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Introduction > What Was New in Office 2001

What Was New in Office 2001

Not everyone is a Bill Gates drone, dutifully spending another few hundred dollars for every Office upgrade that Microsoft dishes up. It's entirely possible, in fact, that you're coming from Office 98 or even an earlier version, having sprung for the upgrade to Office X only because you had to survive in Mac OS X.

Here's a recap of the new features that debuted in Office 2001, on which Office X is closely based; some of them may be new to you.

Best of the New Features: Word

  • Automatic typo corrections. When Word is absolutely, positively sure what word you intended (as when you type baeutiful or teh or gramar), it corrects the typo instantly and silently, without any action on your part.

  • Definitions. There's now a definitions dictionary available in all four programs, so that you can look up the meanings of words you encounter (or are thinking of using in your writing). You can check the meaning of a word, in fact, just by Control-clicking it in a Word document.

  • Live Word Count. Instead of choosing from a menu to get a word count, you can just glance at the continuously updated word count at the bottom of the screen.

  • Click and Type. In Word's Page Layout or Online Layout views, you can double-click anywhere in the document window and just start typing. (You don't have to press Return over and over again, or Tab over and over, to move the insertion point first.)

Best of the New Features: Excel

  • List Manager. Excel's List Manager (see Section 12.3) facilitates the process of using worksheets as database-like lists. The List Wizard and List Manager help automate tasks such as sorting and summarizing list data.

  • Formula Calculator. This onscreen calculator is the easiest way yet to build and design formulas for the cells in your spreadsheet. It shows you placeholders for the various formula chunks you need to fill in.

  • AutoComplete. As you begin typing into a cell, Excel offers you a pop-up list of guesses as to what you might be in the process of typing. It creates its guesses by studying the other entries you've typed so far in the same column.

  • Tiny tweaks. Most of Excel 2001's new features were smaller blessings, all of which are welcome. It introduced the euro currency, a Font menu that displays your font names in their actual typefaces, four-digit year displays; and so on.

Best of the New Features: PowerPoint

  • Three-pane view. You no longer need to spend your time flipping among three different views to get a feel for your slide show. The primary, three-pane Normal view shows your outline, notes, and the image of the current slide simultaneously.

  • Multiple masters. A single presentation can incorporate multiple master slides, and it's easy to apply a certain master to many slides at once.

  • PowerPoint QuickTime. You can save a PowerPoint presentation as a QuickTime movie that works just like a PowerPoint show. Just click to advance the slide on any Mac or Windows machine. What's amazing is that you, or a colleague, can then open that QuickTime movie in PowerPoint to make changes. The QuickTime movie retains all of its PowerPoint characteristics behind the scenes.

Best of the New Features: Entourage

Best new features in Entourage? Entourage was a new feature in Office 2001. This calendar/email/address book/to-do list program is based on the powerful email smarts of Microsoft's Outlook Express for the Macintosh. Nevertheless, the timesaving benefits you gain with the addition of a calendar may surprise you.

Best of the New Features: Office as a Whole

  • Adios, Max. Few features of Office 98 infuriated as many Mac fans as the dancing Help assistant called Max. Even if you closed his window, he still wasted another few seconds with an annoying wave—and still reappeared from time to time.

    Starting in Office 2001, the Help→Turn Assistant Off command deletes Max and his window, instantly and permanently.


    The off switches for all of Word's other "helpful" features (automatically underlined Web addresses, automatically bulleted lists, automatically curlified quotes, and so on) are in one place: Tools→AutoCorrect. Section 2.6.2 offers complete instructions for toning down Word's infamous intrusiveness.

  • Project Gallery. This first command on the File menu presents a master catalog of canned templates. From within any of the four Office programs, you can double-click to open any document or template in any Office program—even a to-do list task or a Web page. You can customize the Project Gallery by adding Word or PowerPoint templates you've created yourself.

  • The Formatting Palette. This compact palette (see Chapter 3) packs a multitude of text-, paragraph-, image-, drawing-, slide-, and document-formatting features in a tiny amount of space. Because the Formatting Palette shrinks and grows depending on what's selected on the screen, screen clutter is greatly reduced.

  • Instant Web pages. The Save as Web Page command, Web Page Preview, and other Web tools make it possible to design and create a Web page—complete with graphics, tables, links, and forms—without ever leaving Word, Excel, Entourage, or PowerPoint.

  • Windows suffixes. One of Microsoft's greatest achievements (and the greatest joys for its customers) is that documents created in Word, Excel, or PowerPoint for the Macintosh are 100 percent compatible with the Windows versions. You and your Windows-using colleagues never have to convert or export your files. A Word file is a Word file regardless of the computer it's on, making cross-platform collaboration simple. (Specifically, documents created in Office 2001, 98, and X for the Mac, and Office 97, 2000, and XP for Windows, are all identical in format.)

    There's only one fly in the ointment: Windows requires every document to have a three-letter suffix on the file name, such as Letter to Mom.doc. If you forget that step on the Macintosh, your Windows colleague may have trouble opening the file. Fortunately, a checkbox in Office's Save As box automatically adds the three-letter Windows file extension.

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