Today, I'm starting an ongoing series on some of my favorite things in Office 12. 

Maybe you'll hear marketing talk about some of these features down the road and maybe you won't; I'm not really concerned about that.

The only criteria I'm using for inclusion in my list are:

    1) It's something new in Office 12
    2) I personally think it's useful or cool or interesting

I mean it's my blog and I can write about what I want, right?

Put another way, I'm making a list of those things I miss when I'm stuck using a previous version of Office.

I'm going to start with something that I've recently found to be a timesaver when creating more formal, professional documents and memos in Word: the Cover Pages gallery.

From the Insert tab in Word 12, click "Cover Page."  A gallery of pre-made cover pages appear, organized from most snazzy to most business-like.

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Choose the one you want and Word automatically adds it to your document, including all the necessary formatting and layout.  All you have to do is enter the title (which can optionally be picked up from the document properties.)

Making a cover page manually was always kind of a pain for me, because it requires using text boxes and tables and borders and honestly I don't really have the patience or flair to design something nice.  With the ready-made cover pages in Word 12, I have something good looking in just a few seconds.  I've used it a number of times already to make professional-looking printed documents.  In fact, just last weekend I used Word specifically to make a cover page to add to a musical score I created in Sibelius 4.  I picked the design, changed the default text, saved to PDF, and sent it to Kinko's online.  It was all very seamless and it looked great on paper.

(Click to view full picture)

As with all features built on the new Document Parts architecture in Word 12, you can define your own cover pages and they will appear in the gallery as well.  Or maybe your company will define official cover pages with your corporate logo on it that everyone's supposed to use--you would also see that design integrated into the gallery.  Even if none of the designs are exactly right, you may be able to find one that's pretty close and then tweak it to look the way you want in short order.

This is an example of how a feature, presented as a gallery, makes it easy to get quick, tangible results.  More people can create good-looking documents without being experts in using Word.