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We hope so. In fact, that's the motivation behind Word's ability to:
For what it is worth, since learning about and using these features, I type everything in Word and then copy and paste it elsewhere. I know Word makes me a better writer, but I don't know if that's a compliment to Word or a knock on my writing ability. J
Anyway, on to the features we hope will improve your writing.
This takes about twenty seconds of setup and will enable you to easily see the readability of your document or any selection within your document. I use it when finalizing all of my documents or after typing up a sentence or paragraph that I think may be hard to understand.
Here's how you do it:
Readability statistics are now enabled in Word and you can see the readability of your document by pressing "F7" to run Word's spelling & grammar checker. When the spelling & grammar checker is finished running you will see your document's readability statistics in the following dialog:
Word gives you three stats: the percent of your document written in the passive voice and your document's Flesch Reading Ease and Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level.
Generally speaking, the passive voice is more difficult to read than the active voice. To increase the readability of your document, bring this number down.
The Flesch tests indicate how easy your text is to understand. The Flesch Reading Ease test is on a 100 point scale. The higher the score, the easier it is to understand the document. Shoot for a score of at least 60, but the higher the better. The Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level test rates text on a U.S. school grade level. A score of 8.0 means that an eighth grader should be able to understand the text. Aim for a score of at most 8, but the lower the better.
For an example of very readable text, look no further than Dr. Seuss. The following excerpt from "Green Eggs and Ham" has 0% passive sentences, a Flesch Reading Ease of 100 and a Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level of zero. That's why they call him doctor :)
I do not like them in a box.
I do not like them with a fox.
I do not like them in a house.
I do not like them with a mouse.
I do not like them here or there.
I do not like them anywhere.
I do not like green eggs and ham.
I do not like them, Sam-I-am.
This is perfect for those "Executive Summaries" that you need to make sure everyone understands. To check the readability of a selection simply select the text, press the F7 key, and click "No" when you are asked if you would like to continue checking the rest of the document. You'll see the same Readability Statistics dialog and it will only apply to your selection. Nice.
This is my favorite feature in Word 2007. Think of the times you have been typing away and left the "y" off of "they" or hit the spacebar too early and typed "some time" instead of "sometime". It's never fun to send an email telling someone "Jon and Angela told me that the will meet us at 7pm. Some times they are late though."
Contextual spellchecking now flags these correct spelling in the incorrect context. Check-out my earlier post on it here.
This is not new, but most people don't know about how much the grammar checker cares about explaining itself. That is, the grammar check will explain the grammatical rules backing its suggestions. Just hit the "Explain…" button on potential grammar error.
This one is about as easy as it gets.
Select the text, press "Translate," check out the translation in the Research task pane.
Between reporting the readability of your document, reducing the number of contextual spelling errors, catching potential grammar errors and providing explanations, and translating text, we hope Word adds at least some value to your writing.
Let me know what you think.
Hi Jonathan, thank you for tracking the Arial/Times New Roman issue - I'm reading every comment on your blog. So please let me know if it's now reproducable on your machines so we can expect a fix. The other big issue we experience is the performance of Word with spell checking active: In the German Edition Word 2007 gets *much* slower (i.e. in editing) whenever spell checking in the background (even without grammar/contextual checking) is active (machines have 2GB Memory and P4 3GHz Dual Core processor). It speeds up as soon as spell checking in background is complete and of course if spell checking is disabled. Is this already a known issue? Stefan
Is there any way to get the readability statistics without going through a manual spell and grammar check? It would be nice if you could add the readibility statistics to the Word Count dialog (in a future version of Word.)
Hi Francis – Great suggestion. Unfortunately, there is currently no way to get readability statistics without going through a manual spell and grammar check. -Jonathan
Hi Stefan - I was hoping to investigate the performance problem you are having with the German spell checker. Would you be able to tell me the machine config and how we can create a file that will reproduce this problem? Thanks :) - Amani
Hi Amani, thank you for your answer - it was the key to the solution ;) Your answer suggested to me it's no known problem. So I installed at home the promotional Pro 2007-CD finally this week-end! Guess what - Word 2007 was fast there WITH spell checker... So today I've tried different things at work:
* Disabling GPOs on existing installation => Word slow
* Adding /NUMPROCS=1 to boot.ini => slow
* Redeployment of Win XP Pro and manual installation of ProPlus 2007 from Select CD => Word was fast!!
* Adding my DOTM-Add-Ins => still fast
* Doing all the other customization things like reg keys after the manual installation => fast
* Install PDF-Plugin => fast
* Silent installation of all publicly available Office 2007 Updates => fast So the only thing still being different was the silent command line installation of Office 2007 from a network source...
Since I don't do any settings via setup /admin (I would have to do them manually for each Office suite because Standard-MSPs cannot be used as ProPlus-MSPs) only customizations there are the registration key, no start menu links via Office Setup and some feature installation states. However each feature being installed is set to "run from local machine". So what makes the problem occur??? The solution is:
In my scripts for silent installation I had started setup using runas with a different user context (I hoped to make Office 2007 installable without local admin rights doing so). Now I give the user admin rights during the installation and I run setup.exe without RUNAS. Performance during spell check is fine now just as I suppose it's intended... ;) I even found out HOW to work around the problem: Simply create the folder %APPDATA%\Microsoft\UProof or delete it to reproduce the effect! Hope this information helps some people to avoid the issue... Stefan
So the spell check performance problem is caused by the MSI package or Windows Installer I suppose? I just found another issue regarding inline picture/compatibility options and printout. Here are the steps to reproduce: 1) Create a new document
2) Insert a picture from a file, i.e. C:\Windows\winnt.bmp (it will be inserted as an inline picture!)
3) Set Word's compatibility layout options to use printer metrics (sorry, don't know the english name of the option - using VBA it's "ActiveDocument.Compatibility(wdUsePrinterMetrics)=True"
4) Print out the document On the printout the picture will be missing! Stefan
I think that's awesome. I especially love the translation thing. I think that's really neat. Hopefully it's pretty accurate at it. Neat. Office 2007 is the best office suite ever.