Word 2007 review
Not many new features, but the new interface breathes fresh life into an already great product
Review Date: 15 Dec 2006
Reviewed By: Simon Jones
Price when reviewed: £150 (£173 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Ease of Use
The most used of all the Office applications, Word really benefits from the new Ribbon user interface. Virtually all parts of the application have been updated, and Microsoft's aim to make it quick and easy to create good-looking documents has clearly been achieved.
The document-editing experience has been enhanced by providing a clean, uncluttered user interface with all the tools available via the Ribbon. Extraneous noises, such as the ruler - which most people don't need to see - are turned off by default so you can concentrate on creating and laying out the contents of your document. If you have a small screen or want even more space in which to work, you can shrink the ribbon down to just the tab names by pressing <Ctrl-F1> or double-clicking on the current tab.
Word makes good use of the new fonts that ship with Office, including Cambria and Calibri, which are used extensively for headings and body text. Body text is also set to 1.15 line spacing, making the standard body text Calibri 11pt on a 12.65pt line, which significantly increases readability.
Themes are well implemented, allowing you to choose a look for your document with ease. There are 20 themes built in, or you can create your own. Each theme consists of two fonts (for headings and body text), 12 colours (for text, background, accents and hyperlinks) and subtle, moderate or intense effects (for elements such as lines, fills and edges). Live Preview shows off the themes as you roll the mouse pointer over the choices. You can create your own selection of fonts and colours, choose what kind of effects you want and save the whole set as a custom theme to use in other documents.
As well as themes, you can quickly format a document by choosing a built-in style set. These define formatting for various headings and body text such as setting background fills or borders on the page elements. Again, you can create your own style sets to suit.
Reading and reviewing have both been improved. The full-screen reading view is clean and easy to use, showing two-page spreads where possible and just a couple of tools in the top corners of the window. When reviewing tracked changes, you now see the list of changes down the left-hand side of the window, which makes more sense than at the bottom. If text has been moved from one place in the document to another, the text is now marked as moved instead of deleted and inserted. There are tools for comparing two documents and for amalgamating the comments and changes from many people into the one document. You can also view two documents side by side with synchronised scrolling.
Bloggers will like the new blogging template, which interfaces to many different blog services allowing you to use Word's familiar tools, yet publish clean HTML and have any images uploaded as appropriate.
Cover Pages, headers, footers and textboxes are all easy to insert to match the theme of your document, and you can save your own designs in each gallery. The Ribbon and Live Preview are very handy when inserting Text Boxes, Shapes, Word Art and Pictures, with complex formatting applied using just one click. Reflections, drop shadows and bevelled borders are all simple to apply and make the illustrations in your documents really stand out. Tables get two context tabs to control their design and layout, making complex formatting such as banded rows a simple task. As with all ribbon commands, if you want exact control, you can always get to the relevant dialog using the dialog launcher button in the bottom-right corner of each command group.
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