Friday, June 21, 2013

Software Review: Microsoft Word 2010

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Once you are used to the Ribbon, makes using the software easy
Cons: Little upgrades from Word 2007
The Bottom Line
Keeps the new layout
Makes creating documents
Logical and fun

Keeping it Easy to Create Documents

Office 2007 was the biggest change to hit Microsoft's family of software in years.    I can still remember struggling to find the tools I used to take for granted.  But the changes to the programs in Office 2010 were pretty small.  In fact, I didn't really notice anything different with Microsoft Word 2010.  That means it is easy to keep writing.

Word is Microsoft's word processing program, designed to help you create essays, fiction, poems, reviews...anything you want to write.  The main screen is a blank page, and as you type, the words appear on the screen just like on an old typewriter.  Of course, the joy of the computer age is that you can go back and make changes to a document as you go.  As someone who regularly makes mistakes in his typing, this feature is more than welcome.

I also love their spelling and grammar checks.  Okay, so they aren't perfect, and you need to know the rules yourself or get the misspelled word close to what you want for their suggestions to be helpful, but it's saved me on multiple occasions since I am the world's worst speller.  When Word doesn't recognize a word, it puts a red squiggly line under it to alert you.  Right clicking will give you suggested correct spellings, although the one of top is usually what I was aiming for.  Grammar is broken up into two sections, with a green line under things like sentence fragments and blue lines under things like homonyms.  This is where you really need to know the rules because it often flags sentences with dependent clauses as sentence fragments.  Additionally, it often gets confused on it's and its, sometimes even continuing to highlight the word as wrong even when I've just changed it.

Of course, the big change for Word 2007 was the ribbon across the top of the screen, and Word 2010 has kept that in place.  Instead of the familiar drop down menus, there are now tabs.  The first is "Home," and I spend most of my time here because the icons that come up are the things I use the most, like bolding or italicizing text, font type and size, or justifications.  But if you are looking for more advanced features, you can find them on tabs like "Insert," "Page Layout," or "References."  For reports for school, there's a whole tab dedicated to "References."  There is now a file tab on the far left hand side, and you can find the Help menu there as well as a few basic commands and the extended print menus.  When I first upgraded to Word 2007, the new menus and layout took me forever to figure out because I couldn't find the stuff I used to use without a thought.  Now, it is once again second nature, and nothing changed between 2007 and 2010 as far as the menus goes.

To be honest, I haven't used the biggest changes in Word 2010 because they involve graphics.  I don't tend to do much with pictures in my word processing documents if anything at all, so I haven't had a reason to use them.  If you are like me, there's probably little need to upgrade to this version from the 2007 version.

Another feature I do like is the funning work count in the lower left hand corner.  It took me forever to find that since I used word count all the time to see just how wordy I am.  This makes it almost too easy since I can look down at any point.

When you go to install the program from the CD it comes on, you'll have to sit there for the standard Ok and Continue clicks, but it's really straight forward and easy to use.  Microsoft does require you to have a 500 Mhz process, 256 MB of RAM, and 2 GB of hard disc space for the program to properly install and run.  That's up in all areas from Word 2003, but pretty much equal to the Word 2007 version.

Once you are used to the ribbon in Word 2010, you'll find the software is great.

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