, this little cog, when we click, it allows us to access Ribbon Preferences. Notice also, you can customize the order of the tabs on the Ribbon with this second option. Let's go to Ribbon Preferences. From here, you can see there is the ability to turn the Ribbon on and off.
It is on by default. I check that box to remove the check mark, and the Ribbon will be turned off, and it will be more or like what you're used to in Word 2008. When you're ready to take on the Ribbon, check the box again to turn it back on. Notice it is expanded when a document opens. That's a default. But if you like it collapsed, you like to have more work area and less Ribbon, you can have it collapsed by default when you start a document. The group titles that you see at the top of each of the groups can be hidden if you don't want them.
If you don't find them necessary, you can create a little extra space for yourself by hiding those titles. And then you can customize the Appearance as well down below, and you'll notice the different tabs as you scroll down. You can change the order from here as well. And there is one near the bottom here, the Developer tab, if you are going to be working with macros--something we'll talk about a little later on--the Developer tab is a good one to have on. It will appear just off to the end after the Review tab on the Ribbon, if you choose to turn that on. So let's turn on the Developer tab because we will need it a little bit later.
And you can see there are some other options that can be checked or unchecked as well. We'll give it a click on the OK button. There is our new Developer tab at the end. You can click there to see this is where we go to record and edit macros and so on. We will go back to the Home tab now, and just to show you that the Ribbon itself is context sensitive, so the tabs you see there can't change. Let's just scroll down a little bit into page 2. Now, here we have some text. If we click inside the text, you are going to notice all of your formatting options are at your fingertips here on the Home tab.
If we go off to the right-hand side and we click in the text box, you'll notice the box is now selected, you'll see handles and you'll see a new tab appear on the Ribbon, the Format tab. Give that a click. You will have all of the formatting options for working with a textbox. Click again inside some regular text and that tab disappears. So it always gives you the tools you need but only when you need them. It's context sensitive. So the Ribbon is the biggest adjustment probably that you'll face when migrating from Word 2008 to Word 2011.
I highly recommend getting used to it. You'll find yourself working more efficiently. But it's nice to know, if you don't want it right now, you can turn it off and continue to work the way you did in Word 2008.
- Exploring the Ribbon interface
- Controlling Word 2011 with shortcuts
- Using the Compatibility Report
- Changing the default file format
- Using the Open XML converter
- Automating tasks with macros
- Formatting and using styles
- Inserting media
- Saving documents to the cloud