A new resource available for download from Microsoft is designed to let customers upgrading from Office 2003 or earlier to Office 2010, get familiarized with the redesign of the look and feel of the Word components of the product. The Word 2010: Interactive menu to ribbon guide can be grabbed free of charge through the Microsoft Download Center, and as the label implies, users will get a “visual, interactive reference guide to help you find the new location of commands in Word 2010,” according to Microsoft. “Use this interactive tutorial to find the location of commands in Word 2010. The guide is a simulation of the old menu version of Word. Click a command in the guide to learn its new location in Word 2010.”

With the advent of Office 2007, Microsoft dramatically overhauled the graphical user interface for its productivity suite. The evolution of the new Ribbon/Fluent GUI continued with Office 2010, which brings to the table a perfected variant of the user interface, widening the gap between the new design and the old File menu that was the default in Office 2003 and earlier.

While Ribbon is immensely superior to the old Office UI, it takes a little time to get accustomed to it. As with everything new there’s a learning curve, but fact is that some users might not get over the initial shock of having to work with a completely overhauled UI. It’s human nature to seek as much comfort as possible, and while the Office 2003 UI might feel extremely comfortable the new users interface of Office 2010 will appear to be strange and extremely different.

In the case of Word 2010, the interactive menu to ribbon guide provides an excellent place to start for users that feel like they know where every command, option, feature etc. is in Word 2003, but are completely lost when running Word 2010. The resource will help users find the commands and buttons in the new Word, based on where they reside in the old Word.

The guide is built in Silverlight and designed to run inside a browser that supports Microsoft’s alternative to Adobe Flash. Is it an excellent initiative from Microsoft, and I’m sure that customers will feel like they need additional guides for the remaining components of Office 2010. My advice for new Office 2010 users is to simply give it a try, free trial versions are available for download after all. And don’t panic if everything looks and feels completely different, the Ribbon/Fluent UI is really simple and logical, you’ll need some time to get used to it, but by the time you’re done you’ll never look back.

Office Home and Business 2010 RTM Build 14.0.4760.1000 is available for download here.

Office Home and Student 2010 RTM Build 14.0.4760.1000 is available for download here.

Office Professional 2010 RTM Build 14.0.4760.1000 is available for download here.

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