Help with the Office 2007 Ribbon

Many users find themselves lost in Office 2007's Ribbon hierarchy. Now there's help!

Microsoft has a rather creative and helpful tool for finding options and features in Excel 2007, PowerPoint 2007, and Word 2007. It's an add-in that helps you find features you know are there, but you just can't find in the new Ribbon hierarchy.

First, you download and install the tool. Then, the next time you open Word 2007, Excel 2007, or PowerPoint 2007 (sorry Access users), the interface will display a new ribbon — Search Commands. Click that tab and enter a descriptive keyword, and the Ribbon will display the most likely items and their whereabouts in 2007, to match your entry.

Now, this tool isn't specifically a mapping tool for finding menu items from earlier versions, but it's close. To find features from an earlier version, just type in the menu structure (or as much of it as you can remember). For example, in PowerPoint 2003, you'd choose Picture from the Insert menu and then choose Clip Art to insert a clip art file. Using 2007's Search Command, you might enter "Insert clipart" or "Insert picture clipart" to find the feature. 

I'm profoundly sorry that there isn't an add-in for Access 2007. Outllook 2007 probably doesn't need one, as it still uses much of the old menu structure.


Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

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