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Office 2007 Procedures, Hints, and Annoyances

The new Office application suite includes numerous features that may improve your productivity. However, it differs from its predecessor enough that you may encounter frustrations. This page is intended to help SCS users make the transition smoothly from Office 2003 to Office 2007. While SCS Facilities now supports Office, this site doesn't pretend to be a comprehensive manual but rather offers highlights of what we have discovered so far. See the suite's builtin Help or the Web for more details.

Installing Office 2007

You can upgrade directly to Office 2007 from older versions (Office 2000 or later, full suite or any component), Works 6.0 or later, Works suite 2000 or later, and any Office XP suite except the "Students and Teachers" edition. SCS Facilities provides two scripts, described in the following sections, that install Office 2007 under varying degrees of configuration control.

Before beginning, however, confirm that you satisfy the following preconditions:

  • Review the Microsoft Campus Agreement
  • Installing host runs Windows XP / Service Pack 2
  • Installing host has at least 1346MB disk space available
  • Installer script will run under an account having administrator privileges on the install box
  • User running the script belongs to all the following security groups:
    • LocalHost\Administrators
    • Office 2007 installation-access group (see next paragraph)
    • SCS\Domain Users (minimally)
  • Windows Script Host (WSH) is installed on the machine that will run the script

To install the Office 2007 Suite (Enterprise Edition):

  1. Send mail to <help@cs.cmu.edu> requesting inclusion in the Office 2007 installation-access group
  2. SCS Help staff will add your SCS Windows domain ID to the appropriate group and notify you of that change
  3. On your Windows machine, map a drive to "\\monolith.scs.ad.cs.cmu.edu\pc_dist\Microsoft\Office\2007"
  4. From your mapped drive, launch (doubleclick) an installation script to begin the install/upgrade

Both scripts remove previous Office installations and include an add-in that allows you to "Save as" a ".pdf" or ".xps" file. The default SCS package includes the "old standards" plus a few new additions:

  • Groove, collaboration software that allows teams to "work on project activities and share information anywhere, anytime, with anyone"
  • OneNote, flexible software that provides "one place to gather notes and information, [along with] powerful search ..., and ... easy-to-use collaborative tools."

SCS install scripts

Once you have access, you'll find the following install scripts under "\\monolith.scs.ad.cs.cmu.edu\pc_dist\Microsoft\Office\2007."
Upgrade
The fully automatic script, "Install with Basic Installer UI.wsf," installs the default configuration.
Upgrade with options
The interactive script, "Install with Full Installer UI.wsf," allows you to specify the configuration you wish.
Forward compatibility for Office 2003
If you prefer to retain your Office 2003 suite but expect to edit 2007-format documents, or if you will share 2007 documents with colleagues who still use pre-2007 Office versions, see the SCS page on Office compatibility. In particular, you will want to understand potential entanglements — between older formats and new, 2007 features — that may cause frustrations ... and how to work around them.

Using Office 2007

Controls
One of the first changes you'll notice from Office 2003 is the "Ribbon," a set of tabbed menus/controls at screen top, where you'll find, for example, many of the things that lived in Word 2003's "Standard" and "Formatting" toolbars. Ribbon components are organized in "Groups" of related functionality and offer a pulldown dialog box for fine control. "CTRL-F1" or "Home-MouseRight > Minimize" toggles visibility of the Ribbon, which otherwise eats the top inch of screenscape. You'll probably use the "Home" tab — available in all but Outlook — most often and, if you hide the Ribbon, it remains only one keystroke away.

Ribbon tabs differ slightly among the various applications and cleverly adjust as you resize the application window. If you select a nontext object, such as an inserted graphic in word in Word, you'll also get a context-specific tab with tools relevant to the object in focus. Within tabs, tools are organized in object-centric groups, rather than oriented around functionality, as in Office 2003. The new arrangement is fairly intuitive, once you find the tools you use frequently. The old "File" pulldown menu has migrated to the "Office Button," a colorful squiggle at screen top left. Within the button menu, you'll also find an application-specific "Options" button with much of what was previously under the "Tools" pulldown. For example, that's where you now can reset the default file location, "C:\Documents and Settings\<user_ID>\My Documents" to something else.

The customizable "Quick Access Toolbar" appears above (optionally below) the Ribbon and shows command icons that remain visible independent of the currently active Ribbon tab. The QAT, now the only user-modifiable toolbar, provides easy access to functions you use frequently. For example, if you use paragraph Styles to avoid excessive carriage-returns and chaotic formatting, you'll note the "Style" window's conspicuous absence from any Ribbon tab. By adding "Style" to the QAT, you get one-click access to the current paragraph's style and to all other possibilities. You must, however, still go to "Home > Change styles" if you want to modify a style. You may also want "Paste Special" on the QAT, if you find it difficult to remember the "ALT-CTRL-v" key-chord. For localized fine-tuning of text appearance, you can get to a menu of common font- and layout- related commands in any of several ways:

  • The "Font" or "Paragraph" group under "Ribbon > Home"
  • The "Mini" toolbar, which appears as a semitransparent window near currently selected text
  • "MouseRight" at any point will show both the Mini toolbar and a useful menu of other commands

Backward compatibility mode
When you open a document created in a previous (2000-03) version or previously saved in such a format, Office 2007 activates "Compatibility Mode," so indicating in the title bar. This mode disables any Office 2007-specific features, so that the document remains compatible with the originating application. See also the Office compatibility page for a more complete discussion.
Finding favorite tools
To get users quickly up to speed — and minimize search and frustration — Microsoft provides a Word 2003 to 2007 Command Reference Guide that can quickly show where your favorite commands have gone. This interactive resource opens a new browser window and runs in Adobe's Flash (7.0) viewer. The Guide servlet emulates a Word 2003 interface that shows the 2007 location when you rest the mouse over a command. Clicking on the command will pop up a view of the corresponding 2007 interface. Excel and PowerPoint have corresponding online resources. Just search the application's Help section for "command reference." Access offers a similar but local, static version. Microsoft also offers training presentations for several Office 2007 components.