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One of the Pillars of the Word 2010 vision outlined in Scott's post on Framing the Release was "Polished User Experiences". This pillar represents a desire to dramatically improve a set of scenarios that define Word's core user experiences in terms of polish, ease of use, and responsiveness – basically, setting and holding a high bar for user experience excellence. Work that we did in support of this part of the vision isn't necessarily all new features, but is rather about looking at the experience of performing some common types of activities in Word, and evaluating not just whether you can be successful, but is the experience a good one – does is feel polished and seamless.
One such core scenario is working with long or structured documents, and the simple tasks of reading and moving around in the document, searching for content, or manipulating the outline and headings. Word 2007 and other previous versions of the product had a variety of relevant features or tools available, some of which date back many releases – in particular document map, find, and browse objects. The new Navigation Pane is an attempt to bring these features together in a fresh, cohesive and polished experience.
One of the new pieces of functionality you'll find in Word 2010 is something we call the "Navigation Pane". This pane hosts a set of related features for getting around in your document, searching for content, and manipulating the structure and organization of headings. Essentially, this task pane replaces and improves upon the old "Document Map" and "Thumbnails" panes, as well as integrating Find and even some aspects of the little known Object Browser.
By default, the pane is docked on the left (as shown above), but can be moved to the right, or even floated independent of the document window. You can show or hide the pane on the View tab of the ribbon.
The primary bits of the navigation pane are called out in the following figure, and then described in more detail in turn.
The headings view of the navigation pane, shown below, is the updated replacement for the document map. It is basically a series of nested "tabs", each of which corresponds to a heading in the document.
There is a wealth of functionality available here…
Clicking on the "Browse the pages in your document" tab gives you a view of all the pages in the doc. This is very similar to the thumbnails pane in previous versions of Word.
Clicking a page's thumbnail takes you to that page in the document, as always.
There are really only two big improvements in this part of the pane, when compared with the existing one:
Finally, the navigation pane hosts a search results list, as shown below.
This list contains and item for each of the matches in your document. In the example above, you can see I searched for "navigation", and it found 3 instances of the term, each of which is represented by a clickable item in the list, with a brief snippet of the surrounding text to give a bit of context. Clearly I took that screenshot early in the authoring process for this post, because there are now over a dozen hits, and I'm still writing… J
Clicking an item takes you to that location in the document.
In my next post, I'll discuss the new find experience in more detail.
Well I think that's about it for the basics of the new navigation pane. Based on early feedback, I'm pretty confident it is going to be useful for a great number of customers, in a variety of scenarios. There's a lot of room for additions in the future, but I think this is a super solid start that enables a lot of functionality.
There are a number of design decisions we made along the way, and I'd be interested in whether any of them will pose any problems for you. For example, as you can see in the images of the navigation pane, each heading takes up more vertical pixels than the old document map entries did. They're way more useful, but it's undeniable that you see fewer headings at a time without having to scroll the list. Similarly, you could configure the look of the old document map items by tweaking the doc map style, but now each heading is essentially a UI control, and so uses the default UI font. This also means that you don't see things like tracked changes or other formatting within the text of a heading as displayed on the heading tab. We also don't guess about things you might have intended to be headings, such as lines of text in bold or all caps – we strictly pay attention only to content with an explicitly applied outline level (unlike the old doc map, which would use autoformatting logic to add those levels). I do think we've found the sweet spot on all of these issues, but would be interested in feedback if you feel strongly to the contrary.
Thanks for reading, any comments or questions are welcome!
--Scott Walker, Lead Program Manager, Microsoft Word
I second npetrikov's questions. I need to make a lot of quick quick searches in my documents and would like to know of a new shortcut to bring up the Find, Replace, Go to window.
Ctrl H displays the 2003 Find/Replace dialog box.
Navigation Pane Tip: Redisplay your most recent search by pressing the ESC and Ctrl F keys.
** Wish List for Future Extensibility:
- Delete Page Via Thumbnail
- Toggle Previous Searches In the Search Box
I have just recently discovered the Navigation Pane in Word 2010, and I am really enjoying it. However, the Headings that I would like to use to generate Navigation links are embedded in tables (for visual formatting purposes), and I've noticed that text inside a table does not do this even when set in a Heading style.
I can understand the inherent problems with the drag-and-drop organizational functionality interacting with Heading text inside tables, but is there any way for me to create these links without having to take the Heading text outside of my tables and doing some formatting acrobatics to emulate the visual design I had before?
I'm joining this conversation late in the game. But I have been desperately trying to find out how to set the navigation pane so that, by default, it shows the search results tab. It's the search function that I use constantly in my translation work, e.g., to check on how I've handled a term earlier in the document, but as it is, every time I search I have to mouse up to and select that tab to see the results. Well, I won't say every time. It's because sometimes the navigation pane has stayed on the search results tab that I think there must be something I can do to have that tab selected by default.
As it intrudes upon the normal find command (control-F), I do not hold the Microsoft Word navigation bar to be that helpful. Additionally, it compromises the record macro feature of MS Word. Is there not any way to turn off the navigation feature?
Why does it show lots of figures and tables in my nevigation show pane? It is so wierd and boring.