The real Office 2007 installation guide, part 3

Tips on what to do after installing Office 2007.

In the last two issues of Office for Mere Mortals we talked about installing Office 2007, firstly what hardware is sufficient to run Office 2007 properly (as opposed to Microsoft’s fanciful ideas) and then the things to do before installation and the installation options available.

This issue we’ll look at the things to do after installation – as we said in the last issue – Once the installation is over – the er… installation isn’t over.

Office 2007 extras

At the time of writing there is only one extra download for Office 2007, but there may be more by the time you install Office 2007.

The last screen of the installation gives you an option to go to the Microsoft web site to check for any updates, unless you have a specific reason not to, you should do this right away.

PDF and XPS support

Because Microsoft and Adobe are in some pointless dispute (pointless for paying customers anyway) one important feature in Office 2007 isn’t included directly.

The ability to save documents to Adobe’s PDF format or Microsoft’s rival XPS format have to be downloaded and installed separately from the Microsoft web site.

  • PDF is a commonly used format and most people have the free Acrobat Reader installed.
  • XPS is Microsoft’s new rival which isn’t used much at this stage but may be adopted more in the future.

Microsoft has provided downloads to let you ‘Save As’ to either PDF, XPS or both. We suggest you install the filters for both even though you might only use the PDF one at this stage.

The downloads are available from Microsoft only after you have activated your copy of Office. Or you can get the download from a non-Microsoft source and install without activation.

Once you’ve installed the small downloads the Save As menu in Office apps will have a new option ‘PDF or XPS’ depending on what you installed.

In addition it will also add ‘Email as PDF Attachment’ and Email as XPS Attachment’ under the Send menu.

More information on the PDF/XPS add-ins and the download links go to https://office-watch.com/?77

The hidden MSOcache

On your C drive after the Office 2003 or 2007 setup is completed you’ll find a hidden folder called MSOcache which has around 600MB of files on our test machines. Because it’s a hidden folder most people don’t know it’s there, though they might wonder why Office has used up more than 1GB of disk space between that folder and the installed programs.

The /MSOcache folder contains essential installation files from the Office setup. If a problem arises with Office, it will try to repair itself using the source files in MSOcache. Office can be repaired faster and without you fishing out the Office setup CD’s all over again.

We strongly recommend you leave the MSOcache alone.

If you’re running short of disk space try to find something else to clean up. Resist any temptation to tinker with the contents. The folder is hidden with good reason.

Compressing MSOcache on an NTFS drive won’t make any significant difference to the size of the folder.

If you choose the Windows ‘Disk Cleanup’ option the /MSOCache folder will show up as ‘Office Setup Files’ but not selected for deletion by default.

Defrag hard drive

After you’ve installed Office and any extras you should defragment your hard drive. This will optimize the files and segments on your hard drive after the reshuffle caused by installing a major piece of new software.

There are plenty of de-fragment tools out there but for most purposes the tool included with Windows is sufficient. Right-click on the Drive C icon in My Computer (or whichever drive you installed Office to) then Properties | Tools | Defragment Now

Once the defrag process has started it might take some time, so this is a good task to do before lunch or even overnight.

Configuration Changes

The settings for Office ‘out of the box’ are a combination of what Microsoft thinks is best for a broad range of users and, in some cases, suits some agenda by Microsoft. Feel free to change the settings to what suits you.

There are many possible tweaks and the choice is up to you. Here are some suggestions to consider or check with menu directions for Word 2007 (they are similar for other Office 2007 apps):

Measurements

Make sure the measurement standard is what you want.

Inches, Centimeters etc. Word Options | Advanced | Display

Default document format

Office 2007 defaults to the new ‘docx’ etc formats. While these are better than the old ‘.doc’ etc formats they are not widely accepted yet, if you often email out documents you might strike confusion when people receive a document their software cant’ read. You might decide it’s easier to keep the older document formats for the moment. Go to Word Options | Save to change the default document type.

Color scheme

Office 2007 comes with color schemes separate from the Windows settings. Get the choice of Blue, Silver or Black from Word Options | Popular.

ClearType

ClearType is a way to make text easier to read on LCD displays (laptop screens and flat panel displays). Office should switch on ClearType automatically based on the type of screen you have. But you can ensure it gets it right at Word Options | Popular | Always use ClearType.

Opening in Full Screen Reading view

Personally this option drives me crazy, when you open an email attached document the default is to gobble up the entire screen and switch to the ‘Reading View’ which sometimes renders documents in very strange ways. Word Options | Popular | Open email attachments in Full-Screen Reading view.

Activate now or later?

Since 2000, Office has had Product Activation technology to confirm that the product key is valid and tie its use to a particular computer. We’ve been watching the way this system works over the years and while we have some concerns, generally the system works well. The dire warnings have proved mostly unfounded.

However the anti-piracy measures are gaining more ‘teeth’ with the possibility that your copy of Office might be deemed illegal at some later stage. This is a complicated matter we’re addressing over in Office Watch see https://office-watch.com/?93 and there’ll be more in future issues.

When you first start Office 2007 you’ll be prompted to activate over the Internet – most people will do that with no trouble but you might want to hold off.

If you don’t activate Office 2007 you can continue to use it normally for the first 25 times you start Office – after that you have to activate or Office will stop working completely.

Activation is tied to your hardware configuration. Small changes to your hardware (like changing a video card or adding a drive) should not affect activation but major changes (like a new motherboard or hard drive) almost certainly will be deemed by the anti-piracy measures as ‘new’ hardware and require re-activation. These hardware upgrades are usually handled with little fuss but it’s worth keeping in mind.

If you are ‘tinkering’ with your computer hardware, switching components around etc then it’s prudent to postpone Office activation until the hardware setup is stable. Doing this prevents the possibility of Microsoft thinking you’re trying to install Office on multiple computers (instead of different incarnations of the same machine).

We thought this would be the end of this series, but inevitably there are ‘matters arising’. Our readers (bless you) have made some suggestions and there are some other thoughts that have occurred to us.

Next week we’ll wrap up all those install matters in a final issue on this topic.