Managing Programs and Documents in Office Backstage View

10/22/2010 6:21:10 PM
Just below the title bar in every Office program, you’ll see a white File heading on a brightly colored background. This can’t-miss target is available at the left side of the ribbon in every Office program.

As you might guess from the name, the list of choices available when you click File is very much like the list of functions found on the File menu in Office 2003 and earlier editions. (In Office 2007, these options were buried, confusingly, beneath a glowing orb containing the Office logo. In Office 2010, the location of the File menu is much more obvious.)

Tip: INSIDE OUT Use color coding to tell which program is whichIn the default Silver theme, with one exception, every tab name in every Office program is unobtrusive: black text on a gray background. The nonconformist is the File heading, which sits at the left of the tab bar and stands out with white type on a bold-colored background. Each Office program has its own designated color: Word is blue, Excel green, OneNote purple, PowerPoint orange, and Outlook yellow. That color scheme is consistent throughout a program’s design. The green Excel icon on the Windows taskbar matches the green logo in the program’s title bar, and the green background behind the File heading is echoed in the highlights on the list of options directly beneath it.

Click File, and the contents of the program window are replaced by the new Office Backstage view, shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1. Click File to open Office Backstage view, which consolidates information and tasks related to the current file in a series of tabs arrayed along the left side.

The basic arrangement of Office Backstage view is similar in each of the five programs we cover in this book. The choices available along the left side vary slightly, depending on the program.

1. Backstage View in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint

For Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, the choices along the left side of Backstage view are identical, although the details on each tab vary from program to program.

1.1. Save, Save As, Open, Close

A group of four indented options—Save, Save As, Open, and Close—allow you to perform core file-management tasks for the current document. The indentation indicates that these options don’t use the Backstage view area to the right; instead, if necessary, the program opens a common Save As or Open dialog box and allows you to interact with the Windows file system.

Note: The other indented choice in Backstage view is Options, which also opens a separate dialog box rather than displaying its choices in Backstage view.

1.2. Info

Click Info to view a thumbnail of the current document and to inspect its properties and details such as file size, the date it was created, when it was last modified, and any tags added by the program itself (author name, for example) or by a person who worked on the file. This section also contains tools to help you work with multiple versions, restrict access and editing permissions, and check for the presence of confidential information before sharing.

1.3. Recent

Click Recent to display a list of files you’ve created or opened recently using the current program. You can pin any document to this list to prevent it from being automatically removed. All shortcuts on the Recent list are displayed with pinned items listed first (in alphabetical order by file name) and unpinned items below them (in the order in which they were opened). In the Options dialog box, under the Display heading, you’ll find an option to specify how many documents are visible in this list. (The default setting is 20, but you can enter any number from 0 to 50.) At the bottom of this tab is another check box, Quickly Access This Number Of Recent Documents, which lists recently opened documents on the menu on the left, just above Info.

Tip: INSIDE OUT Use the Recent list to copy an existing documentThe conventional way to copy an existing document is to open it, make your changes, and save the altered document under a new name. If you use that technique, however, you risk accidentally overwriting the original document with your changes if you click Save instead of Save As. A safer alternative is to right-click the document’s entry on the Recent list and then click Open A Copy. The newly created document is identical to the original, but if you inadvertently click Save, you are prompted to enter a file name and location.
1.4. New

Click New for options that allow you to create a new document, workbook, or presentation. You can begin with a blank slate or use an existing document or template as your starting point. Although it isn’t immediately obvious, all three of the document-centric Office programs include a collection of useful templates that are worth exploring. Figure 2, for example, shows the many variations on standard calendars available in PowerPoint. The New tab also includes a search box to help you explore the enormous collection of categorized templates available online at

Figure 2. Click New in Office Backstage view and browse through a broad selection of templates for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint (shown here).

1.5. Print

Click Print for access to local and network printers. From this information-rich tab, you can adjust printer settings, preview all or part of a document, and adjust options for the current print job, such as the number of copies to be printed. You’ll notice some subtle per-program differences in available options; you have direct access to headers and footers in PowerPoint, for example, but must click Page Setup to reach the equivalent settings in Word and Excel.

Tip: INSIDE OUT Use the Print option to convert documents, tooThe Print tab in Backstage view isn’t limited to physical printers. You’ll also find virtual printers here that allow you to “print” a document without using a single sheet of paper. If you’ve set up the Windows Fax feature, you can click Fax to save an image of the printout in the background in Tagged Image File Format (TIFF) and send it to a remote fax device. Use the Microsoft XPS Document Writer to save to files in the XML Paper Specification (XPS) format, which can be viewed using the XPS Viewer in Windows Vista and Windows 7. The Send To OneNote 2010 driver creates a resizable image of what your printout would look like and then pastes it into the OneNote notebook you designate. Third-party programs can add entries here as well, as Adobe’s Acrobat does in creating a virtual printer for the Adobe PDF format.
1.6. Save & Send

Click Save & Send to access options for sending all or part of a document via e-mail and saving files in file storage locations on the web or on a local network. This tab, shown in Figure 3, also includes shortcuts for saving a file in PDF or XPS format or sending it as an Internet Fax.

Figure 3. Options on the Save & Send tab in Office Backstage view allow you to send documents via e-mail and save them in alternate formats or locations.

1.7. Help

The final tab, Help, provides access to the usual assortment of online reference information (which we cover later in this section), plus links to technical support, program options, and product information such as the installed version and activation status.

2. Backstage View in OneNote and Outlook

In OneNote and Outlook, the options available in Office Backstage view are different, primarily because these programs aren’t predicated on creating and saving individual files.

Both programs include a trio of tabs in common with their Office-mates: Info, Print, and Help.

In OneNote, the Info tab includes buttons that allow you to adjust settings for any open notebook and to view sync status. The contents of the Info tab in Outlook vary depending on whether you click File in the main Outlook window or after opening an individual item. In the main Outlook window, this tab provides access to e-mail account settings, cleanup tools, automatic replies, and rules and alerts, as shown in Figure 4. The Info pane for an individual item includes options appropriate to that item, including the option to view properties, set permissions, and move an item to another folder.

Print options in Outlook are dramatically simpler than in the three document-centric programs, and OneNote print options are downright spartan, with only two buttons, Print and Print Preview, on the tab. The Help tab offers information and settings similar to those found in the other programs.

In the main Outlook window, Backstage view also includes an Open tab that provides basic tools for opening calendars and data files and for importing files, settings, and RSS feeds. This option is not available in the Info pane for a window containing an Outlook item.

OneNote includes Open, New, and Save As tabs that are designed to handle the program’s unique file-management challenges, which can’t be handled in the Windows Open and Save As dialog boxes. Figure 5 shows the Save As tab, with its range of options for saving pages, sections, or entire notebooks in a variety of formats.

Figure 4. In Outlook, click the Info tab in Backstage view to manage e-mail accounts and mailboxes.

Figure 5. Because of OneNote’s unique file-management needs, the tabs available in Backstage view offer different options than you’ll find elsewhere in Office.

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