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How to Customize Word 2007

December 31st, 2008

ms-word-2007-double-spacing.jpgThis rather extensive tutorial article by Christine Withers discusses various ways in which you can customize Microsoft Office 2007 (the latest version of Word) to fit your needs. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a more thorough guide than what is found here, you can look at Carol’s Corner Office Tips and Tricks, a four-book set that includes useful secrets on PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook in addition to Word tutorials. There is also a guide called Word 2007 Made Easy, a relatively concise PDF guide that is designed to help students prepare Word documents quickly and easily.

Word 2007 has been completely redesigned to make it easier and faster to format your documents. Though you may feel a bit lost and frustrated at first, once you get to know this new version you’ll wonder how you ever managed to work in anything less. But before we begin changing your default settings, let’s take a closer look at some of Word 2007’s new and improved features.

The Ribbon

The first thing you’ll notice about Word 2007 is that the menus and toolbars have been replaced by what’s called “The Ribbon”. The Ribbon consists of tabs – and within each tab is a series of groups – and within each group is a set of related commands. The Ribbon was designed to make it much easier and faster to get to the commands you need without having to go through menus and sub-menus as you did in earlier versions of Word.

To turn off the Ribbon to allow for more screen space, do one of the following:

  1. Click the down arrow on the Quick Access Toolbar and select Minimize the Ribbon.
  2. Press Ctrl+F1.
  3. Double-click on the current tab.

To get the Ribbon back, press Ctrl+F1 –or– uncheck ‘Minimize the Ribbon’ on the Quick Access Toolbar.

Microsoft Office Button

The Office 2007 logo located in the upper left corner of the Word window is called the Microsoft Office Button. This button basically replaces the old File menu from previous versions of Word. Click the Microsoft Office button to Open, Save, or Print your document. The Word Options menu is also located here.

Quick Access Toolbar

Another new feature in 2007 is the Quick Access Toolbar which basically provides quick access to frequently used commands such as Save, Undo, and Redo. This is also the only customizable toolbar in Word 2007. To add or remove buttons, just click the small drop-down arrow located to the right of the toolbar. For more button options, click More Commands. The Customize window will open showing you a list of commands. The list on the left is somewhat limited at first glance, but this is because Word is showing you only the most popular commands. To see more commands, click the drop-down arrow under ‘Choose commands from’.

Another way to add buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar is by right-clicking on any command on the Ribbon and choosing ‘Add to Quick Access Toolbar’. Also, you’re not limited to just adding individual commands; you can also add groups such as the Font or Page Setup groups.

Changing Your Default Settings

Now that you are somewhat familiar with the Word 2007 environment, it’s time to tailor the settings to better fit your needs. The following instructions will help you to make modifications to your settings such as changing your default font, line spacing, and file format.

How to Change the Default Font

The default font for body text in Word 2007 is Calibri. To change the default font to your preference, do the following:

  • Click the Home tab on the Ribbon.
  • Click the small icon in the bottom right corner of the Font group to open up the Font dialog box.
  • Select your preferred font, font size, and any other settings that you want.
  • Click the Default button in the bottom left corner of the dialog box to make these your default settings.
  • When you see this window pop up, click ‘Yes’ to confirm that you want to change the default font.

How to Change the Default Line Spacing Back to Word 2003

The default line spacing in Word 2007 is set to 1.15 line spacing with 10 pt. spacing between paragraphs. To change the default spacing back to the way it was in Word 2003, which is single spacing with no extra space between paragraphs, do the following:

  • Click the Home tab on the Ribbon.
  • In the Styles group, click the Change Styles button.
  • Choose Style Set.
  • Then choose Word 2003.
  • To make this your default setting, click the Change Styles button again and click on Set as Default.

Microsoft added the 10 pt. spacing to its default setting to eliminate the need to have to press the Enter key twice between paragraphs to create a space.

How to Change the Margin Settings

The default margin setting is 1 inch on the top and bottom, and 1.25 inches on the left and right. However, most people prefer 1-inch margins all around. To change the margins, do the following:

  • Click the Page Layout tab on the Ribbon.
  • Click the small icon in the bottom right corner of the Page Setup group to open the Page Setup dialog box. (Alternatively, if you have the vertical ruler bar displayed, you can double-click on it to open up the Page Setup dialog box.)
  • Under Margins, select your preferred margin sizes. For 1-inch margins all around, change Top, Bottom, Left, and Right to 1”.
  • Click the Default button at the bottom left corner of the dialog box to make this your default settings.
  • When you see this window pop up, click ‘Yes’ to confirm that you want to change the default settings.

How to Change Default File Type

Word 2007 documents are saved as “.docx” documents. This is a new file format that will not open in earlier versions of Word unless the proper compatibility pack is installed. Therefore many Word 2007 users have opted to change their default settings so that their documents are saved in Word’s previous format of “.doc”. This saves you from having to remember to change the Save As Type every time you save a document. To change the default file format, do the following:

  • Click on the Microsoft Office Button.
  • Click the Word Options button.
  • Select Save.
  • Click the drop-down arrow next to ‘Save files in this format’ and choose Word 97-2003 Document (*.doc).

The Better Alternative: To save a document to the previous version of Word (.doc) WITHOUT changing the default file format for all documents that you save, just click the Microsoft Office Button when it’s time to save your document, choose Save As, then choose Word 97-2003 Document.

How to Change the Default Save Location

By default, Word 2007 stores your documents in the Documents folder. However, if you prefer to have your documents saved to a different location, just do the following:

  • Click the Microsoft Office Button.
  • Click the Word Options button.
  • Select Advanced.
  • Scroll all the way down to the General section and click the File Locations button.
  • Select Documents in the ‘File types’ list.
  • Click on the Modify button.
  • Click on the drop-down arrow at the top of the Modify Location window and select the location that you want your files to be saved to. Alternatively, you can select the location from the Organize panel on the left of the window.

How to Adjust Your View

  1. To see the Ruler bars, click on the View tab on the Ribbon, and check the box next to Ruler.
  2. To change the way you see your document, choose a selection from the Zoom group on the View tab.


Now that you have your settings adjusted to your preferences, this should make working in Microsoft Word 2007 a much more enjoyable and productive experience, especially as you continue to learn more about what Word 2007 has to offer.

Related Pages:

Eliminate Double Spacing in Microsoft Word 2007
How to Change the Default Font in Word 2007
Using Themes for Print Design in MS Word 2007

14 Responses to “How to Customize Word 2007”

  1. comment number 1 by: Feicia

    Its easy to format a document using the format painter icon.

  2. comment number 2 by: Jo

    I have been struggling with this damn thing and have encountered nothing but frustration.

    More things have been removed that improved my productivity than any of the new fancy worthless frills that have been added. Quite frankly, Word 2007 is garbage, requiring more clicks to do that which I used to do with single clicks. It has taken away my FREEDOM and LIBERTIES — e.g. my ability to create multiple custom tool bars without having to spend money and buy third party products, or go through hoops and more frustration, learning programming, etc. I can no longer FREELY arrange and customize the product for how “I” use it, instead of according to how some arrogant bureaucracy thinks I should use it.

    One thing I cannot tolerate is someone else dictating to me how “they” think I should use a product or do my job — as if I cannot think for myself, or as if I am some kind of incompetent helpless peasant that only “they” know what is best for me. I get enough of that crap from the utterly lawless democrats, perverting the Constitution and trying to lawlessly turn this Union on its head.

    To a large extent, it is sad, because those that are learning mostly on Word 2007, without ever experiencing the freedoms of the older versions for the past 10-15 years, will never know what truly useful features have been taken away and worthless empty frills substituted in their place — bamboozled into thinking that they are getting more, when in fact they are getting less.

    The first thing I did was turn off all the “automatic” pop-up and pre-view crap! I am a professional. I don’t need that kiddy romper-room garbage!

    I have yet to figure out how to turn off the same pop-up crap when you right-click on a selection (i.e. the Font stuff which is constantly getting in my way)!

    Next thing we will see are laws dictating how we have to use word processors and what can and cannot be built-in — so that other companies can profit at the expense of the consumer — with more and more built-in features being ripped out, so you have to pay someone else to get them back.

    For me, Microsoft gets an “F”, and all the idiots that created this piece of crap should be fired. I’m going back to Word 2003. As for Word 2007, Microsoft can “stick it”, along with their crap-ola Vista OS!

  3. comment number 3 by: Ireland5

    Dear Jo,
    You have expressed my thoughts! Have been saying the same thing. Word 7 has been designed by Microsoft to accommodate all the “stupid” customers - obviously, Microsoft considers all their customers unable to think for themselves. I think Open Office is coming very close to gaining me as one of their customers. It’s looking better all the time…Bye bye Microsoft…

  4. comment number 4 by: Ellie

    Word has never approached the ease of use and intuitive nature of the old WordPerfect. It never tried to do a thing for you, it never required numerous clicks to accomplish one task, and I never once had to use its help menu.

    Losing WordPerfect is far worse than losing an old version of Word; that program has never been good. It’s just been forced on us.

  5. comment number 5 by: Hilary

    I just got Office 2007, only because I need to know it for the workplace. I prefer, and will continue to use, Lotus WordPro (part of SmartSuite) at home. It was last updated in 1998, but it’s still the best thing around. (I haven’t tried WordPerfect, so can’t compare that .

  6. comment number 6 by: William

    One thing I cannot tolerate is someone else dictating to me how “they” think I should use a product or do my job — as if I cannot think for myself.

    Couldn’t agree more. I have no objection to dumbing down the product to attract more users, but leave the flexibility in for those of us that have streamlined the tools to fit our working practices.

    If I didn’t need it for work, it would hit the trashcan!

  7. comment number 7 by: David

    Dear Angry White Republican Jo,
    Get therapy. When you begin blaming that damned Obama for the new look in Word, you need some serious help dude.

  8. comment number 8 by: Laura

    I agree that office 2007 is insulting and restricts my freedoms as a user, but that said, Jo needs help. Has he considered that Microsoft’s decision to dumb down office may have something to do with the fact that we have had 8 years of a babbling imbecile for a president? I have decided to use Open-office as much as possible. It will take some time to persuade my colleagues, but they will eventually come on board considering it’s free. OMG- it’s free!

  9. comment number 9 by: Jane

    Excellent article - thank you very much for this. I put off upgrading for as long as I possibly could (heard about that damned ribbon and the focus on ‘Word for dummies’) but the time had finally come. You’ve saved me a heap of time in my battle to to get back to using Word fast and speedily, much appreciated. I can see that some bits of it may be nice… but jeepers, I do NOT appreciate them making it so damned hard for us expert users, and littering it with so much crap Gaghhh!.

  10. comment number 10 by: Cath Gillespie

    I spent over twenty years in IT training and support, right back to the pre-mouse DOS days, and 2007 is the worst backwards step I have seen. I have always taught my students to customise their software, to make heavy use of macros, autotext, autocorrect, custom toolbars, custom menus, and keyboard shortcuts (the question, “Should I use the mouse and a tool or a keyboard shortcut” is answered by “It depends on where your hands are at the time”). Why couldn’t Microsoft have left 2003 alone and brought out a companion Microsoft Lite (because who’s going to buy Microsoft for Dummies?) Because of my work, I’ve set up a virtual PC (Parallels - lovely stuff) and run 2007 on that, but I avoid it as much as possible. 2007 - what a load of rubbish. And I haven’t been game yet to look at what butchery they might have committed with VBA.

  11. comment number 11 by: geof

    I thoroughly agree with Cath. I have taught word processing and s/sheeting since the early 80’s
    2k07 is a lemon. It is the best advert for Open Office yet.

    Since when do you use a serif font for headings and san serif for body text for paper based documents.
    Cambria and Calibri are so labeled.

    VBA, guaranteed to work unless it doesn’t.
    Quick parts, ye gods.

    If you have not downgraded from Office 03 to 2K07 yet, you are fortunate. Stay where you are til 2010 has shaken down.

    At least in 2010 it appears to be easier to customise the ribbon.
    Off to Open Source.

  12. comment number 12 by: Martin

    Couldn’t agree more.

    I get the impression this word 7 was created for children who want to write a letter to grandma.
    I am currently trying to make the apendix of my PhD, which would consist of the rather simple task of just sticking a load of images onto virgin pages and captioning them. It’s turning out to be a true nightmare. Images pile on top of each other for no reason, they lump together leaving entire pages blank, and the captions float around like disassociated objects, sometimes turning up 6 pages down from where you first placed them.
    For some unexplainable reason all images are imported with ‘allow to overlap’ set as default, and there’s no obvious way of switching that off. what would be the point in that?!

    I cannot believe that after 20+ years of experience Microsoft are still too stupid to get this right. Writing and surfing the web are 90% of what people do with computers!!!! It is a fucking disgrace!

    peace out

  13. comment number 13 by: Hilary

    Martin, You might try creating a table, and inserting the images into the cells. You can use the cell below each image for the caption. I haven’t actually tried this with Word, but it works really well in my ancient WordPro software. You may need to adjust the cell height to display the image at the size you want.

    Good luck on your thesis!

  14. comment number 14 by: Tawn

    WORD 2007 is pure garbage.

    WORD used to be easy to use, now it’s a hassle and some of the classic features don’t work like they used to.

    How could Microsoft have developed this crap and no one there noticed?

    Do they not use their own software?

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