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Linenberger, January 12, 2007
What's New in Microsoft Office
There are three main areas of change I want to cover in this newsletter:
Read on for these topics. And also look below for links into my longer article with more details and additional topics.
Microsoft Office Command "Ribbon"
The entire suite of products in Office 2007 has been redesigned to use a command "ribbon," instead of the menu and toolbar combination in use for decades. This is the most discussed change by far in the press. While ribbons take getting used to, I really like them. I think many of us were getting overwhelmed by the long menus and enormous stacks of toolbars being added to Office applications. What ribbons do is organize all the commands that previously resided in those tools into a much more logical and compact user interface. There is a lot of power in these ribbons. They allow you to start with simple controls at the surface, and then step into more complex controls, and they do that very effectively. Below is a sample of the ribbon at the top of a new Outlook e-mail item.
Outlook 2007’s To-Do Bar and Flagged-Mail Tasks
As you may know, I am a big advocate of using tasks in Outlook. The first big news on task features with Outlook 2007 is the arrival of the new To-Do Bar. The To-Do Bar in 2007 is essentially a replacement to the TaskPad used in previous versions of Outlook. If you are a TWC system user, then you know that the older TaskPad, which sits to the right of the appointment calendar in previous versions, is the key view for our daily tasks. The new To-Do Bar continues that tradition, but the new To-Do Bar also introduces some new task behavior compared to the TaskPad, new behavior I am very excited about.
But before you get too excited note that these new “tasks” are not equal citizens with true Outlook tasks, and so for experienced TWC users this new feature will present a challenge; you will need to figure out how to fit them into your system. The linked article below expands on that, and shows how to configure the To-Do Bar for the TWC system.
New Daily Tasks lists under the Calendar view
There is another totally new Task display underneath the calendar column in the Calendar folder view. And the formal name for this task display is interestingly “Daily Tasks," which is the same name we use in TWC for the list we manage daily. Unfortunately, this list is not designed in a way that supports TWC daily tasks well. But there is still some usefulness here. Let me explain.
E-mail News: New Emphasis on Categories in 2007
You will now find a huge new emphasis on Outlook Categories in this version. This is true in both tasks and e-mail. As you know I am not a fan of using categories on tasks in Outlook, but if you have read my book you know I am a very strong advocate of using Outlook Categories as a core method for filing e-mail. So I am delighted to see this new emphasis on categories in Outlook 2007. If you use categories for filing, I think you'll find the enhancements very useful. Here are some of the ways these category enhancements are implemented.
First of all, Microsoft has added a Categories column to the default e-mail Messages view in Outlook (see right side of figure below)
You may recall that adding that column manually was one of the first e-mail configuration recommendations in my book, so Microsoft is catching on. But they've gone even further and added a color coding scheme that associates a color with each category in the category list. This does two things for you. It makes it easier to delineate categories at a glance. On small screens you may even be able to set the column width narrow in the list view and still make sense of the categories. It also make it easier to display multiple category assignments, since a colored square take much less space than written text.
They've also added a quicker way to choose categories. Previously, four steps were needed to assign a category to an e-mail. In Outlook 2007 it now takes only two steps: right click within the category column and then select the category from the context menu. And it can take as little as one step (just one click) for the default category. There are some caveats though and they are explained in the linked article.
And finally, if you are like me and prefer to use bulk full-text searches rather than filing mail by topic, Microsoft has added a true fast search engine that makes searching for e-mails within Outlook truly practical.
Linked Article has Much More Detail, and Transition Instructions
To thoroughly cover these topics requires way more information than can be covered in an e-mail newsletter. I recommend if you are a TWC user converting to Outlook 2007 that you read my entire article, which can be found at www.workdaycontrol.com/TransitionTo2007.htm. Later in the year I'll release a new edition of the book that includes all of this, and even more. But in the mean time, using the current book and this article will give you all you need to be productive in Outlook 2007.
Here are the main topics in that article, topics you will need to learn to make the transition. The titles of each topic link you to sections within the main article.
I think you'll find Outlook 2007 to be a
valuable and worthwhile upgrade to the earlier versions, especially
for TWC users. The new features are great improvements and make
Outlook even better for use with the TWC system. With Outlook 2007
and TWC, you should be able to get your e-mail and tasks totally
under control. Making the conversion will take a bit of effort
though, so read through the article linked above and then dive in.
Workshops and Training on
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