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Recently while I was tutoring my Mom and Dad on Word 2007 I blurted out: "Just right-click."
The remainder of this post is part explanation, part apology, and part justification.
While this advice may seem dismissive, I didn't mean for it to be. When we design new features, we think about the most useful places to surface that features and try to put them there. Often, the most useful place for a feature is directly on the "thing" it affects.
Here's the logic: If you want to take an action on something, right-clicking on it is a great place to start.
Where is providing synonyms for a word useful? On the word itself. So right-click on the word.
Where is restarting a numbered list useful? On the numbered list itself. So right-click on the numbered list.
Where is changing the spacing of a paragraph useful? One the paragraph itself. So right-click on the paragraph.
The design principle is "make actions contextual". The practice is "right-click on something to act on it".
If you are like my Mom and Dad and do not design software for a living, chances are you never ask yourself questions like: "In what context is feature X most useful?" But, you most certainly have thoughts like "I need to do X to Y." when using software. My suggestion to my parents is my suggestion to you: right-click on Y and look for something like X. The intent here is not to be terse. It is to provide simple and helpful advice.
Here's where this right-click zeal came from: Prior to speaking with my parents I spent a half hour trying to figure out how to rotate a picture in Vista without opening it. The story ends with me accidentally right clicking on a thumbnail in my Pictures folder and discovering that I could have saved myself a half hour had started by doing that. The right-click menu contained "Rotate Clockwise" and "Rotate Counterclockwise". It was like calling tech support about a printer not working before checking to see if it was actually connected to the computer (which I also did on the same day…not a good day and yes, I am suggesting that you take advice from me :)).
Just like it's great to make sure everything is plugged in first before you call for help with hardware, it's great to right-click before you call for help with software. Even if you are sure the printer is plugged in (like I sadly was), check the connections. Even if you are sure you don't how to do X in Word 2007, check the right-click menu. Check the right-click menu even if you don't think it will help…you'll be surprised what right-click can do...I was in Vista...and was again later that week in Word 2007.
Specifically, I was reading a document in Word 2007 and came across a reference to the capitol of New Hampshire, but the capitol itself was not mentioned. I wanted to know what city was being referenced and I wanted to follow my own right-click advice, so I selected the text "capitol of New Hampshire", right-clicked on it in Word 2007, found an option called "Look Up…", and clicked it. A pane opened up on the right side of Word and not only told me "Concord", but pointed me to a picture of the capitol building in New Hampshire, told me that New Hampshire is one of the six New England states, one of the smaller states of the United States, and that Manchester is the largest city in New Hampshire.
Mom and Dad – I'm sorry if my advice came across as terse, but right-click "Concord", pictures, and interesting facts...hopefully you at least see where I am coming from. :)
Hi there, I really need to get in touch with the Word team about a possible bug in the otherwise absolutely wonderful bibliography feature. How should I go about this? There is no email address field and I don't want to post my telephone number here on this public forum. Thanks
DCE - Feel free to describe the issue you are seeing in a comment here. I'll make sure it gets to the PM who worked on bibliography. -Jonathan (MS)
Thanks so much. Okay, the problem I am having is that I am trying to cite a book in-text which has multiple authors, i.e. a different author per chapter. In the bibliography, it appears correctly, viz: Tildsley, A. (2007). The Iain Duncan Smith Years. In A. Sheldrake
(Ed.), A History of The Conservative Party in England (pp. 37-50).
Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. In text, it appears incorrectly, viz: (Tildsley, The Iain Duncan Smith Years, 2007, p. 40) I have to use suppress title to get the title to disappear as it
should not be visible per the APA style. The weirdest thing is the manage sources dialog box shows the in-text
ciation correctly, viz: (Tildsley, 2007, p. 40) If you need more information just reply and let me know. Thanks again - I think this accountability and transparency you guys are doing with this blog is a real boon.
Hi, I was always confused as to why "Borders and Shading" doesn't show up in the right-click menu. I may want to shade a paragraph, or some text, but if I click on those elements it isn't one of those options. Even if I highlight a paragraph, there is no border or shading option in that dialog. 2007 is improved, in that the fill and border is in the ribbon under the paragraph section (though if one is looking for the fill or border for text would one think to look there?). But this is still better than before when it used to be completely out of context, alone under the format menu. Thanks
Care to guess WHY the article showed a picture of the capitol building? That's because New Hampshire's only capitol *is* a building. Concord is the CAPITAL. The CAPITOL is a building in the CAPITAL. :-) While I've long preached the doctrine of Right Clicking, I'm also a big believer in double-clicking. Alas, double-clicking a picture in Word 2007 no longer does anything. Rather than opening the picture's properties dialog -- as ordained by Mother Nature -- double clicking a picture merely reduces the number of double-clicks remaning in the life of your mouse.
Hello I came across this blog by Google search for 'APA 2007 bug referencing'. I too am struggling with the bug described by DCE. Has the team member who worked on it responded yet? Also (this is less important than the bug at the moment) why were so many obscure referencing styles included but not the Harvard style? It's in the top three most used styles! Was it because it is so similar to APA?
DCE: Can you look at the list of sources you are using in your current document and tell me if there are two books by the same author and with the same year? If so, using a citation such as (AUTHOR YEAR) doesn't provide enough information about which source you are citing, and we try to resolve that discrepancy (using the APA format rules) by including the title. Roderick: We were able to provide only a subset of the thousands of bibliography styles that exist today. We gathered data on the most frequently used styles and included these in Word 2007. Some of the "obscure referencing styles" you mentioned are not used frequently, if at all, in the U.S., but are extremely common in Europe and Asia. We've had many requests for the Harvard style (and several others) so we are well aware of the demand for it! Thanks for bringing it to our attention.
Wow, thanks Jen for getting back to me, I really appreciate it. Unfortunately it does not appear that your suggestion is the cause of my problem. It appears to occur with every source I use which is of type "book section". I would be delighted to send you my .docx for analysis. Let me know how I can do this.
I fully agree with your comments on the previous article. Because of issues with the Compatibility Pack I would recommend really nobody to use docx format or Office-2007 features when users of previous Office versions still edit their documents. Especially with Word 2000 there are currently too many unfixed issues in the Compatibility Pack - making it almost useless for a roll-out scenario since the docx may become really disturbed by the conversion (wrong fonts, wrong heading number formats and probably some more) However there might be an solution to put any new documents to compatibility mode:
Create a DWORD "CompatMode" and set it to 1 at
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Word\Options But beware: I can't find any official information from Microsoft about this key - so no warranties by me of any kind if nothing or even undesired things happen - it just seems to work here. @Word Team: Could you please make the key officially documented - best place for that would be IMHO the ORK documentation...
DCE: Thanks for the clarification! No need to send the document; I'm able to repro this bug on my own. For the time being, your work-around (using suppress title) will do the trick.
Jonathan, thank you for pointing out the documentation! I just want to give you information there are more things that CAN be added in compatibility mode that are not available in older Word versions / doc format:
- Alignment Tabs in Headers/Footers: create a page with portrait layout and another one in a new section with landscape layout and give them the same footer with right alignment tabs in compatibility mode: you won't see the right tab-aligned text on the portrait page when opening the doc in Word 2000. However you are warned when saving...
- Content Controls (can be added in Compatibility Mode, too, however you get a warning when saving as doc) Stefan
Well here's some more bug which I guess has to do with Compatibility Mode / Default File Save Format: I've put my Word to compatibility mode and selected as default save format ".doc". However I worked in a .docm when Word 2007 suddenly crashed. After crashing it tried to recover the .docm. However it recovered the .docm in "compatibility mode"!! I just recognized this when I already had pressed the Save-Button. When I tried to reopen the .docm it was not readable. I renamed the .docm to .doc and it was readable again but of course all Word 2007 features used in the .docm where gone, so I had to restore an older version.
Another one not to publish but to pass on to Jen, please: I have just discovered that the bug is not present if one adds the source one wishes to cite by using 'insert citation' > 'Add new source' > 'Book section'. C'est bizarre. But I appreciate your looking into this. Presume it will be fixed in an Office update - perhaps along with adding Harvard? ;-)
Sorry for asking about something that's beyond the scope of this blog. But I have an urgent question about the ribbon. In Office 2007 software, some versions show the Table of Authorities group in the References tab, and in other versions the References tab just ends with the Index group. I want to know which one is the most recent. Some Word 2007 courseware books mention the Table of Authorities group as part of the Ribbon and others don't. Is it a dated property? Thanks a lot
the Table of Authorities is part of the References tab in Word 2007.