Welcome to MSDN Blogs Sign in | Join | Help

We've set up a new Word team blog. If you are interested in all things Word, then this will be the place to hang out. Our PMs have some great posts and cool video demos waiting for you. Please check it out.

And for those of you who are wondering if I'll ever turn in to a dedicated blogger, feel free to remain subscribed to this blog. You never no what might happen.

The Microsoft Word team needs your help!

As many of you know, we have changed the look of the default document in Microsoft Word 2007. Today we are interested in collecting insight and perceptions of the new default fonts in Word.

Please take our survey, it won't take more than 5 minutes to complete. Only those of you who have installed and used Office 2007 Beta 2 need apply.

Click here to participate

This feedback is important and meaningful as we gain insight into the usage of Office 2007. Thanks for your help!

Jennifer Michelstein is a program manager on the Microsoft Office Word team who focuses on academic features. She came to Microsoft after receiving a degree in Electrical Engineering from Yale University.

I joined the Word team immediately after graduating from college. At the time, we were early in the planning phases of Office 2007, and I was eager to start working on features that would have saved me countless hours as a student! Two features in particular came to mind: equations and citations/bibliographies.

I'll start out by talking about Word's new citations & bibliography tools; stay tuned for future posts on equations!

Customer Research

Creating this feature involved a lot of customer visits. Though as an undergrad I had written countless papers, I had only my personal experiences to dwell upon. I needed a deeper understanding of the software needs of different sets of users (undergrads in the first few years of college, undergrads preparing senior theses/dissertations, grad students, professors, and researchers), in a variety of disciplines.

Our usability engineer, development lead, and I spent hours interviewing people in the groups described above, watching them cite sources and create bibliographies, and listening them rave and complain about the benefits and shortcomings of their current tools. We visited public libraries to look at bibliographies in published works. We sat on university library floors as we examined bibliographies in departmental dissertations. After we developed prototypes, we later returned to the same customers we initially interviewed, to gather more feedback and discover our own shortcomings.

Many months later, we had something to show to the public. Below, I'll walk through the bibliography feature; in future posts I'll talk more about how we came to design decisions, and how feedback from our target audience helped this feature evolve.

Creating Citations and a Bibliography

In order to produce citations and bibliographies, Word first needs bibliographic data about each source. There are three methods of importing this data, explained below.

Creating a New Source

To enable creation of a source from scratch, we've created a form with blank fields in which users can enter data.

This dialog provides the appropriate fields for any given type of source (for example, book, book section, journal article, report, etc.). This form, of course, takes some effort to complete, so we've provided alternate methods of giving this data to Word.

Reusing Existing Sources

Once a source is created, it lives in two places: your Master List and your Current List. The Master List is the database of all sources ever created. The Current List includes all of the sources that will be used in the current document.

The purpose of the Master List is to save you from re-typing and re-entering information about sources that you commonly use. For example, if you are a Shakespeare scholar and always cite the same five Shakespearean references, you can just select these sources in your Master List and click Copy to add them to your Current List. Now you can cite them throughout your document.

Sharing Sources

You're not limited to reusing sources from your own history of sources used; you can also share sources with any other bibliography writer. Suppose you have a list of 100 sources and your colleague has a different set of 100 sources. Rather than you typing all of his/her sources manually, you might set up a common share in which your Master Lists live, or you can exchange Master Lists through email. In another scenario, your university department might host its entire library collection in a shared location. Click the Browse button to launch the shell window to locate a new Master List. Once that Master List is opened, you can copy sources from it to your current list, or edit sources that are in it.

Searching for Sources

Finally, Word provides the ability to search an external library through the Research and Reference pane, introduced in Word 2003. We've created a platform for any library to host a service that sends bibliographic data to Word. This means that instead of ever filling out the Create New Source form, you can search external collections for data and import it with one click.

Documentation Styles

One of the biggest complaints we've heard from the users with whom we've spoken is the amount of time it takes to format a bibliography. When I was a student, my least favorite part of writing papers was spending hours poring over documentation manuals, and making sure to underline the right thing, italicize the right thing, use a comma instead of a period, etc. In our customer research, we've talked to student after student who mentioned losing a few points for formatting a bibliography incorrectly. So, we've tried to make it simple.

In the Citations & Bibliography chunk of the References ribbon, you can select the documentation style you want to use. By default, we ship a set of commonly-used international formats:

With one click, you can format all of the references in your document in a certain style. Note that at any point during the authoring/editing process you can choose a new documentation style, and your citations and bibliography will be automatically updated to reflect the new style. This means that you can, with one click, repurpose documents to be submitted to a number of publications requiring different reference standards.

For more information on documentation styles, see the Extensibility section below.

Inserting Citations

On the References ribbon, you'll see an Insert Citation button. This command launches a gallery containing all of the sources in your Current List. Any of these sources can be inserted anywhere into the document, and the citation will be formatted according to your documentation style. You can right-click on the citation, or launch the acetate menu, to add or suppress information from it. For example, you may want to add the page number from which a quotation was taken to a citation.

 

 

 

 

Also on the Insert Citation menu is the ability to create a placeholder citation. On some of our customer visits, we met writers who prefer to annotate in their document places where bibliographic information needs to be inserted at a later time. Placeholder citations are not included in the bibliography until more information is added to the source: you can later add information to the source by opening the Source Manager, selecting the placeholder source, and clicking Edit. After editing the fields, the placeholder citations will automatically be updated to reflect the new information.

Inserting a Bibliography

Click the Insert Bibliography button on the ribbon, and voila! You'll insert a bibliography containing all of the sources in your document, formatted according to your active documentation style! No more revisiting the documentation manual to figure out if you've applied all of the formatting correctly. Word 2007 will do this for you! We've created a gallery with some common bibliography layouts, for enhanced appearance.

Works Cited vs. Works Consulted

It's important to understand the distinction between bibliographies that are "works cited" instead of "works consulted" lists. Works cited lists contain only the sources actually cited in the document. Works consulted lists contain all sources that were used to help the author formulate his/her ideas, whether or not the sources were actually cited the author in the document.

By default, Word creates "works consulted" lists. That is, every item in your Current List (see the Source Manager dialog box) will be included in your bibliography. However, we've made it easy to perform some clean-up of your bibliography.

In the Source Manager, under Current List, some items have checkmarks to their left. These items have all been cited in the document. Items without checkmarks should be deleted in order to create a "works cited" list.

Including sources in the bibliography that have not been cited is analogous to using the "nocite" command in BibTeX.

Since placeholder citations are incomplete, they are not included in the bibliography. We call them out by placing a question mark to their left (see the Shakespeare source above). As soon as more information is added to this source, it is no longer considered a placeholder, and it will be included in the bibliography.

Extensibility

Everything about the bibliography feature is designed for sharing and extensibility. Sources are saved as XML, and documentation styles are XSLTs.

Any valid XSLT in C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OFFICE12\1033\Bibliography\Style can be used within Word to format a bibliography. This means that a university, publication, or XSLT author can create custom documentation styles for use within Word. We recommend using the MLA file in the above share as a template for creating new styles.

Day 2 seems to be off to a better start than yesterday. Dave Winer talked a little about how users (I hate that term) design successful technology. Nothing astounding, but Dave was hopeful and encouraging. This was unlike Marc Canter and Steve Gillmor yesterday who came off as bitter and angry. I like hopeful ex-hippies more than angry ones.

Pud Kaplan (formerly of F*****.com) talked about things I can't even remember now. Hmmm. It is amazing how little of what has been said so far sticks.

Chris Messina and Tara Hunt talked about keeping things simple. The started with a silent and very idealistic slide show. To be clear, it was idealistic in the best way. I loved their message that success is not necessarily millions of customers and an IPO.

Ethan Kaplan, director of technology at Warner Bros. Records, is talking about music, fans and community. Interesting, but not super compelling. Got a lot more interesting when the audience got involved in the discussion.

Kalia was nominated to fill some open time and talked about open communities and the need for better tools to help existing and emerging organizations.

Second Life was demoed by former Microsoftie Beth Goza. This is a very cool product/world. It reminds me, in a strange way, of Microsoft 3D Movie Maker which my two boys loved to use when they were 12 or so. Of course, Second Life is much more than 3DMM. It is a full virtual world in which you can create, live and relate.

Halley Suitt, CEO of Top Ten Sites & Stylefeeder, talked about the "creative leader." She asked a question of the audience:

How do you create a good environment for your developers?

  • My favorite answer was from Werner Vogel, "Don't create anything larger than two pizza teams." If you need more than two pizzas to feed the team, then the team is too big.
  • Hire great people
  • Give them the opportunity to learn
  • Let them do what they do best
  • Don't make management the only career path for your developers

Blake Ross, co-found of the Firefox project, spoke on how did they popularized the Firefox browser. The audience seemed to want to focus on where Firefox is going. Dave Winer tried to make a good point and then fell into his cranky zone. Steve Gillmor joined him. Too bad that you couldn't pay attention to their points due to their delivery.

Jeremy Zawodny from Yahoo used his session to provide an open bitch session (that's what bloggers are best at) about social software on the web. These things really never go as the discussion leader plans. The discussion is really focused on who our customers are and how we can focus on their needs. We shouldn't be focused exclusively on hip, young tech aficionados. What about older people, people in other cultures, people in other locations, people of other languages.

PT is here doing his thing. If you are a geek and you haven't heard PT or seen Make magazine you are really missing out. Today he asked the question, "What 'open source' hardware projects should be done. The audience had a few interesting ideas, but they were pretty undeveloped. High on PT's list was water projects (new sources for water and water purification). This is a huge issue for the developing world. Water is becoming the new scarce resource for this century.

Chris Pirillo is now giving a pitch for TagJag an idea for making egosurfing ㇞璘˷ቷኂeasier. I think it is essentially a search aggregator. He's got three members of a VC firm on stage (Rick Segal & two others) and after a 15 minute pitch they are going to tell him whether they will fund the project. He's not making a great pitch. Too much time spent talking about the history of the idea, different name ideas, blah, blah, blah. Not enough focus on the key questions:

  • Why would I use it? (Why should I care?)
  • How will it become a business? (ads I assume)

The pitch is hugely geeky, but it was passionate. He clearly should have planned out the presentation and practiced more.

The feedback from the VCs:

  • Slow down the pitch
  • Needed to hear about why you need funding vs. bootstrapping the idea without funding
  • What do you want to achieve? What one thing do you want to do well?
  • Why are you the best person to lead the company?
  • Why are you better than Wink?
  • Need a clearer expression of your vision

Nice feedback from the crowd. Lots of love for Chris. My take is that it is an interesting idea that is pretty raw.

The MindJet folks have been live outlining the conference via a screen on the side of the stage. You can download the files from the MindJet blog. It would have been cool if the OneNote team (blogs here, here, here and here) had handed out OneNote trials and run a shared session. Of course, this wouldn't have worked for the many Mac users.

You know it is a strange conference when Dave Dederer, non-touring member of Presidents of the United States of America, is on stage just before Senator John Edwards.

Dave is talking about how he's no longer in the music business but is now in the ecommerce business. Interesting ideas:

  • Most artist are in the business of marketing to skinny tails
  • IODA, Promonet
  • Endgame: Everyone can be a store, everyone can distribute
  • Marc Canter is calling iTunes (Apple) nasty names. His view is that iTunes is essentially another big music company that wants to screw the artist.
  • Online music space is at ½ percent of potential
  • For any CD there is 100 hrs of recordings. The net provides a vehicle for more of that to get distributed. (b-sides, remixes, etc.)

Werner Vogels is the CTO for Amazon.com. This session is quite interesting. My favorite bit was the following statement (not word for word):

There is no network neutrality now. The goal is network neutrality. Many use the term network neutrality when they are really talking about opposing "network discrimination".

Chris introduced John Edwards by begging the audience to be nice. This could be interesting.

The Senator says he came to listen, not to make a speech. So, Marc Canter is taking him up on it. Marc is very focused on cojones today. Marc described himself as a 3rd generation "red diaper" baby (meaning he, his parents and his grandparents are communists). He wants a democrat who is willing to take a stand on important issue and not waffle. Lot's of random political statements and questions follow.

Chris is trying to get people to focus on tech issues:

  • Concerns about spying and privacy issues
  • Concerns about net neutrality
  • What are the big changes coming in politics (it was blogs in the last election, maybe)

The Senator's web site has a lot of very interesting stuff. He's a very attractive and appealing person. It will be interesting to watch him.

You know it is a strange conference when Dave Dederer, non-touring member of Presidents of the United States of America, is on stage just before Senator John Edwards.

Dave is talking about how he's no longer in the music business but is now in the ecommerce business. Interesting ideas:

  • Most artist are in the business of marketing to skinny tails
  • IODA, Promonet
  • Endgame: Everyone can be a store, everyone can distribute
  • Marc Cantor is calling iTunes (Apple) nasty names. His view is that iTunes is essentially another big music company that wants to screw the artist.
  • Online music space is at ½ percent of potential
  • For any CD there is 100 hrs of recordings. The net provides a vehicle for more of that to get distributed. (b-sides, remixes, etc.)

Attending Gnomedex for the second year in a row. Guess that really labels me as a geek.

A nice complement from Guy Kawasaki on the blog feature in Word 2007. I was a pretty hardcore Mac user from 1986 - 1994 and always thought that Guy did an amazing job evangelizing the Mac platform.

"And speaking of Microsoft, I tried using Word in Office 2007 running under Parallels. It’s pretty good as a blogging tool that combines editing and posting. Definitely something to try if you’re stuck in the other world."

By Stuart J Stuple

One of the things that I love about Word 2007 is that many existing features are becoming easier to find and easier to use. The thing I find most challenging about my job and the particular areas in which I work is that if features are designed and implemented well, they fade into the background. A good example of that (which I can’t take credit for) is the spelling autocorrect, which silently corrects simple typing mistakes such as “teh” or “adn.”

For the most part, copying and pasting text from one place to another works like that. You never notice when it gets it right. But, pasting content really isn’t simple as anyone who has ever looked at the variety of options available under the Paste Special command has probably realized. In cases like this, our goal is to figure out the outcome that is usually desired and make that the default. From there, we may do work to make sure that the most common alternatives are easy to find.

And with pasting, that’s where noticing a feature that was introduced a few versions ago comes in handy. Every time that you paste in Word, an icon appears at the lower left edge of the pasted content.

This little control unlocks a world of options that makes pasting content with the “right” formatting for the particular situation a simpler task. When you click on the control (or press Shift+F10), a menu of alternative ways of pasting that content is displayed.

The choices that are available on this menu depend upon the type of content being pasted. For most content, the “Keep Text Only” option is always available and is useful for removing any formatting and using the formatting where you are pasting. Matching Destination Formatting is very similar to Keep Text Only but some emphasis (such as bold or italic) is preserved.

Pasting with style

With Word styles, an additional option may become available when copying from one document to another and when the styles that you using are defined differently in the two documents. In that case, we offer one additional choice—continue to use the styles but update the look to match where you are pasting—and that becomes the default. Keep Source Formatting is still available as an option and does the same thing it does normally—preserves the look of the source, removing style definitions as necessary. Note that if the style you are copying is not used in the document into which you are pasting, we go ahead just copy that style definition into the document as part of Keep Source Formatting.

With improvements to both Excel and PowerPoint this version, it is possible to create tables in those applications that include graphic effects that cannot be created in Word. Because of that, the choices on the paste option menu have been updated to include the ability to include a picture of the table. (Don’t worry; we’re planning to do the work to let you do the same sort of effects in Word but that’s going to be in a future version.)

Changing your defaults

Word 2007 now allows you to decide what the default paste option should be for the three most types of pasted content—general text coming from another application, text pasted from Word where there is no style conflict (the most common case), and text pasted from one Word document to another where there is a style conflict. You can use the Set Default Paste command to navigate to these options on the Advanced tab of the Word Options dialog.

One other change that has happened with paste is how we handle pasting headings or other content into the middle of an existing paragraph. In most cases, if you have included the paragraph mark at the end of a selection, then when you paste we also insert a paragraph mark before the pasted content. This means that if you paste a heading into the middle of a paragraph, we split the paragraph into two sections and add the heading between the two. If that’s not what you want, then you can move to the start of the pasted text and press the backspace key. So far, hardly anyone has noticed and that’s the greatest praise for most of our features.

Zeyad has posted more information on the XHTML output from Word's new blog feature: Word XHTML - Mapping styles to semantics. Please read and comment. Thanks.

By Stuart J Stuple

Mastering Word isn’t about understanding the architecture or the intent of the designers; it’s about finding the features and shortcuts that make your day-to-day job easier.

Copy just the formatting

Almost everyone knows how to copy and paste text to re-use the same boilerplate in more than one document. But did you know you can do the same thing with formatting? The Format Painter is located on the Home tab, it's that little paintbrush icon. When you click the Format Painter, Word copies the formatting of from the start of your selection and the cursor changes to a paintbrush. Now, wherever you click in your document, that same formatting will be applied. Whether your selection will just be text formatting or both text and paragraph formatting depends on what is included in the selection. And if you want to keep pasting the same formatting, you can double-click the Format Painter button to make it “sticky.” When you're finished "painting" just press Escape to release the painter.

Move from one spelling errors to another without using the dialog

Many people do a final edit of their document, checking each unrecognized word to see if it needs to be correct. There’s nothing wrong with opening the Spelling dialog to do this but you can accomplish the same text by clicking on the spelling icon in the status bar. At each unrecognized word, it displays the context menu with suggestions for you.

Change the formatting of an entire list

When you click on a number or bullet for a list, the entire list is selected. You can then apply text formatting for just that list without changing the paragraph formatting. You can also change the type of numbering or bullets used by selecting from the gallery associated with the bullet or numbering button.

Save a set of formatting as a style

Format Painter provides a convenient way of copy formatting from one spot to another but you can also store formatting for later use. Simply select the text that has the formatting that you want, right-click, and select Save Selection as New Quick Style. Once you give your new Quick Style a name, it will appear in the Style gallery on the Home tab.

Repeat an action

If you’ve just gotten through performing a complex task with a dialog and find yourself needing to do the same task again, you can click the Repeat button next to the Undo button or press Ctrl+Y.

Move between objects by clicking

At the lower right side of the window (just below the scroll bar) is the “Object Browser,” which consists of three buttons--a selection menu and a pair of Previous and Next arrows. One use of the Previous/Next arrows is after you’ve search for something using Find. When you close the Find dialog, the arrows are blue, indicating that you have a stored search. You can just click on the arrows to repeat the Find in the indicated direction. You can also use the “middle” button to select the type of object to browse. You can select to move among pictures, pages, headings, or any of a dozen object types.

Scale the text in your document

If you’re struggling to get text to fit in a certain number of pages, the first thing you’ll probably try is adjusting the margins on the Page Setup tab. But if that still doesn’t give you enough room you can select all of your text and use the Shrink Font button to reduce all of the text in your document--text at different sizes reduces proportionally so that your headings remain larger than the rest of your text. And you can squeeze just a portion of your document if you prefer; the command works on any selection.

Change the formatting of the standard paragraph

When you start a new document, Word makes some assumptions about the spacing of the typical paragraph (in Word 2007, it puts a bit of space between lines and almost a 1/6th of an inch of space between paragraphs). If you don’t like that spacing, you can make changes to any sample paragraph and then right-click on the “Normal” Quick Style and select “Update Normal to Match Selection.” Any existing paragraphs in your document and any new ones you create will use this formatting.

Show or hide the gridlines for tables

Tables in Word 2007 do not display the dividing lines between cells by default. These lines are called gridlines and show the borders of each cell. But unlike “real” borders, they don’t print with your document. You can use the Show Gridlines command at the bottom of the Borders menu or on the Table Layout tab to control whether or not these lines are showing.

Templates are a convenient way to store the starting point for a document

Most of us have documents that contain boilerplate text that we frequently need to reuse. And most of us who have a standard document that we use as a starting point have made the mistake of saving over the original of that document. If you have a document that you frequently use as a starting point for other documents, save a copy of it as a Template (DOTX) on your desktop. Then, when you double-click on that template, a copy of the document will be opened—no risk of ever saving over the original.

Zeyad has more details on the XHTML output of the blog feature. His latest post focuses on compliance and styles. Give it a read and add your thoughts via comments.

I didn't mean to disappear. Last weekend's long break for Memorial Day broke my stride. I had a wonderful weekend by the way. My two older sons took me to the Sasquatch Festival on Sunday as an early Father's Day present. The day before the crowds were pelted with rain and hail, but we had nice partly cloudy skies. It was a great day of music with Matisyahu, The Decemberists, Death Cab, the amazing Jamie Liddel and more.

What does this have to do with Word? Absolutely nothing. Now that I got that out of my system we can get back to business.

More Posts Next page »