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Microsoft Word introduces on-the-spot image editing, a colorful interface, and smaller-than-ever files. Get ready for a steep learning curve.

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Instead of the old, gray drop-down menus atop the page, Microsoft's new and very colorful Ribbon clumps common features into tabs: Home, Insert, Page Layout, References, Mailings, Review, and View.

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Microsoft's new word processor is most upgrade-worthy if you want to play with font styles, pictures, charts, and diagrams in addition to text.

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Word 2007's new Picture Tools options let you hover over galleries of changes to preview how they'll look.

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The Page Layout tab shows off galleries of watermarks and cover pages, as well as document styles and color effects.

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Microsoft is foisting by default a new file format upon users; the old Word DOC files will make way for the new DOCX type in Word 2007. Prepare options from the upper-left Office button step you through inspecting a file's compatibility with older versions of Office software, as well as its metadata.

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Bloggers can now compose and post blog entries in cleaner HTML without leaving Word.

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The Insert menu lets you drop a table into a Word document and preview before you draw it.

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Word 2007 clusters editing and commenting commands, such as Track Changes, within the Review tab.

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Word Count is now located near the left edge of the screen when the Review tab is selected.

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When you choose Insert Chart in Word, Microsoft opens Excel and displays both programs in side-to-side split-screen view. When you edit the chart this way, the changes will synchronize.

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If you open a Word 2003 DOC file without converting it to the new DOCX format, Word 2007 will operate in Compatibility Mode.

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