Microsoft Word 2007

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The goal of this page is to write down a few Microsoft Word 2007 tips that may help writing a real text. See the links section for more in-depth tutorials and reference works. Word is a difficult program and despite what some folks claim (e.g. see the general advice section below), there remain huge usability and functional issues.

See also

General advice

Word 2007 makes a lot of ergonomic improvements based upon research observing actual users. Like Word 2003, the capabilities are complex, so it can take a long time to get used to its awesome power and how to use it. What is needed, as with all of Microsoft Office, is a set of procedures and standards customized within each company about how to harness its power. A lot of advanced company Word users have developed procedures and lists of settings and other standards to "tame" the power of Word within their organization. What is really important is to document your standards, settings, and practices, and test them. Some starter tips are as follows:

  1. Turn off automatic formatting (see the Numbered Lists below for one example) until tested with your procedures.
  2. Turn off automatic updating in the settings for each style.
  3. Turn off the keep track of styles function.
  4. Have only the styles in use appear in the styles list.
  5. Use a style for every element in the document, including graphics, tables, and lists.
  6. Apply direct formatting (like clicking the bold or italics button or choosing a font or font size) on text of one style only (usually normal), and avoid using even that style whenever possible.
  7. Learn the difference between paragraph, character, and linked styles.
  8. Understand list, table, and graphics styles.
  9. Understand how to use Quick Styles and Themes and how to override their characteristics.
  10. Use built-in styles like Heading 1-6 so that you can take advantage of many powerful Word features that use them (like Outline view, Style viewer, and automatic tables of contents).
  11. Design styles specific to your needs. Name them as nearly as possible to represent the elements in the document that they are used on rather than naming them for their visual characteristics. For example, instead of naming a style "bold italic 12 sans serif" for headings, use the built-in style "Heading 1" or name it something like "Chapter heading". Then, if you set all your chapter titles to use that heading, you can change them all anytime you want without messing up everything else that might have accidentally used that heading.
  12. Experiment with lists of specifically designed styles that apply to meaningful elements within your documents.

--Davidjess 23:34, 15 June 2009 (UTC)


Options can be found at the bottom of the window that opens when you hit the big "Office" button on top left.

Suggested options:

  • (to be written)
  • Click to enable "Show Developer tab in the ribbon". Else you won't be able - for example - to import styles

Importing styles

Source: Herb Tyson, How do I import styles from one document into an existing document, retrieved 16:25, 6 November 2008 (UTC).

Do you have an existing template you want to use, or do the styles you want to copy exist only in a document file? I find that Word will let me "apply"a different document's styles to a given document, but that unless the format is .docx, Word tells me it's not a valid template. So, for example, if I apply the styles in document1.doc, I get an error message, but if the file is document1.docx, it works fine. It seems to work even when there's an error message, but it leaves you with an uncomfortable sense that something didn't quite go as planned.

The more traditional route, however, is to apply a .dot, .dotx, or .dotm (template files) to a document. (It may help to open the Word 2003 document in Word 2007 and then save it as a Word 2007 template, first. Then apply the template to the Word 2007 document where you want to use it.)

The following procedure applies the styles of a template to an existing document:

  1. Developer tab.
  2. Click Document Template.
  3. Click Attach to navigate to the target document or template.
  4. Once back in the Templates and Add-ins dialog, click to enable Automatically update document styles.
  5. Click OK.

You can also move individual styles from one document to another. In the Developer tab and the Document Template, again, click, "Organizer". The current document and the normal template are usually open on the left and right sides. You can select Styles to copy from one to the other, or you can close one file and open another one in its place. It can be a template or a document, and you can copy whichever styles you need. A dialog box will ask you to verify that you want to write over the styles in the target document if they have the same name.

Document templates

If you see something like "Contacting the server for Information. Press ESC to cancel" and experience some freezing, then Word may attempt to find a document template that you had on a network drive.

To fix this:

  • Enter the "developer tab", Click on "Document template",
  • then either replace the template by a local version of the *.dot file or else erase the file name. It will be back to "normal" in the latter case.

Word probably will also do this for other reasons, e.g. trying to have some conversation with a network printer. As last resort you can switch of the network...

Numbered lists and headings


Lists and multi-level lists can be confusing for Word users, and this problem continues in Word 2007. One pointer is to remember that lists have their own styles. You can use the same style for every list in the document, or choose different list styles for different lists. Word does not have built-in list styles, but instead has list-style templates that you can choose from to create a new style. It is pretty straightforward. When you choose list or multi-level list as the format (from the formatting buttons under the Home tab), then a list of templates appears. Select one, and the new style is created. You can then modify the style in any detail. There is different formatting for each list indentation level (1-9).

Many advanced users have recommended turning off automatic list formatting. It is one of the things that is designed for new users but ends up confusing them when they get write complex lists. To turn off automatic formatting select the following options: Office logo-->Word options-->Proofing-->Auto-correct options-->Auto-correct options-->Auto-format as you type-->Apply as you type-->Uncheck Automatic numbered lists. At the same time, you might as well uncheck all the other 5 options under "Apply as you type" as well, such as automatic bulleted lists. The same advice applies to them. If you find these are useful, perhaps you could experiment with them, and turn them off whenever they give you trouble.


In order to get the numbering done right, you must again use multi-level lists. Or define one that fits your purpose. an absolute pain to get it done right ....


Using Word to produce slides

If you use a lot of slides in your teaching, it is IMHO better to use a word processor than presentation software and for the following reasons.

  • Writing is quicker since you dont have to work on a page per page basis to start with
  • Importing stuff from a text document (word, html, whatever) is much easier
  • You get a table of contents and headings numbering. This is important if you have 200-500 slides for a course.

Of course, presentation software is better at dealing with space. But for teaching puporses, you don't need all the slides to finish exactly at the bottom. All you need is basically 2 sizes of bullets. And anyhow, bullets are for bad teachers. Good teachers use figures, tables, graphs, pictures, citations, etc. And for these, word is no worse than PPT. You even have access to Smart Art in Word and you rarely need animation. Walking bullet items are another thing that would qualify as bad practice.

  • Create a A4 (or letter page) sideways (it's good enough you, dont need the exact proportion a a computer screen).
  • Use the same styles as the ones you use to create textbooks, lecture notes etc. But change the font-size. You also might use a common font, e.g. a multi-purpose typeface like Constantia.
  • Insert the "Page break" command plus other useful commands to the quick access bar like "insert table", "insert drawing", "shapes and so forth".


Styles in Word 2007 are much more robust, flexible, and powerful than styles in Word 2003. Quick Styles, a new addition, allow for selecting entire themes in the areas of colors, shape effects, and text formats. The built-in themes have been made so that all elements look good together. Entire themes can be changed at once, and individual characteristics can be changed so that they cascade with the various levels within the theme. It takes time to learn, but then a document can have its entire look changed in a short time. Built-in styles include a lot of linked paragraph-character styles, a few paragraph styles, and a few character styles. As usual, if built-in styles are used then the user can get automatic tables of contents and use the Style Viewer to see details about the style, and Outline view to manage the document according to its outline levels (Headings 1-6). --Davidjess 23:34, 15 June 2009 (UTC)

There are five different types of styles in Word 2007. All of these have bugs or user interface "features" that behave like bugs.

  • paragraph
  • character: Only formats inline blocks (i.e. characters). Sometimes it doesn't work. E.g. if you define a bold text it shows "normal" and the other way round.
  • linked: a combination styling that can be applied to both paragraphs and individual characters. I don't understand the purpose of this.
  • table
  • list are still freaky (see above).
Knowing what you do

One of the most freaking experiences when you start using Word2007 is that you don't know what style you are working with. You might want to scroll through the Styles Window and find your style highlighted, if you think that it is really cool to spend about 10 seconds each time.

Therefore, it is crucial that you add the Style to the Quick Access Toolbar. By default, this bar sits on the very top in the window "decoration" next to the big office button. You also can move this toolbar down. Right-click the bar and select "Show Quick Access Bar Below the Ribbon". Now to add the Style command, right-click on the bar and select "Customize Quick Access Toolbar"". Move "Style" to the right.

Being fast

Firstly you should add stuff to the Quick Access Toolbar. E.g. for writing a study book, I need frequently "insert table", "insert caption", "cross reference" plus a few drawing manipulation tools.


It is easy to select from different heading styles, if you use the "multi-level" drop down menu in the paragraph panel of the "Home" tab. However, things can out of control if you don't pay attention to reformatting.

It is relatively easy to create your own tree-based styles.

  • Open the multi-level menu and click on Define new Multilevel list'. Do not use the normal style definition procedure to define headings, e.g. numbering and indentation ans such. If do so, you will be very sorry!
  • Also click on the "more" Tag. Then link heading 1, heading 2, etc. To these levels. Else if you import text you'll have to translate each heading...
  • Leave the thing open until you are done with all definition. Did not manage to figure out how to change a given multi-level list, just how to create a new one based on an old one.

To change a multi-level style, you need to click on a number in the text (yes you can't do this through the menu).

Other Tips
  • You should remove all unused styles from the quick styles panel. You can accidentally click on one that you don't use.
  • You may base all your styles on "normal". However the danger is is that modifications of normal will affect all other styles. Avoid if you didn't configure word not to automatically update style. Else importing text from another document may produce disaster. So instead, create your own "normal", e.g. call it "base".
"The Number Must be between 1 and 600"
  • This is an error you get typically if you import from another wordprocessor. Select

all the text in the document, go to Format > Font > Character spacing and enter "100%" in the Scale box for example.


Are still a disaster in Word 2007 or maybe it's just me. I still can't create a crossreference type that would for instance include both numbers and text and formatting

To update all crossreferences (it's not automatic and not in the references tab ....)

  • Hit ctrl-A (select your whole text)
  • Hit F9 (and wait ... word will also prompt to know how to update the TOC, Table of figures, etc.)

Finding and replacing Unicode characters

This can be really tricky. Word can find and replace certain characters but not all.

If there is just single symbol, you can try to find its definition on the web (if word let's you put it on the clipboard). You then can search it entering its Unicode number, e.g. ^u945. I was unable to use this for replacing though.

Another solution for finding characters is to open the file in Libre Office (or probably any other word processor), then you can copy the character there and paste it into word's search box. (The symbol likely won't look the same though, but it will have the same code).

Basically, Word is broken, and you should learn to write macros, e.g. see here.


Before you can start drawing things like a concept map, you absolutly must insert a drawing canvas (else some essential stuff like inserting rubber banding connectors won't work)

Insert -> Shapes
(scroll down) and Insert Drawing Canvas

Of course, you should insert this to your Quick Access Toolbar

  • Click the little down arrow (Customize Quick Access Toolbar) if you can find it ;)
  • Select "commands not in the ribbon"
  • Select "Insert Drawing" and Click on Add

Turning a text box

.... is an absolute nightmare, you can't. However, there are two workarounds:

1) Use Word art (and buy a machine with a good GPU)

2) Or change the text direction (for either 90 or 270 degrees rotation):

  • Click inside the text box
  • Then select the format palette (top menu)
  • Maybe click on format again (you need to be within the Text Box tools)
  • To the very left, change the text direction (you can click once or twice depending on the rotation you'd like to have), then adjust your text.... good luck

Addons for academic writing

See Scholarly Communication (Microsoft), e.g.

  • NLM XML format authoring Add-in.
  • Creative Commons Add-in v1.0 for Microsoft Office


Selected Issues