1. Familiarizing Yourself with the Word Interface


Explore the Word interface by navigating through the splash screen and understanding how tools and commands are laid out in the Ribbon.

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Lesson Goal

Investigate the Word interface

What Is Microsoft Word?

Microsoft Word is a word processor which is a type of software used for writing documents. Word is the most popular word processor. It’s not a standalone product; it’s a component of the Microsoft Office suite along Excel, PowerPoint and many more.

What is the Splash Screen?

When you start Word, you’ll first see the splash screen. This has two main components

On the top is the list of default templates. These are useful when starting a new document

Bellow this is a list of recent documents. You can choose to view all documents in order of the most recently edited, pinned documents only or shared documents only

The Status Bar

This bar gives a quick summary of the number of pages in the document, the number of words and the language.

To the right of the status bar, we have quick view commands and a zoom slider.

The Ribbon

The ribbon is a feature which is used across multiple Microsoft Office products. It categorizes Word’s tools, known as commands, into tabs. Within each tab the commands are subcategorized into groups.

Contextual tabs only appear when they’re necessary. For example, selecting a picture brings up the Picture Tools tab in the Ribbon. Selecting regular text again will hide the Picture Tools tab once again.


In this first lesson on Microsoft Word, we'll demonstrate how to interact with the application. In other words, we'll investigate the Word interface.

To start, we'll ask a very fundamental question. What is Microsoft Word? It's a piece of software used to design documents by inputting, manipulating and storing text. Also known as a word processor.

There are many different word processors. But only a small number of widely used and Microsoft Word is by the far the most popular. Microsoft Word, often just called Word, is just one product within the Microsoft Office suite. Other popular Microsoft Office components include Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook.

With this in mind, let's jump into Word to investigate its interface.

When we open Word, we're welcomed with a splash screen.

This screen helps us to get started by offering a few different options. If we want to start a new document from scratch, we can simply choose Blank document. Next to this are a variety of default templates which can be useful if you want to build a resume, calendar or cover letter.

Beneath these templates, Word provides us with a list of documents that we've recently worked on. We can organize these documents in three ways.

The Recent tab shows a list of documents where the most recently modified document appears at the top. When we hover over a document and click on the pin icon, it's categorized as a pinned document.

Note that this action counts as a modification to the document, making it jump to the top of the Recent tab.

If we click on the pinned tab, we can see a list of documents that we've pinned.

This is useful when we have certain documents which are very important or which we regularly use. Finally we have the Shared with Me tab.

This gives us a list of all the documents shared with us by someone else.

To the left there are three large buttons. Home, New and Open. Home will simply return us to this screen.

New will simply expand the amount of default templates to take up more of the screen. Open gives us various options for opening an existing document.

Note that we can view recent and shared documents just as we could in the Home screen.

There's also an option to view files on OneDrive. Which is Microsoft's online cloud storage.

This PC allows us to navigate to our Documents folder.

Add a Place can be used to add another OneDrive account or an Office 365 SharePoint. Your company may have a SharePoint for sharing files.

The final option, Browse, lets us open a document anywhere on our computer.

We'll select it and open a document.

We'll navigate to the appropriate folder and double click the document.

We can see that the view has changed again. Let's start with the status bar at the bottom of the interface.

The info to the left gives us a few short summaries of our document.

We can see that we're currently looking at the first of five pages. The status bar also displays the total number of words and the language of the document. To the right we have some quick view options. We can switch the view mode, as well as the zoom level.

At the very top of the interface, we have some additional quick commands. We can turn on AutoSave, click the floppy disk to save the document at any point in time and use the two arrows to undo and redo any actions we take.

Note that these arrows are currently gray, because we haven't taken any action since opening the document.

Beneath these quick commands is the ribbon. This is the most important part of the interface. The ribbon contains a wide variety of icons, called commands.

Each of these are tools which we can use to manipulate the document. We won't cover any specific commands in this lesson. But as you progress through this learning plan, you'll become more familiar with the ribbon and its commands.

For now, we'll simply investigate how the ribbon categorizes commands. First, note that it has different tabs.

Each tab contains similar tools or commands. Within each tabs the commands are organized into groups.

For example, in the Home tab, the Font group contains commands for changing the size, style and color of the text.

Note that some tabs only appear in the right context.

These are contextual tabs.

For example if we click on an image, a contextual tab which provides additional options for editing images will appear.

We'll stop the lesson here.

In the next lesson we'll show you how to navigate through a Word document.

Building Your Document
Typing and Formatting Text in Word


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