Recognizing that not everyone has updated to 2013, here are some tips for Office 2010 users. These tips grew out of the Office 2010 soil, but they can also be watered for buds of insight in 2013 as well.
Just what kind of Flowering Genius are we promoting? From the Clipboard, to resurrecting Recent Apps, to conquering the Ribbon-Mouse nepotism, to going Backstage. Yes, MS Office has a Backstage! And it’s all right here. Enjoy improving your skills.
Here’s a tip that applies to all the major Office apps. The standard Windows clipboard holds only one item at a time. You can install clipboard extenders, but Office allows you to use the Office Clipboard, which holds up to 24 items at a time. Go to the Home tab, find the Clipboard panel at the far left and click on the dialog launcher (the diagonal arrow at the lower right of the panel). The Office Clipboard pane opens and anything you copy to the clipboard gets saved in the pane. You can select any item, right-click on it, and select Paste or Delete. .A helpful option (Options at bottom of Clipboard pane) is to set the Keyboard shortcut Ctrl+C+C (twice) to open the Clipboard pane.
The Ribbon contains the set of commands for working in a document, while the Microsoft Office Backstage view is the set of commands you use to do things to a document. Open a document, and click the File tab to see the Backstage view. The Backstage view is where you manage your documents and related data about them — create, save, and send documents, inspect documents for hidden metadata or personal information, set options such as turning on or off AutoComplete suggestions, and more. To return to the Home view, simply use the Esc button. Microsoft has prepared a special introduction to Backstage online which gives full information with illustration.
In older versions of Office, the File menu always displayed your recently-used documents, which you could open by typing Alt-F1, then the number of the document on the list (1 for the most recent, 2 for next most recent, etc.). This feature isn’t turned on by default in Office 2010, but you can activate it by entering the Backstage view, selecting Recent, and adding a checkbox next to “Quickly access this number of recent documents.” Change the number to whatever number of documents you want to see on the list. In the Recent Documents list, you can “pin” a document to the list so that it will always appear, even if you haven’t opened it recently. A nifty new feature lets you “pin” entire folders to the list of Recent Places in the right-hand column on the menu. In Office 2013 the Recent feature is combined by default with the Open command.
Keyboard vs. Mouse
The Ribbon interface for Office looks as if it’s designed for the mouse, but you can fight carpal tunnel syndrome and other wrist problems by using the keyboard instead. Tapping the Alt key causes boxed letters to appear on all the Ribbon’s tabs, and boxed numbers to appear on the Quick Access. For example, type “H” and the Home tab opens, complete with boxed letters (and a few sequences of two letters like FN and PG) that you can press to access all the features on the tab. Galleries—like the gallery of styles on the Home tab—have letters located on the scroll bar to their right. You can type “L” for Styles on the Home tab, and tap the appropriate letter to open the gallery, so you can navigate it with the arrow keys. Type Alt again to exit this mode when you’re done.
Customize the Ribbon
Office finally lets you rearrange the Ribbon the way you want by clicking the File tab to go to Backstage, selecting Options, and then Customize Ribbon. In the right-hand column, you can create a new tab or a new group on an existing tab, remove or rearrange items already on the Ribbon by selecting them in the right-hand column, or select items that you want to add from the list on the left. Long-term Office users may want to use the “Commands not on the ribbon,” function because you can now add a command that you used in older versions of Word that nixed from the Ribbon due to lack of demand. Note: A button the lower right lets you export your customizations to other Office setups.
In Office 2007, if you tried to open a document created in very old versions of Office—as far back as Word 95 or Excel 4.0 or earlier—Office 2007 displayed an error message and refused to open it (Microsoft decided that old documents posed a security risk). Office 2010, fortunately, makes it easy to override those blocks. In Word or Excel, go to File, Options, Trust Center, click Trust Center Settings, then select File Block Settings, and remove the checkmarks from the older Office files that you want Office 2010 to open.