How-to use File Tab and/or Backstage in the Microsoft Office 2010 suite

November 9, 2010, By Fouad Bajwa

Earlier with Microsoft MS Office 2007, an Office Button was introduced as a means to access the contents of the usual File menu that was a major change from previous MS Office versions but within the MS Office 2010 suite, the 2007 Office Button has been removed and replaced with a File Tab.

In fact, each application now has a File tab. The previous button used to appear as a drop down whereas Backstage takes you into a full-screen background editing mode though this can be a bit annoying for some users that do not like to see a new screen appear over the document they may be working on.

Microsoft Office 2010The File Tab assists the user to access all file related commands immediately by switching the screen to the Microsoft Office Backstage on which file related commands for the current document that the user is working on are presented.

The Backstage feature enables the user to:

  • Create new documents and/or open existing ones
  • Perform save, close, or print within current document
  • View or change document properties as well as permissions and check for any issues prior to distribution, and manage document versions
  • Share the document via email, fax, or Microsoft SharePoint Server
  • Generate Adobe PDF files from the current document
  • Set application preferences [Options] and exiting the application

How-to use File Tab and/or Backstage in the Microsoft Office 2010 suite Backstage

Backstage Commands

Once users enter the Backstage, they can easily select any file-related command from the list on the left side of the Backstage. This left pane navigation structure makes it easy for the user to select from a multitude of various commands. Just to share a small example, click the Recent command to open a recently used MS Office document.

The Backstage Info tab displays valuable information such as the word count and last modified date in Word as well as features to revert back to earlier versions of a document, checking accessibility and sharing problems with a file while adding the facility to set permissions that limit access to it.

Customizing the Backstage Ribbon

Once you get your head around how a MS Office 2010 application works, you can attempt improving the Backstage navigation bar called the “Ribbon” by modifying it to suite your needs:

  • Click the Options section of Backstage
  • Now you can add or remove commands from tabs
  • Hide tabs you do not intend to use
  • Rename all tabs or groups
  • Create new tabs

MS Office users can still use the keyboard commands such as Ctrl+S for saving and/or Ctrl+P for pasting etc to avoid the Backstage screen change. However, the Backgstage has some significant advantages that were not available in earlier MS Office productivity suites such as:

  • You can go beyond basic office tasks and attempt more complex tasks than a simple open, save and print operations, an attractive interface makes it much easier to perform these tasks.
  • Backstage views provide the facility to use a Save & Send menu that detail the pros and cons of each document sharing format
  • The Print menu automatically shows a large preview of a document
  • The Info tab appears when you first click on the File tab that displays very useful information about a document.
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