General Question

Jeruba's avatar

Can you comment on the latest version of MS Word? especially in comparison with pre-Windows 7 versions?

Asked by Jeruba (50620points) May 2nd, 2016

I had Word 2003 on my late computer, and I refused to upgrade at home. I wanted nothing whatsoever to do with Windows 7 and what they did to Word. I was required to use it at work and hated it. Table handling, for one thing, became a nightmare, where it used to be so quick, simple, and versatile.

Now I’m forced to start fresh, presumably with Windows 10. I’d like to know what experienced users have to say about MS Word in one of the latest versions (there’s a confusing assortment, I see) just in case I can choose less misery over more misery.

Many thanks.

Topics, as I gave them and not as they appear below: computers, Microsoft, MS Word, word processing, Windows 10, powerlessness

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

9 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

I just upgraded to Windows 10. If I’m not mistaken, on Windows 2003 still had functions like saving under the “file” tab. Windows 10 you find that under the “Home” tab. For me, I had a not very difficult learning curve using it, but I do feel like some things take more time, because I have to switch tabs more.

Also, my Windows 10 is a little jumpy, but that might be because of my computer rather than the system, I’m not sure. When I say jumpy, I mean suddenly the document I’m working on will get much larger, and I have to go to “view” and change the percentage. I know it’s something I’m hitting on the mouse area of my laptop, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what it is.

I think you will be a little frustrated with the change, but if you have documents that need the new version, then I guess you’re kind of forced to change. Why not go to a tech store like Best Buy and use one of their computers with Windows 10 software for a half an hour? Call ahead and make sure a computer or laptop has the right version.

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

The Windows version (XP, 7, 8, 10) is a separate question from your version of Microsoft Word (or Microsoft Office).

You can use Word 2003 (one component of Office 2003) with Windows XP, 7, 8, and 10. So if you have or can find an Word 2003 (or Office 2003) disk, you can install it on whatever version of Windows you have.

Lots of those disks are sitting in drawers and storage boxes, hopefully someone you know can unearth one.

CWOTUS's avatar

I don’t know what version you mean by “latest”, because it’s hard to keep track of all the various Office versions that are in use on different systems and in different ways. If you’re talking about the new “Office 365” (or whatever they call it), then I can’t help, because I’ve not seen that yet.

However, I do have Office 2010 – for Word, Excel and Access, anyway (I have later versions of PowerPoint and Planner). My company didn’t follow the upgrade path to the “2003” versions, so for us to go from Office 2001 to the entirely new menuing system of 2010 was a great shock to many.

What saved me, and what may help you out a bit, is knowing the keystroke shortcuts to do things instead of having to use the menu every time. For example, “Print” is still Ctrl-P, “Save” is Ctrl-S, “Format” options are still available under “Alt-O”, and so forth. Ctrl-B for Bold, Ctrl-I for Italic and Ctrl-U for Underlining, Ctrl-C, Ctrl-V, Ctrl-X – everyone knows those, right? But if you haven’t used keystroke shortcuts, then this is just “more to learn and remember” for you, and not much help, I realize. (However, you should learn that lot, because those are fairly standard among “nearly all Windows-based programs”.)

However, that’s not all that you can do. This is what might help the most, if you’re a “menu-and-mouse” person:

If you notice the tiny drop-down arrow to the right of the topmost row of little icons (over the “menu ribbon” in the standard configuration), and click on that, you can get to “Customize”. When you select that, choose the “All Commands” view – which will provide a window listing hundreds if not thousands of individual, specific commands available to the program that you’re working in. You could spend days researching all of those. (Do that later.)

What I recommend to get your feet wet is that you start slow and add some of the most useful customizations. My personal favorite to start with is “Print Preview and Print” (and why that’s not part of the default setup is completely beyond me). But select that choice, then “Add” it to the customization icon toolbar, click Okay to save that, and see how much time and trouble that little addition saves you when you want to do a print preview.

Now, instead of hitting “File” tab and then locating and pressing the “Preview” button, you can click one little icon at the top of the screen – which is always visible (at least in context – when a print preview is possible) – and you can see the preview of the document and select the printer, etc. One button. Now, that’s a nice feature.

So that’s my recommendation. Find the commands that are of the most vital interest to you and place those on your customization menu. (You can also rearrange the locations of the buttons so that the “Print Preview” button, for example, always shows in the same place on ALL of your Office programs. That’s also a very handy feature.)

In general, I’m not a big fan of the “menu ribbon”, but I have – grudgingly – come to see some value in the groupings, except that I’ve had to unlearn what I already knew, and that was – still is – a difficult process. Menu customization, though (which was always available in Office programs, but not this simple) – that makes up for a lot of the upgrade pain that I’ve had to endure.

Good luck!

elbanditoroso's avatar

I agree with @CWOTUS entirely.

One other objection. The latest version (Office 2016) is too white – too bright. It’s like Microsoft decided to throw away all the color cues and shading, and now the interface is almost entirely white on black. Functionally, it hasn;t changed that much, as @CWOTUS said, but if you are sitting at a desk all day, the screen is not all the pleasant to the eyes.

Soubresaut's avatar

@elbanditoroso you can change the color of the border—File > Options > General, and then under the “Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office” you can choose a “Theme” (white, dark grey, colorful, black.) (Colorful will make each Office product its “color,” so Word will have its distinctive blue.)

@Jeruba—I have Office 365 with 2016 versions of the software. I like it a lot. 365 renews yearly and I get the latest Office software without any additional cost (depending on how much you like updates, that may or may not be a good thing.) I also get 1TB of cloud storage on OneDrive. My family shares a 365 subscription—so actually we each get 1TB of OneDrive storage.

As for Word itself: Although the program will look different, on the whole it’s quite similar to what it was. (At least, I think it is?) There’s no more “edit” tab, and there’s a “home” tab which may or may not be in Word 2003, but otherwise the organization of the functions is more or less the same. They may have added a few features, not sure, but you shouldn’t lose any functionality and once you adjust to the different appearance, most of the things will be where you expect them to be. Because the tabs have more of a spatial-layout than a dropdown list (you’ll see what I mean below), I think it’s actually easier to find things (but I have a spatial memory, so that might just be me.)

(I don’t know the Word versions by date so I looked up images of Word 2003—not sure if I saw the correct version or not!)

Here are some screenshots of my copy—I stepped through all the tabs on the top so you could see them and compare to what you have right now
>> Ugh. I’m removing the link to the imgur album. For whatever reason, when you follow the link and click into the images, it tries to download something on your computer (or at least, it’s doing that for me.) I think it’s some freaky advertisement cookie thing…. I’ll experiment with individual images later today when I have a chance…

Call_Me_Jay's avatar

I don’t know the Word versions by date so I looked up images of Word 2003—not sure if I saw the correct version or not

Office 2003 had a similar interface to previous versions.

Office 2007 introduced the [stupid] ribbon interface.

I was an Excel expert. I started using Excel in the 1980s when it was solely a Macintosh program. Excel 2007 turned me back into a N00B, and I still have to hunt for simple commands.

Soubresaut's avatar

Ah, okay, “ribbon.” When 2003 was released I was only 10… I don’t remember if we moved to 2007 when I was 13 or not. And now that I’m looking more carefully, I guess the ribbon-tabs are different names than the dropdown menus… though I think the general organization is still similar? Maybe not. At least, the “Home” tab seems to have everything the Word 2003 bar has…? I barely use Excel and definitely have only used its ribbon-interface incarnation, so I believe it changed a lot with the new version.

Anyway, screenshots at each tab/ribbon. The stuff I wrote in the “document” is probably moot by this point—I did the screenshots last night, and quickly.

dappled_leaves's avatar

I’ve been working with Word 2016 (the one after Word 365) for a few weeks now, and my previous version was Word 2010.

After Word 2003, the entire interface was redesigned, and many functions which one would normally look for under toolbar options like “Edit” or “File” were re-organized under different headings in what is called the “ribbon”, which is a giant toolbar that runs horizontally across the top of the screen.

When I first encountered a post-2003 version of Word, I was frustrated and irritated. But, to be honest, although many of the new organization choices seem arbitrary, and a bit of fumbling is absolutely required to find everything for a while, it did not take me that long to get used to it.

Between versions since the appearance of the ribbon, none of the changes have been so cataclysmic.

Many important default settings (things like autocorrect options, language options, etc.) are now under File > Options (bottom left-hand side). I would recommend taking some time to (1) explore all the menu options under Options and (2) click “customize the ribbon” so that you can see at a glance what functions are kept where (and, of course, to customize it if you wish. The first thing I did was to add a “New blank document” button in mine.).

Finally, don’t forget that anything which doesn’t appear possible but should has already been a matter of frustration for thousands of other users, so google the problem, and you’ll likely find a solution. Or ask here, of course.

I will add that, so far, the only frustration I’ve had with Word 2016 is that has something called “smooth typing animation” turned on by default. For people who type quickly, it’s extremely disorienting, so I found a way to switch that off. Otherwise, I quite like it. It’s a bit more attractive than the previous version I had.

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