Microsoft Word 2010 is the second new version of Word since Word 2003. The first was Word 2007. These recent new versions have brought many useful new features to the program along with important changes to the user interface that were designed to improve access to all of Word’s wide range of features.
This article provides an overview of changes in Microsoft Word since 2003. For a downloadable guide to these changes, see Migrating to Word 2010 from Word 2003.
What do you want to do?
Work more effectively and get more done
The new Office Fluent user interface in Word 2010 looks much different than the user interface in Word 2003. Menus and toolbars have been replaced by the Ribbon and the Backstage View. For those new to Word, the interface is very intuitive. For more experienced Word users, the interface requires some relearning. The benefit of the Office Fluent user interface is that it makes it easier to get more out of Microsoft Office applications so you can deliver better results faster.
For an interactive guide to help you use your knowledge of the old menus and toolbars, see Learn the Ribbon and Backstage view.
Use the Ribbon to find the commands you need
The new Ribbon, a component of the Office Fluent user interface, groups your tools by task, and the commands you use most frequently are close at hand. In Word 2010, you can even customize the Ribbon so that the commands you use often are all together.
Tabs are designed to be task-oriented.
Groups within each tab break a task into subtasks.
Command buttons in each group carry out a command or display a menu of commands.
The new, results-oriented Office Fluent user interface presents tools to you, in a clear and organized fashion, when you need them:
Save time and get more out of the powerful Word capabilities by selecting from galleries of predefined styles, table formats, list formats, graphical effects, and more.
The Fluent user interface eliminates the guesswork when you apply formatting to your document. The galleries of formatting choices give you a live visual preview of the formatting in your document before you commit to making a change.
You can use Office Labs Search Commands to quickly find commands in Word 2010.
Take charge of your document in the Backstage view
In the Microsoft Office Backstage view, you do everything to a file that you do not do in the file. The latest innovation in the Microsoft Office Fluent user interface and a companion feature to the Ribbon, the Backstage view is where you manage your files — creating, saving, inspecting for hidden metadata or personal information and setting options. You now preview and print your files from the Backstage view.
Find your way through long documents with the new Document Navigation pane and Search
In Word 2010, you can quickly find your way around long documents. You can easily reorganize your documents by dragging and dropping headings instead of copying and pasting. And you can find content by using incremental search, so you do not need to know exactly what you are searching for to find it.
For more information, see What's new in Word 2010.
Fine tune your text with OpenType features
Word 2010 provides support for advanced text-formatting features that include a range of ligature settings and your choice of stylistic sets and number forms. You can use these new features with many OpenType fonts to achieve that extra level of typographical polish.
Text with ligatures applied
For more information, see OpenType options in the Font dialog box.
For more information on other new content features, see What's new in Word 2010.
Add preformatted elements with just a few clicks
With Word 2010, you can use building blocks to add preformatted content to your documents. Building blocks can also help save you time by allowing you to recycle content that you frequently use.
When you are working on a document from a particular template type, such as a report, you can select from a gallery of preformatted cover pages, pull quotes, and headers and footers to make your document look more polished.
If you want to customize the preformatted content, or if your organization often uses the same piece of content, such as legal disclaimer text or customer contact information, you can create your own building blocks that you select from the gallery with a single click.
Communicate more effectively with high-impact graphics
New charting and diagramming features include three-dimensional shapes, transparency, drop shadows, and other effects.
Add artistic effects to your images
With Word 2010, you can now apply sophisticated “artistic” effects to your picture to make the picture look more like a sketch, drawing, or painting. It’s an easy way to enhance your images without using additional photo-editing programs.
Other graphic enhancements include:
Picture corrections allow you to fine-tune your images.
You can automatically remove unwanted portions of a picture, such as a background.
You can quickly capture screenshots to incorporate visual illustrations into your document.
For more information on working with pictures in Word 2010, see What's new in Word 2010.
Instantly apply a new look and feel to your documents
Styles allow you to quickly format major elements in your document, such as headings, titles, and subtitles. A style is a set of formatting characteristics, such as font name, size, color, paragraph alignment and spacing. When formatting is applied using styles, changing the formatting in long documents is made easier. For example, you can simply change a single heading style rather than having to change the formatting for every heading in your document.
Style definitions interact with style sets and theme settings to provide many combinations of cohesive, professional-looking designs. By using style sets and theme settings, you can quickly change the appearance of text, tables, and graphics throughout your document to match your preferred style or color scheme.
Add math equations
Inserting mathematical symbols and formulas in your documents has been made very easy in Word 2010. Simply go to the Insert tab and click Equation to choose from a gallery of built in equations. You use the Equation Tools contextual tab to edit the equation.
Easily avoid spelling errors
When you are writing a document for others to see, you certainly don’t want spelling errors to detract from your message or to undermine your professionalism. New features of the spelling checker make it easier for you to distribute your work with confidence.
The spelling checker was made more consistent across the Microsoft Office system programs in Office 2007. Examples of this change include:
Several spelling checker options are now global. If you change one of these options in one Office program, that option is also changed for all the other Office programs.
In addition to sharing the same custom dictionaries, all programs can manage them by using the same dialog box. For more information, see Use custom dictionaries to add words to the spelling checker.
The spelling checker can find and flag some contextual spelling errors. Have you ever typed a mistake similar to the following? I will see you their. In Word 2010 you can enable the Use contextual spelling option to get help with finding and fixing this type of mistake. This option is available when checking the spelling of document in English, German, or Spanish.
You can disable spelling and grammar checking for a document or for all documents that you create.
Work in Word anywhere
In Word 2010, you have the power and familiarity of Word everywhere you need it. You can view, navigate, and edit your Word documents from the browser and from your mobile phone without compromising your document’s richness.
Even when you’re away from Word, you can store your documents on a Web server and use the Word Web application to open the document in your browser. You’ll be able to view it and even make changes.
For more information, see Introduction to Word Web App.
Work with others with confidence
Word 2010 helps you to work with your colleagues more efficiently and securely. Multiple authors can be working on the same document at the same time right within Word. No more sending copies as an e-mail attachment. Or, if you do send out a draft of your document, Word 2010 can help you efficiently collect and manage their revisions and comments. When you are ready to publish the document, Word 2010 helps you ensure that any unresolved revisions and comments aren’t still lurking in the published document.
Work on the same document at the same time
In Word 2010, you can work together right within Word. You do not have to send with e-mail attachments or save draft documents with names such as TSP_final_2_FINAL.docx. Instead, you just open your document, and start to work. You can see who else is working with you, and where they are editing.
When you open a shared document, Word automatically caches it so that you can make changes to it offline, and then Word automatically syncs your changes when you come back online. When you must work away from the office, you no longer have to worry about saving local copies or manually merging your changes into the server document when you return to your office.
Multiple authors can edit a single document at the same time and stay in sync with each other’s changes. Authors can block access to document regions while they are working on them.
Find and remove hidden metadata and personal information in documents
Before you share your document with other people, you can use the Document Inspector to check the document for hidden metadata, personal information, or content that may be stored in the document. The Document Inspector can find and remove information like comments, versions, tracked changes, ink annotations, document properties, document management server information, hidden text, custom XML data, and information in headers and footers. The Document Inspector can help you ensure that the documents you share with other people do not contain any hidden personal information or any hidden content that your organization might not want distributed. Additionally, your organization can customize the Document Inspector to add checks for additional types of hidden content.
For more information, see Remove hidden data and personal information by inspecting documents.
Add a digital signature or signature line to your documents
You can help provide assurance as to the authenticity, integrity, and origin of your document by adding a digital signature to the document. In Word 2010, either you can add an invisible digital signature to a document, or you can insert a Microsoft Office Signature Line to capture a visible representation of a signature along with a digital signature.
The ability to capture digital signatures by using signature lines in Office documents makes it possible for organization to use paperless signing processes for documents like contracts or other agreements. Unlike signatures on paper, digital signatures provide a record of exactly what was signed, and they allow the signature to be verified in the future.
Convert your Word documents to PDF or XPS
Word 2010 supports exporting your file to the following formats:
Portable Document Format (PDF) PDF is a fixed-layout electronic file format that preserves document formatting and enables file sharing. The PDF format ensures that when the file is viewed online or printed, it retains exactly the format that you intended, and that data in the file cannot be easily changed. The PDF format is also useful for documents that will be reproduced by using commercial printing methods.
XML Paper Specification (XPS) XPS is an electronic file format that preserves document formatting and enables file sharing. The XPS format ensures that when the file is viewed online or printed, it retains exactly the format that you intended, and that data in the file cannot be easily changed.
For more information, see Save as PDF or XPS.
Identify and manage potentially risky documents
In Office 2010 when a file appears to be from a potentially risky location, such as the Internet, it is now opened in Protected View. Protected View will appear like any other read-only view. Protected View allows you to look over the contents of a document and make an informed decision before you choose to trust the file or not.
Prevent changes to a final version of a document
Before you share a final version of a document with other people, you can use the Mark as Final command to make the document read-only and communicate to other people that you are sharing a final version of the document. When a document is marked as final, it’s typing, editing commands, and proofing marks are disabled, and people who view the document cannot inadvertently change the document The Mark as Final command is not a security feature, however. Anyone can edit a document that is marked as final by turning off Mark as Final.
Go beyond documents
Now more than ever, when computers and files are interconnected, it pays to store documents in files that are slim, sturdy, and supportive of a wide variety of platforms. To meet this need, the 2010 Office release achieves a new stage in its evolution of XML support. The new XML-based file format enables Word 2010 files to be smaller, more robust, and deeply integrated with information systems and external data sources.
Reduce file sizes and improve corruption recovery
The new Word XML format is a compressed, segmented file format that offers a dramatic reduction in file size and helps ensure that damaged or corrupted files can be easily recovered.
To learn more about the benefits of the XML format, see Open XML Formats and file name extensions.
Connect your documents to business information
In your business, you create documents to communicate important business data. You can save time and reduce the risk of error by automating the process of this communication. Create dynamic smart documents that update themselves by using new document controls and data binding to connect to your back-end systems.
Manage document properties in the Document Information Panel
The Document Information Panel makes it easy to view and edit document properties while you work on your Word document. The Document Information Panel is displayed at the top of your document in Word. You can use the Document Information Panel to edit the document properties for a server document, the updated properties will be saved directly to the server.
For example, you may have a server that keeps track of a document’s editorial status. When you put the finishing touches on a document, you can open the Document Information Panel to change the document’s editorial status from Draft to Final. When you save the document back to the server, the change in editorial status is updated on the server.
If you store document templates in a library on a Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 server, the library might include custom properties that store information about the templates. For example, your organization may require you to categorize document in the library by filling in a Category property. By using the Document Information Panel, you can edit properties like this directly within the Word environment.
Avoid losing work
Microsoft Office 2010 provides improved tools for recovering your work in the event of a problem in Word 2010 or if you accidentally close the program without saving.
When setting up Microsoft Office 2010 you can give Microsoft Office permission to download a file that enables Microsoft to diagnose system problems. You can enable or disable this setting at any time in the Trust Center of any Microsoft Office program, and the changes apply to all Office programs. Microsoft Office Diagnostics replaces the following Microsoft Office 2003 features:
Detect and Repair
Microsoft Office Application Recovery
For more information, see Change Office Diagnostics settings.
Recover unsaved work
It is now easier to recover a Word document if you close your file without saving, or if you want to review or return to an earlier version of the file you’re already working in. As with Word 2003, enabling AutoRecover will save versions while you are working in your file at the interval you select.
Now, you can choose to keep the last autosaved version of a file in case you accidentally close that file without saving, so that you can easily restore it the next time that you open the file. Also, while you are working in your file, you can access a list of the autosaved files from the Microsoft Office Backstage view.
For more information on enabling AutoRecover, see Automatically save and recover Office files.
For more information on restoring autosaved versions of your document, see Recover your Office files.