The new Backstage view in Office 2010 has been designed to allow you to easily find, protect, update, and share the files you create - all in one window. The new three-column layout displays information without cluttering up your screen or hiding the tools you are trying to find. As the number of commands available throughout the Office suite grew, menus, toolbars and task panes had became heavily populated, and it looked like the set was about to collapse. The Backstage Office is the perfect solution.

The Office Button was introduced across the suite of 2007 Office applications with a view to housing commands most commonly used. However, as the suite was rolled out, users expressed concerns about how difficult it was to find, use and understand how to access their most used commands. And as the menus, toolbars and task panes became more and more populated, users couldn't find what they were looking for. The User Interface concepts had been designed for much simpler programs, and could no longer handle the volume of commands in the Office applications.

In other words, the previous menu couldn't show all the actions that a user would like to do with a document and sometimes it required a bit of digging around on the Ribbon to find the right option. Office Backstage changes that by putting the document in focus when the view is selected.

The Backstage concept is now an intrinsic feature of Office 2010. The Backstage view allows you to do everything to a file that you do not do in the file. The Backstage view is where you manage your files - creating, saving, inspecting for hidden metadata or personal information and setting options.

Backstage does vary from application to application. The Backstage view in Outlook, for example, is different to the view in Word. In Outlook, Backstage enables you to modify your email settings, clean up and archive your mailboxes, create rules, save files, save attachments and print. In Word, you can prepare a document for sharing, change document permissions, and check versions of the document.

The sharing features in Backstage are particularly powerful in Word and several other Office apps. Using the Sharing area of Backstage, you can send the current file as an email, save it to a SharePoint server, save it to your SkyDrive online storage account and publish it as a blog post.

But perhaps the USP is Backstage's extensibility. Organisations can build Backstage add-ins for their own employees or for their clients. For example, an enterprise can build buttons into its version of Office that integrate with that company's business processes such as sending a file to a manager for review, exporting data into a database, etc. An organisation can develop a Backstage add-in that lets its customers grab information from their accounts and import it into Excel.

To display Backstage view, click on the Office Button and on the File. When you click the File tab, you see many of the same basic commands that you saw when you clicked the Microsoft Office Button or on the File menu in earlier releases of Microsoft Office. Here, you'll find Open, Save, and Print, as well as a new Backstage view tab called Save & Send, which offers multiple options for sharing and sending documents.

The Quick Commands on the left side of the Backstage view, for example, Save, Save As, Open, and Close are no longer located beneath the Info tab, but are closer to the File button than they have been in previous versions. Options and Exit are also no longer associated with the last tab, which has been renamed to Help to better reflect the commands located on this tab (think of the Help tab as the replacement for the commands that used to be located on the Office 2003 Help menu).

There are different commands which work with Backstage view including the Definitive command. This is a command that takes you from the Backstage view back to the document. Definitive commands close the Backstage view when they are accessed. Some examples of such commands are Save, Save As and Print.

Fast Commands are commands that exist on the left-hand navigation bar, providing quick access to common functionality. Some examples of such commands are Save, Save As, and Close.

A Tab is a page within the Backstage view that is scoped to a particular task. The Backstage view consists of a set of top-level tabs. The first (top-most) tab is the default. If no location is specified, custom tabs are added at the very bottom of the navigation bar, below all of the existing tabs and fast commands. There is an upper limit of 255 tabs allowed in the Backstage view.

The Info tab displays different commands, properties, and metadata depending on the state of the document and where it is stored. Commands on the Info tab can include Check In, Check Out, and Permissions.

Commands in the Backstage View are highlighted based on a hierarchy of how important a command is for the user to notice and interact with it. For example, Permissions on the Info tab, is highlighted in red when permissions set on the document might limit editing.

Backstage view also keeps track of what you've used when. The Recent tab displays all the files you've recently used (starting with the most recent file at the top of the list), as well as the folders you've opened. At the bottom of the tab, you'll see the Quickly Access This Number Of Recent Documents number selector. You can use this option to specify the number of recently used files you want to see on the Backstage view tab list. They'll appear just under the commands in the left pane of Backstage view.