Word 2007: What is the Prepare Menu? Deep Dive

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Apart from the new Ribbon User Interface, there are a few more ‘menu concepts’ that new users of Word 2007 (and Office 2007 in general) need to get their heads around.  The one that is most obvious is the “Prepare Menu”.  You will find the prepare menu when you click on the Office 2007 orb, in the top left hand corner of the screen (basically what was the “File” menu in older versions of Word)

What is the Prepare Menu?

The prepare menu is a collection of functionality which a user might use to prepare their work for publication, storage or distribution, once they have finished the content of the document.  This might include adding some meta data to the document (for use in a EDRMS or document management system), adding a digital signature (to ensure the integrity of the document), or even checking that the document is compatible with older versions of Word.

Lets have a in depth look at what each of the options in the Prepare menu do.


By clicking on the properties option, you can add meta data to describe your document.  As you can see from the screenshot, the meta data you can add to your Word 2007 document includes:

  • Author – The name of the person who created the document
  • Title – The title of the document
  • Subject – the subject or topic of the document
  • Keywords – a few words which describe the document
  • Category – the category that the document falls into
  • Status – the status of the document (Draft, Final, For Review etc)
  • Comments – can be any comment which adds value to the document, or used for an abstract.

In the Document Properties Pane, if you click on the down arrow beside Document Properties you can launch the “Advanced Properties” box.  From this box you can add even more meta data to your document, with another 27 or so different options, ranging from the Client the document is for, to who Typed the document in the first place.

Inspect Document

The Inspect Document function checks to make sure there is nothing hidden in your document that a reader might find later down the track.  This is especially important if you have used track changes, hidden some text (when you should have deleted it), or used some meta data internally to classify the document that you do not want the reader to know about.

Clicking on the Inspect Document function displays a box which allows you to select the type of document inspection you want.  If you are dealing with a small document (say below 100 pages) there is no problem inspecting using all five options.  As your document grows however, the inspection will take longer, so you might only want to inspect for comments, revisions, versions and annotations.

Encrypt Document

By selecting Encrypt Document from the Prepare menu in Word 2007, you can add a password to protect your document.  Just type your password in once, then re-type it to make sure it is correct, and your Word 2007 document is encrypted.

Restrict Permission

This prepare menu option allows you to grant specific rights to viewers of the document.  For example, if you only want people to be able to read a document, but not print it or save it, you can grant those privileges using the Restrict Permission option.

This functionality is based on Rights Management Services for Windows Server 2003.  However, if you do not have RMS (or another information rights management infrastructure in your organisation), you can still restrict the permissions on your document using a free trial from Microsoft.  Information on the trial appears when you try to restrict permission on your document for the first time.

Add a Digital Signature

In Word 2007, you can sign your document.  Adding a digital signature is just like signing a document with your own written signature (except it is digital).  To add a digital signature in Word 2007, click on the office orb, select prepare, and then click add a digital signature.

You can create your own digital signature, or purchase one from a third party.  Signatures from third parties hold more credibility because they can be independently verified.

Note that digital signatures are invisible, and you do not actually see a traditional written signature anywhere on the document.

Mark as Final

Mark as final, marks the document as final, sets the document to read-only, and saves it for you.

Run Compatibility Checker

By running the compatibility checker in Word 2007 you can check to see if your document will load in previous versions of Microsoft Word.  This is very important if you work with customers or suppliers who may be running older versions of Word.


So there you have it, a deep dive into the document preparation features that you can find in the Prepare menu in Word 2007.  Hope that helps!


[tags]Word 2007, Prepare, Rights Management, Tips, Help[/tags]

One thought on “Word 2007: What is the Prepare Menu? Deep Dive

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