Try before you change

In Word, Excel and PowerPoint 2007 you can test some changes to the look of all or part of your documents before you apply them (and actually change your content).

The technique: Hover to preview / Click to apply

In the Home, Design and Page Layout tabs, many options consist of drop-down menus with choices represented by thumbnails.

Often (but not always) you can hover your cursor over these choices to see how they would change your document, table, or slide.

The Undo iconRemember Undo! (Ctrl-Z still works, and the undo arrow is now on the Quick Launch toolbar, up by the Office button, for easy accessibility). SO if you don't really want the change, just Undo it.

In Word, the most dramatic changes work on documents that use Heading styles. In these documents, you can preview click the Page Layout tab and preview entire Themes (Microsoft's term for groups of fonts, heading styles and colors).


Themes tabs in PowerPoint 2007Pre designed sets of colors, fonts, and styles are available in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Most useful in PowerPoint from the Design tab, they are available in Word and Excel on the Page Layout tab.

To preview them, go to the correct tab and cursor over any theme (click the Themes button in Word or Excel or the down-arrow to the right of the Themes display in PowerPoint to see many of them). Too apply, click the one you want.

Fonts and Colors

Beside the themes listings, the Fonts and Colors pulldowns offer other choices to test out with live preview. They are available in all three programs.



Excel Tables

If you have a listing of data in columns or rows with headings, you can format it for easy reading with the new Format as Table feature (Home tab). See the sidebar for more info


The Wow factor

Try out some of the Live Preview options that produce the most dramatic results:


If you use Heading styles as well as the normal style in your documents, you can preview Themes and Fonts (really font sets) on the Page Layout tab.

Or try highlighting text and testing out different fonts and font sizes from the Home tab.


Highlight a group of bullets and, from the Design tab, try out the Convert to SmartArt option. Pretty cool!

Also on the Design tab, you can preview different Themes, Color and Font choices by cursoring over the many choices. Click a theme thumbnail to actually apply it.


Drag through some cells (like a group of headings), and then, from the Home tab, preview the Cell Styles choices on the drop-down menu.

If you have a database with headings, place your cursor inside it and, on the Home tab, try out the Format as Table options. Click the Format as Table button: If Excel doesn't immediately recognize the area as a potential table, it asks you to define the table area. After you've done that you can use live preview to see different table settings (colors, row or column highlighting).