Word 2010: First impressions…November 8, 2010
Here are my likes/dislikes based on my first 30 minutes playing with Word 2010:
- Navigation pane (like the old Document Map) — useful for jumping to a section. No-one except power users really knew about the old Document Map, so this should make navigation of long documents much easier for users.
- Screenshot/screen clipping tool (Insert tab > Screenshot > Screen Clipping)– while it won’t replace SnagIt and the like for professional technical communicators, it’s super simple to use for general users.
- Print preview (File > Print), which shows you what your document will look like when printed. You can make some changes in here to see how it would look printed in Landscape or on A5 paper, for example. While Word has always had a Print Preview option, this one is very neat and clean and you can really see what will happen if you change some settings. And if you’re wondering what happened to the multiple page view, use the zoom slider at the bottom right of the window.
- Clear user assistance right in the interface for many of the File menu options. Well done, Microsoft.
- The Keep track of formatting setting is turned off by default (this *may* have been the case in Word 2007 too, but it’s so long since I had a fresh install, I can’t say whether it was already turned off; it was definitely on by default in Word 2003).
- Customize the ribbon (File > Options > Customize the ribbon). I think I like this, but it’s only a first step as there’s still a lot you can’t do, like remove icons for functions you never use. So far, all I’ve seen that you can do is turn tabs on and off, move the position of some of the tabs and/or groups within a tab (but not all), and remove some groups of icons (though not individual icons).
- File menu. YES! For technical writers, this will be such a blessing. Trying to document that Microsoft Office button (the one that looked like a pizza) in Word 2007 was an absolute nightmare. Everyone in a work environment would call it something different, and as a writer, you had to insert an image of the darned thing just so people would know what you were talking about! Now we can write File > Help > Options and there should be no confusion about what’s meant. That HAS to be better for the users who read our documentation.
- Quick paste options. When you place something on the clipboard and paste by clicking Paste (on the Home tab), you now get the three icons for the various paste options. And there’s a quick way to change the default paste settings from this Paste button as well (these options were fairly well hidden in Word 2007). However, there’s no default option for Paste Special — you still have to choose each time. For example, I regularly paste as Formatted Text (RTF), but Paste Special always defaults to HTML Format, even if the text on the clipboard is from another Word document! It would be nice to have a ‘default’ option for Paste Special too — again, this would save a lot of extra clicking.
- Cross-reference window — it doesn’t look as though 5 seconds were spent on this incredibly clunky window (see my blog post on my suggested ways to fix this window). Most of the documents I work on have hundreds of cross-references, and having to click, click, click, click ad infinitum to insert one is incredibly inefficient — and very painful for my neck, shoulders, and mousing hand.
- Print preview seems to have lost the ability for you to edit on the fly. This was a well-hidden little feature, but one I used quite often. If someone knows how to edit in Print Preview mode in Word 2010, do share!
- Hiding your preferred templates. If you go to File > New, you’ll see heaps of options for finding templates on Microsoft’s website or their partners’ websites. But it’s not so easy to find templates you’ve created, or that your organization has created and that you may have to comply with. I could only see these templates when I click My Templates (or Recent templates after I’d started a new document from one of mine). In my opinion, I should be able to set my preferred templates to be the first thing I see on this window. Again, this may be a setting so if someone knows how to do this, let me know. I really like to get rid of that mass of online templates that’s displayed by default.
- Color scheme of the interface. This one is a really small thing, but you’d think that Microsoft would have offered a few more color schemes for Word 2010 than TWO — silver and black. That’s it. Personally, I rarely change from the default color, but if you’re going to offer a choice, a choice of two seems pretty limited in this day and age.
So, that’s my very quick assessment on a quick ‘play’ with Word 2010. No doubt I’ll find more likes and dislikes as I start using it in a production environment.
If you’re coming from Word 2007, your learning curve should be minimal as much appears to be the same — at least on first glance.