An American Editor

October 12, 2010

From Sense to Sensibility: Transitioning from Word 2003 to Word 2010

As you are aware from previous articles (see, e.g., Transitioning in a Microsoft World: Toolbar Toggle, Why, Microsoft, Do You Insist On Torturing Me?, and Different Approaches for Different Folks: The Mechanics of Editing), I am trying to transition from Office 2003 (primarily Word and Excel) to Office 2010 for my business. (I am also transitioning from Windows 7 32-bit to Windows 7 64-bit, which is much easier than than the Office transition :).) I am pleased to announce that the transition is going better than I feared, even though it hasn’t been as problem- and fustration-free as I would have liked. I guess I have been spoiled by past Office transitions that have gone very smoothly.

As previous articles noted, helping me to make the transition was Toolbar Toggle, a very inexpensive add-in for Office/Word 2007 and 2010 that allowed me to continue to use Office 2003-style menus in Office 2010. But also helping were Microsoft articles created to help smooth the transition.

Three important links to Microsoft help make the transition from Office/Word 2003, which is menu driven, to Office/Word 2010, which is ribbon driven are these:

I stumbled upon the Learn Where document and from it found the other sources. As a menu-centric person, these have become invaluable. (For those of you using or transitioning to Office 2007 rather than Office 2010, see Guides to the Ribbon: Use Office 2003 Menus to Learn the Office 2007 User Interface.)

The combined help of Toolbar Toggle and the Microsoft documents has made my transition much smoother and easier, to the point that I am now using Office 2010 without Toolbar Toggle, and am doing so without angst. Yet, I have discovered some other anomalies that frustrate me with Office 2010, primarily Word 2010, which is my workhorse program.

My goal is to automate as much of the editorial process as I can. It makes no sense, for example, to have to replace about with approximately or which with that by selecting the word to be replaced and typing the replacement each time. Yet, I cannot do a Find & Replace because F&R is dumb and will either require me to evaluate each instance and manually choose replace or it will willy-nilly make all replacements, whether appropriate or not. Consequently, I prefer the Toggle macro in EditTools (see The 3 Stages of Copyediting: II — The Copyediting Stage), which allows me to have my cursor in the word and press a single key to make the change as I encounter the problem during the editing process.

Along these lines, I also use a supplementary macro program called MacroExpress (I use the Pro version). This lets me easily combine various independent keyboard commands into a single macro to accomplish certain tasks. For example, when I reach a figure callout in the main body of a chapter, I want to go to the figure legend to edit it and make sure it exists (you’d be surprised at how many figure callouts I come across that do not have corresponding figure legends). So my process is to insert a bookmark where I am in the text and then go to where the bookmark for the figure legends is located. I do this (and the reverse of adding a new figure legend bookmark in the next figure legend and returning to where I was in the main text) using a MacroExpress macro, which requires a single keypress to run, that runs a series of keyboard key commands in Word to accomplish these tasks. Worked simply and easily in Word 2003; failed to work in Word 2010.

The failure of this simple macro in Word 2010 led me to yet another discovery and source of frustration in Word 2010: Contrary to Microsoft’s assertions and my expectations, many of the keyboard commands of Word 2003 do not work in Word 2010 — they simply do not exist in Word 2010. In Word 2003 Alt+k brought up the Bookmark dialog; in Word 2010, the Bookmark dialog doesn’t have a keyboard key command and it doesn’t seem like I can assign one to it either.

Yet there is a workaround. By assigning the Bookmark dialog to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT), it suddenly does have a keyboard command. But here is the gotcha!: The QAT items are assigned numbers for use with the Alt key (you find them by pressing and releasing the Alt key to display the letters and numbers assigned to the particular ribbon entries). In my case the Bookmark dialog is assigned the number 9 because it is the ninth item, counting from left to right, on my QAT. So Alt+9 will raise the Bookmark dialog. However, should I rearrange my QAT and shift the Bookmark dialog to position 6, the key combination will change to Alt+6. Gotcha! If I want to use the key combination as part of a MacroExpress macro, I can’t move the Bookmark dialog’s position on the QAT without modifying all of the MacroExpress macros that use it. Of course, there are other ways to solve the problem, including writing a VBA macro that calls the dialog box and simply assigning that macro to a keyboard key combination, which is something I will probably do, but what about all of the users who are unable to write VBA macros? The users who at best can record a keystroke macro?

As if that were not enough, in Word 2003, when the Bookmark dialog was open, I could type a bookmark name and press Alt+a to add it to the document or Alt+g to go to it if it already existed. In Word 2010, that doesn’t work and there is nothing to indicate what will work. Ultimately, I discovered via trial and error that in Word 2010 you need to press Alt+Shift+a (or g) to accomplish the same task.

Office 2010 has other “peculiarities,”  not least of which is “Compatibility Mode” and its constantly telling me when I want to save a document that the document has track changes and comments in it. Although I already own a couple of books on Word 2010, it is clear that I need to find yet another one — one that is more complete in explaining all of the changes instituted. The problem, I fear, is that the explanations I seek may appear in books on Word 2007 rather than 2010 because authors view 2010 as an upgrade to 2007 rather than as an upgrade to 2003.

I’m finding that overall the upgrade from 2003 to 2010 is worthwhile. I found that using Toolbar Toggle in the first weeks of my transition allowed me to acclimate to 2010 yet get work accomplished while doing so. Now it is time to walk without holding a hand for support.

One final note: It is being reported that Office 2011 for the Mac will give users the option of using a menu-driven system and deleting/suppressing the ribbons completely or of using the ribbon system. If true, which we should know for certain in a few weeks as Office 2011 is due for release this month, why didn’t Microsoft give the vast majority of its market — the PC side of the equation — the same option? Or will this be the excuse for Office 2012 for Windows? Stay tuned for further updates and speculation.

September 27, 2010

Transitioning in a Microsoft World: Toolbar Toggle

In an earlier article, Why, Microsoft, Do You Insist On Torturing Me?, I discussed my frustration with the Microsoft ribbon that is being forced on me by Office 2010. I also discussed my moving from Windows XP to Windows 7. I thought it appropriate to give an update, as well as introduce you to an inexpensive bit of software that greatly eases my Office frustrations: Toolbar Toggle.

Let’s start with Windows 7. I’ve been using it for several weeks now, and all I can say is Wow! Great! Excellent! I think with Windows 7 you can throw any accolade you want at it and the accolade will stick.

Win 7 has been an absolute delight. This coming weekend, my computer goes back into the shop for another Win 7 changeover. To go from XP to Win 7 without doing a clean install, I had to upgrade to Win 7 32-bit. Knowing that ultimately I want a 64-bit system, I converted all of my hard drives to “hot-swappable” hard drives (which means I can simply pull out one hard drive and plug in another). Now, while I’m at the Finding Your Niche Conference (see A Reminder: The Finding Your Niche Conference) this coming weekend, my local computer shop will prepare a new hot-swappable hard drive for me that is Win 7 64-bit. This will allow me to gradually set up the 64-bit system for work yet allow me to continue to earn a living by working on the 32-bit system.

Although Win 7 was a great success and I highly recommend it, Office 2010 was more problematic. installation went smoothly, but I have problems using the ribbon system efficiently. I need to learn to modify it and accommodate to it, and Toolbar Toggle is helping me make that transition.

I skipped Office 2007 because of the ribbons and the inability to easily customize them. In this regard, Office 2010 is a big improvement — the ribbons are somewhat customizable and what customizing can be done is easy to do. But I still hate the ribbons. It has increased the number of steps I need to take to get a task done and it changes a work style that I have learned over 25+ years of Microsoft Office use. But change does come and one has to learn to deal with it.

I haven’t completely left Word 2003 (I have left completely Excel 2003, Outlook 2003, and PowerPoint 2003 for their 2010 counterparts; it is just Word, my daily workhorse that I haven’t yet abandoned) because I can get my work done much more efficiently in Word 2003 than in Word 2010.

But my abandonment of Word 2003 will happen in the next couple of weeks thanks to Toolbar Toggle. Toolbar Toggle gives me my Word 2003 menu system in Word 2010 (it also does the same for Excel and PowerPoint, but I personally don’t feel the need for it in those programs). It doesn’t do away with the ribbon system, it complements it by making both available (or you can hide one or the other).

Toolbar Toggle is fully customizable, just like the toolbars in Word 2003. Consequently, as I am learning to adjust to the new Word system, I can fall back on the old system. It’s a crutch for those who are like me and are uncomfortable with the ribbon system. I keep both the ribbon and the Word 2003-style toolbar visible as I work in Word 2010. I try to use the ribbon system as much as I can, and am constantly tweaking it to get it to conform to my way of working, but rather than curse at my computer and want to punch out Word 2010 because I’m frustrated with the ribbon system, I just go to the Toolbar Toggle Word 2003 toolbar and move on.

Toolbar Toggle is inexpensive. There are two versions, a Lite and Full (what I call Pro). A single-user license for the Lite costs $12.95 and $19.95 for the Full. The Full version also includes a license for the Lite version and can be installed on 2 computers, covering both your desktop and laptop, for example, for $19.95. A comparison of the two versions is found here. One major difference is that the Lite version becomes part of the ribbon whereas the Full creates its own toolbar below the ribbon. You can see a demo of Toolbar Toggle here.

And some good news: Until October 31, 2010, you can buy the Full version with a 20% discount. At checkout, just enter the code NICHE20OFF.

Toolbar Toggle tech support is absolutely fantastic. I had some questions in the beginning about customization and sent off an e-mail; within hours I had a reply.

If you are struggling with the transition to Office 2007/2010 or have put off making the transition because of the ribbon and not wanting to forsake the menu system of Offices 2003 and earlier, then this is the add-on for you. I have found it invaluable and the price is hard to beat for the help it provides. I view Toolbar Toggle as a must-have add-on for Office 2010 so as to be able to keep up with my work flow as I transition to the new ribbon system.

In addition, it is a great complement to the Editorium, EditTools, and PerfectIt macros discussed in The 3 Stages of Copyediting: I — The Processing Stage, II — The Copyediting Stage, and III — The Proofing Stage, respectively, because it makes my editing work easier to do.

(Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with the maker of Toolbar Toggle and I do not receive any compensation from any sales of Toolbar Toggle. I purchased my own copies of the Full/Pro version for each of my computers at full retail and use the product myself. I am recommending it because it is a great tool for those of us who want the menu system of Office 2003 but the new features of Office 2010.)

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