What Happened to the File Menu? Help with the new user interface in Office 2007

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So you have started your favourite Office 2007 program for the first time.  And now you are lost.  What happened to the file menu?  Where is the help menu?  What on earth is that circle in the top left corner?  Lets quickly run through a Microsoft Office 2007 user interface tutorial so you can get up to speed and productive in no time!

What happened to the file menu?

The old style menu system from Office 2003, mycoplasmosis Office XP, viagra and earlier versions has been replaced with a brand new interface, which most people call the ‘Ribbon’.  Why did Microsoft replace the old style menu with the new Ribbon?  Because it was getting to difficult to find the right menu options because the menus were too complicated.  The Ribbon is designed to make it easier to find the features that you need to use.

The Ribbon is only one third of the new user interface though… there are two other important parts of the screen which we will look at before looking specifically at the Ribbon

The Office Orb (and the Quick Access Toolbar)

The Office Orb = The old file menu.  As you can see in the picture, the orb is a circle with the Office logo in it, which is located in the top left hand corner of the application.  The Office Orb contains the same style tasks that you would find in the old file menu.  For example, if you wanted to create a new document in Word 2007, you would click on the Office Orb, in the top left corner of the screen, and then select ‘New’.  Likewise if you wanted to save your document in Word 2007, you would click on the Office Orb, and select ‘Save’.

By clicking on the Office Orb (in Word 2007), you get access to the following functionality:

  • New
  • Open
  • Save
  • Save As
  • Print
  • Finish
  • Send
  • Publish
  • Close
  • Options
  • Exit

New, Open, Save, Save As, Print, Close and Exit are all the same as previous versions of Office.  Finish, Send, and Publish are new to Word 2007, and will be covered in an Office Orb Deep Dive in a later article.

Beside the Office Orb is a number of small icons.  This is called the Quick Access Toolbar, and the default (in Word 2007) includes Save, Undo, Redo, and Print.  The Quick Access Toolbar saves you from having to look for features that you regularly use.  For example, simply click on the floppy disk to save your document.  You can add any of your favourite features in Office 2007 to the Quick Access toolbar by right clicking on the feature, and then selecting ‘Add to Quick Access Toolbar’

Zoom and Layout

The zoom and layout options are now located in the bottom right hand corner of the window.  This is where you can select the document layout you wish to view.  For example, if you want to view in Print Layout, simply click on the Print Layout button in the bottom right hand corner of the window.  If you want to change to full screen reading, or web layouts, again click on the buttons in the bottom right hand corner.

I this area there are also two methods to change the zoom, or how big or small everything looks on the screen.  One method is to click on the ‘100%’ and then select your zoom level.  Alternatively you can use the zoom slider.  By dragging the zoom slider to the left, the document will zoom out, making everything look smaller.  By dragging the zoom slider to the right, the document will zoom in, making everything look bigger. 

The Ribbon

The Ribbon is the major part of the new user interface.  It is very different from previous versions, however it is a lot easier to use, and once you are familiar with the Ribbon you are able to find things much quicker than before.

The Ribbon can be broken into two parts… the Ribbon Tabs, which describe a task which you may be trying to complete, and the Ribbon itself, which includes all the buttons and options which you would need to use when trying to complete that task.

For example, say you want to insert something into your document.  You click on the ‘Insert’ tab, and then all the things that you can insert into your document appear in the Ribbon.  From here you can ‘Insert’ a table, or ‘Insert’ a picture, or ‘Insert’ some clipart.

Another example is if you want to play around with the layout of your page.  You click on the ‘Page Layout’ tab, and from there you can select your page margins, how many columns etc.

The best part of the Ribbon is that it is contextual… which means it only shows you the things that you would want to do at the time.  For example if you click on a picture in your document, a special ‘Picture’ tab appears in the ribbon and shows you all the different things you can do to the picture.  When you are not working on the picture, that tab disappears so it does not clutter the menu and makes it simpler for you to find things!

Later on I will write some deep dive articles which tell you exactly what you can do with each ribbon tab.  Until then, I hope this article has given you enough help and guidance to start exploring Word, Excel, Access and PowerPoint using the new Office 2007 user interface.  If you get stuck along the way, you can get help by clicking on the blue and white question mark on the top right hand corner of the window, or check back here at The New Paperclip for more tips, techniques and tutorials on Microsoft Office 2007

Until next time…


[tags]Office 2007, Ribbon, Getting Started[/tags]

16 thoughts on “What Happened to the File Menu? Help with the new user interface in Office 2007

  1. Pingback: The New Paperclip: Tips Tricks and Tutorials for Microsoft Office 2007 » Blog Archive » Getting started with Word 2007 - The Ultimate Guide

  2. Someone just asked me to click Help-About, to find out which Office version exactly I was using. It’s not under the blue question mark thing… Any ideas?


  3. Pingback: What Happened to the File Menu? Help with the new user interface in Office 2007 - Microsoft Forums

  4. Look at the “X” where you would close a program. Below there is a question mark on a blue circle. Viola.

  5. i would like to send letters to many people in the same time. Please teach me how to create a dissiminate letter, mail list and print the envelops for them

  6. I also need to determine what specific version of Access 2007 is installed on my machine. I attempted to find the Help menu so I could display the About dialog, but could not find the Help menu…and then I stumbled across this website and learned that I need to click on the question mark only to discover that the About menu also appears to have been moved, removed or discontinued along with so many other useful features that were available in earlier versions. What train wreck!

  7. The name search in Outlook 2007 (Contacts)no longer works.
    Index has been re-made and the application re-installed.
    Still not working!Downloading desktop search from MS does not solve the problem either.Judging from a Google search of this problem a lot of people have the same issue.

  8. Trying to find Edit>Undo… I can’t even ask Help where it is!! I will not be using this program any more!

  9. For the people who are wondering what happened to the “Help > About” menu to see the specifics of the version of Office you are using, the new procedure is:

    The Office Button (“The Office Orb” as this article calls it) > “Word Options” (Or Excel, or whatever, located toward the bottom right of the office menu) > Resources > The About button.

  10. I got so tired of it, I took it off and re-installed Office 2003. After trying for 10 minutes to find the undo button, I gave up. This is a garbage program. ‘The ribbon is easy to use’?? I don’t think so.

  11. Glad to see I’m not the only one who hates the new ribbon. It is so much harder to find things than it used to be.

    And being forced to use BING for help, rather than having nice traditional help files on my system? Rots. I hate Bing, and don’t always want to work on-line.

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