Explore what is new and different in Microsoft Word 2007

Word 2007 boasts new default styles

This gallery is also available as a TechRepublic article and download.

At this point, you've probably seen the new interface being shipped with most of the individual Office 2007 component products. If you're like me, your first reaction was, "Whoa!"

Note: Since the first beta release of Office 2007, I've forced myself to use all of the 2007 applications, although I have kept Office 2003 installed "just in case." As a result, I've been using the new interface for quite a number of months.

Significant interface changes

I'm not going to go into too much detail on the changes to the interface. For a good look at my thoughts on the new interface, take a look at my article on the topic.

However, where it makes sense I will point out interface differences that affect specific functionality.

Styles & the Style Gallery

This is one interface change that I will point out right up front as it will significantly change the way you work with styles in your documents. In the Ribbon bar, on the Home tab, you can also see the most obvious example of a feature that Microsoft calls a gallery. A gallery is basically a thumbnail of what a particular style will look like. Word uses the style gallery to give you a preview that shows you what would happen if you applied a particular style to your document.

To see the effect of a particular style, simply hover your mouse pointer over the desired style. Voila! Word changes your text selection to match the new style, but the new style does not permanently go into effect until you click the left mouse button. As you move across the gallery, you can see each style in turn. To apply a particular style to your work, click the style.

Personally, I really like this feature. It does take some getting used to though, particularly if you were a heavy user of styles in older versions of Office.

New styles

As long as we're on the topic of styles, this is a good time to talk about the new default styles that Microsoft has introduced in Word 2007. Gone are the old Heading 1, Heading 2, and Heading 3 styles. While the style names have not changed, their look sure has. Even the Normal style, upon which most documents are based, has a new look and a new behavior in Word 2007.

First off, the Normal style in Word 2007 is based on the new Calibri font, which ships with Office 2007. Second, the Normal style now double-spaces by default between paragraphs. I've provided a direct comparison of the new and the old styles. I've turned on the paragraph markers so you can see some of the behavior of the new styles.

I really like the new styles and the new fonts. By the way, the heading fonts use the new Cambria font, which also ships on the Office 2007 installation media. The new styles are cleaner, and, after an adjustment period, I've found that I really like the new spacing behavior of the Normal style. At first, I thought it a waste of space, but after realizing that I often double-spaced between paragraphs anyway, this enhancement saves me some time.

By Scott Lowe

Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive w...