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Product and feature changes introduced in the 2007 Office system

Office 2010

Published: May 16, 2012

Several product and feature changes were introduced in the 2007 Microsoft Office system. This article summarizes them.

In this article:

File format

The 2007 Office system release introduced a default file format for Office Word 2007, Office Excel 2007, and Office PowerPoint 2007. The default format was changed to XML in response to customer requests. XML format provides the following benefits:

  • Enables more rapid document creation from different data sources

  • Enables easier data mining and content reuse

  • Reduces the size of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files

  • Improves data recovery in corrupted files

Service Pack 2 (SP2) for the 2007 Office system also added support for the following:

  • OpenDocument Format (ODF). SP2 lets you open, edit, and save documents in version 1.1 of the ODF for Word, for Excel, and for PowerPoint. Users of these Office programs can now open, edit, and save files in the OpenDocument Text (*.odt), OpenDocument Spreadsheet (*.ods), and OpenDocument Presentations (*.odp) formats.

    Group Policy settings and Office Customization Tool (OCT) settings were added for managing OpenDocument Format and Open XML Formats in the 2007 Office system. For more information, see Group Policy and Office Customization Tool settings that address OpenDocument Format and Open XML Formats in the 2007 Office system (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=158303).

  • Extensible File Formats: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint now include a converter interface that lets you plug third-party custom file formats into these Office programs. A developer can create a converter for files of a particular extension. When this converter is installed on a user’s computer, the custom file format effectively behaves like a built-in file format. Specifically, users can open files of this format and save them by using the Open or Save UI. They can even set the custom format as their default file format.

  • Built-in Save As PDF/XPS support was also added in SP2. PDF/XPS support is built into SP2 for Word, for Excel, and for PowerPoint. Users no longer have to download the add-in separately.

For more information about the file format changes that were introduced in the 2007 Office system, see File format reference for the 2007 Office system (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=155218).

Security

The Trust Center was introduced in the 2007 Office system, and hosts all security settings for Office applications in one location. The Trust Center also provides a document menu bar that replaces the security prompts when a file opens. By default, potentially dangerous content is blocked in the file without prompting. Therefore, there are no security decisions when the file opens. If content is blocked, the document menu bar appears and informs the user. Clicking the document menu bar displays a dialog box that has the disabled content and the options to enable or disable the content.

The Trust Center also has new security settings (previously Low, Medium, High, and Very High) that are more descriptive and provide more flexibility.

To learn about security features that were introduced in the 2007 Office system, see the resources in the Security and protection for the 2007 Office release (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=155221) section.

User interface

Office Word 2007, Office Excel 2007, Office Access 2007, Office PowerPoint 2007, and Office Outlook 2007 introduced a new ribbon interface (Microsoft Office Fluent user interface) instead of the menu bar in previous versions. The ribbon is an area across the top of the screen that is divided into tabs. Commands are organized within each tab. This change greatly improves the user's ability to use and find features in the 2007 Office system.

Most commands continue to work as before. There is minimal need to edit macros or application code due to the new ribbon interface.

For more information about the Microsoft Office Fluent user interface introduced in the 2007 Office system, see the Microsoft Office Fluent User Interface Resource Center (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?linkid=111045). In Office 2010, additional applications add the fluent UI.

Object model

Because of improvements introduced in the 2007 Office system, there are differences in the object model. Because of these changes, you should test all applications to ensure they are compatible with the 2007 Office system. Some features of the object model were added, changed, or removed. In some instances, the functionality might still be available, but might be removed in future versions of Office. For more information about object model changes in 2007 Office system, see Differences in the 2007 Office system (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkId=155230).

Access 2007

Office Access 2007 introduced a new file format. Whereas versions of Access earlier than Office Access 2007 used the MDB format, Office Access 2007 saves files in the new ACCDB format. One key feature of the ACCDB format is the ability to store complex data. Storing complex data requires the presence of a new system table, MSysFlattenedMapping, plus a series of built-in schema tables. The MSysFlattenedMapping table and the built-in schema tables are automatically created when a new ACCDB file is created.

Excel 2007

In addition to the new user interface and file format changes, Office Excel 2007 introduced major changes in the following areas:

  • Grid size. The grid size for Office Excel 2007 worksheets was greatly expanded to 1,000,000 rows by 16,000 columns (compared to 65,536 rows by 256 columns in Office Excel 2003). This change could result in Range Names that conflict with the new references, and can also affect the ability to save a worksheet to an earlier version.

  • Formulas and functions. The Analysis ToolPak was integrated into Office Excel 2007 to improve the installation process. This required that calls to Analysis ToolPak functions are changed so that the syntax is the same as the syntax used for built-in functions. Also, some integrated functions might conflict with user-defined functions. Changes to statistical functions provide more precision. By using multi-threaded calculation, Office Excel 2007 provides increased performance when it runs on computers that have more than one logical processor.

  • Charting. Charts created in Office PowerPoint 2007 or Office Word 2007 (not in compatibility mode) are native charts, not Microsoft Graph OLE objects. The data for a Graph in PowerPoint or Word is now in Office Excel 2007, instead of in the Graph datasheet. Macros written to use the Microsoft Graph object model must be changed. Existing macros continue to work in Office Excel 2007, but charts should transition to the new object model.

Outlook 2007

Office Outlook 2007 introduced improvements in the Calendar, Tasks, and other features. One of the biggest changes was that instead of using the Exchange Security Form (ESF), a custom form for administering Office Outlook 2007 security options when you are connected to a Microsoft Exchange Server mailbox, you use Group Policy. This changes the method that you use to lock down Office Outlook 2007 in a network environment. Some situations still require use of the ESF, because of Group Policy restrictions. For example, hosted Exchange situations still require using the ESF to lock down Office Outlook 2007.

Word 2007, PowerPoint 2007, and OneNote 2007

Office Word 2007, Office PowerPoint 2007, and Office OneNote 2007 introduced changes as follows.

  • Word changes included: new XML file formats; new user interface, graphics, and formatting capabilities; improved proofing tools; new sharing and collaboration features; new security features; and improved troubleshooting and recovery features.

  • PowerPoint changes included: new XML file formats; new user interface, graphics, and formatting capabilities; improved proofing tools; new sharing and collaboration features; new security features; and improved troubleshooting and recovery features.

  • OneNote changes included: Deleted Pages feature was removed; Show Ink Groups feature on the Tools menu was removed; and the title area in Microsoft Office OneNote 2007 was removed

For more information about feature changes that were introduced in the 2007 Office system, see Differences in the 2007 Office system (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkID=155230).

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