Toolbars and Menus
way to become more efficient using Microsoft
Word, is to customize toolbars
and menus to allow you to work more
of us use a handful of features more often
than others. So why
waste time hunting around for the icon
you need. It's easy to create a customized
toolbar and customized menus in Word.
And if you work on more than one computer,
you can easily pass that customization
to your other systems so they all work
First, you need to realize that Word has
one, default, master template that it
uses to store much of
your customization. That is your Normal.dot (dot
stands for document template).
your normal.dot file can also easily become
corrupt. In fact, it seems that with each
of Word, and all the stuff that gets stored
in normal.dot, the more it's apt to become
The problem is that you may have to delete
your current normal.dot file to correct some
corruption down the road. And if you don't
have a backup of your current normal.dot
lose all your customization. Very frustrating!
making it a habit to keep a backup of your
normal.dot and update the backup along the
you add to it, should you need to delete a
corrupt version, you can copy back a saved
version to restore all your custom settings. Or
you can use the Organizer to
pass important customization to the new
version from your backup.
The Organizer allows you to pass Styles,
AutoText entries, Toolbars and Macros from one template
to another. The Organizer can be accessed from
the Styles dialog box, via Format/Styles or on
the Macro dialog, via Tools/Macro/Macro. Once
opened, you can click on the appropriate tab
to access any customization.
have a custom toolbar called Dian,
which you can see, in the image below, is
located in my Normal.dot. Because the normal.dot
a global template,
it allows me to use this toolbar from any document
or template. That means that the custom toolbar
I use, will
be visible for all my documents. If I have
to delete my default normal.dot file due
I could pass the toolbar back to the fresh
normal.dot file by using the Organizer and
copying it from
maybe I'd like my toolbar at the office.
But I already have a lot of customization
on that normal.dot file at the office,
so I can't copy the whole file over the
one at work. I can copy this normal.dot
to a file or to a temporary transport
template and email it to myself at the office.
I can use the Organizer to just pass over
the toolbar I want, without overwriting
the whole file.
maybe I created a macro for a particular
project and now realize that it could be
useful to me more often, so I want to pass
it to my normal.dot file to make it accessible
to me all the time. I could open the template
that contains the code file I want and
pass the macro to my normal.dot file.
the image below. I've clicked the Close button
to close the current, blank doc I had open.
The Close button then toggles to
an Open button, which allows me
to access any other file. I ferret around
my hard drive to find that old MStar template
I built. I open it in the Organizer. Now
I can click the TaxToTotal macro and
add this tax calculation macro to my normal.dot
file. This would make it accessible to
me all the time. I could then place a shortcut
for that macro on my custom toolbar or
a menu. And, of course, since I added new
customization, I would remember to save
a new backup copy of my newly revised normal.dot!
This is my custom toolbar (see below).
Rather than taking up valuable Real Estate
on my screen
by having a bunch of Word toolbars open, I took my
favorite commands and assembled them on one, customized
toolbar. Then I just turn this one on. Sure, occasionally
I have to turn on other toolbars. But my customized
toolbar helps me speed along with tasks I perform
most often. And because I've copied it to all my
computers, I don't have to hunt around because I've
become very familiar with where things are located.
my toolbar is stretched across the top
of my Word screen, as my only toolbar.
(I squished it for this picture.) Here
I have an icon to open a new document,
open a file, close a document, save a file,
page setup, and print preview. I have two
print icons I customized, one prints
the current page only, the other (with the
blue dots above it) opens the print dialog
box. I have a send document icon and a
redo icon. I found undo is easy to remember,
Ctrl/Z. But I always had trouble remember Redo,
so I keep it handy.
I have my zoom buttons, one for setting
any percentage, one for screen width,
and one for full page, so I can quickly zoom
I have an insert picture icon, since I do
a lot. A What's This icon so I can
quickly check formatting. I use Arial and
fonts most often, so I put them on
But I also added the full font selector
and size selector (although I usually
use the Ctrl/Shift/> shortcut
key combo to quickly set the size).
style window, my show/hide button to
check hidden codes, my format painter and
I created a custom macro run button
quickly access macros (that's the
pathetic M> button<g>). Then I have
my VB Editor button. Also a macro I
to quickly plop a table in my favorite
style on a page, as well as the insert
table icon and a couple table formatting
buttons (which are grayed out because
I took this picture when no table was
on the screen). A quick access icon
to BordersAndShading, which I renamed
And finally, some of my most commonly
used AutoForm buttons from that toolbar.
Creating your own customized toolbar is
a breeze! Just click Tools/Customize to
open the toolbar/menu Customize dialog
box. Click on Toolbars and click New to
create a new toolbar. A short dialog box will
open to allow you to name the toolbar. Give it a
name and check to make sure you're saving it into
the Normal.dot template, unless you specifically
want it available only in some special template.
In that case, make sure the name of your special
template appears in the Make toolbar available
in: dropdown box. But this means it'll only be
accessible when you have that special template open.
(Unless you move that template into your Word\Startup directory, which makes any template a global template.
you've given the toolbar a name, it'll
appear on your screen. Then click the Command tab
and select a group from the left side list
(see image below). When you do, all the
available features for that group will
the right. Scroll down the list until you
find a shortcut icon you want on your toolbar.
Click it, hold your mouse button down and
drag the icon over and drop it on your
Scroll down the list, checking each
group and scrolling through all the commands
until you're satisfied that you have all
the icons you feel are most useful to you.
Then you can click View/Toolbars and
turn off those toolbars you no longer need.
Then turn on your new, customized toolbar.
Customizing menus is a great way to keep
your favorite things handy without having
a lot of toolbars hanging
around. It's also a perfect way to add custom features
to a special template. Maybe you've created an AutoForm and
you want some special features to be available to
the user when they use this form. You can create
macros or add features on a customized menu. Then
just tell the user to pay special attention to the
options available on that special, customized menu.
Give it a name similar to the template name, so they'll
be sure to notice it. If you save it to the special
template, it will only show up when that special
template is used! I like to keep some of my favorite
macros handy on my own code menu, as you can see
in the image below.
add your own menu, you start out the same
as you did to create a custom Toolbar,
click Tools/Customize. Select the Command tab and
down to the New Menu option
(see below). Select it and drag a
new menu up to your main menu. Although
you can place a new menu anywhere on
your main menu, it's wise to put it at
also right click the new menu item
and choose to create a New Group.
This will add a vertical bar to help
set the new menu off from the main menu items.
You'll notice (see below) that you can
also rename the menu item. And if you
an ampersand in front of a letter,
it will make that letter the shortcut
So you can quickly access it by hitting
Alt + the underlined letter.
Notice the & before
the N adds an underline in New.
Alt+N would then open that menu from
your new menu item is on the main menu
bar, just continue as you would when creating
a toolbar by scrolling down the list of
Commands until you see one you want to keep
Then click it and drag it up to
the menu. Once it's on the menu, right click it and you'll
have several choices (see below) which
will allow you to rename the item and even
add a icon. You can also add hyperlinks that will allow you to quickly access pages
on the web or other files on your hard
if you have any artistic abilities, you
can select Edit Button Image to open
the icon editor and modify an existing
Icons from Other Programs
recently asked how they could use an icon
from some other program. They liked the
image and wanted to swipe it for one of
their own menus. So here's how you can
you click Tools/Customize and right click
any menu or toolbar item, you'll notice
a mini menu appears that provides
you options. That's the one I showed you
you could customize your icon pictures. (See
image, again, below.)
the Copy Button Image and Paste
Button Image options. If the
icon you want to use is within Word, you
just right click on it. The mini
menu will appear, click Copy Button
Image. This puts a copy of the icon
onto your Clipboard. Now you can
move to the toolbar/menu item where you
want that image to appear, right click
it and choose Paste Button Image.
The image will be copied to the new location.
what if you want to swipe an icon from
some other program? Well, first you have
to consider the size. Icons are only 16
x 16 pixels (tiny squares of space). So
you'll want to copy something small,
so it won't look warped when you paste
it into that tiny space. But who cares
about rules<smile>, I just love
dogs and I love Rocky, the dog Office
Assistant! So I'm going to put a tiny image
I have to have him appear on my screen.
So I turn him on and press PrntScrn to
take a screenshot (picture of my
screen), which is copied to the clipboard.
It won't seem like anything happened, but
I know it's there! Although I have many
graphic programs, I'll show you how to
do this in Paint, in case that's all you
have. Just click Start/Programs/Assessories/Paint to open Windows paint program. Once open,
click Edit/Paste to dump your screenshot
onto the page.
I need to cut Rocky out of the page so
I can copy him. However, notice how big
he is! Obviously, he's not going to squish
into that tiny 16 x 16 space for an icon.
Keep this in mind when you're thinking
about what you want to swipe. Use a tiny
image! But we'll try this anyway to demonstrate
how it works, because I just enjoy working
click on the square Selection tool and
cut out Rocky's face.
I click Edit/Copy and Edit/Paste to
cut/paste the selection back onto the page.
Notice the new item
drops in the upper portion of the page.
there is really no need to paste him on
this page, I do so just to check what my
image looks like. From here I can click Edit/CopyTo if
I wanted to save his head to an image file.
But I don't need to do that. Since the
copy is still on the Clipboard, because
that's the last thing I put there, I
to move to Word and paste this new image
into my menu.
click Tools/Customize. Click on
my menu to open it. Right click
on the item where I want the image pasted
click Paste Button Image. As you
can see, it's not a very good
give up on Rocky and just change the icon
heart. I click Change Button Image and
select a heart.
didn't turn out too well, because he was
so much bigger than the 16 x 16
space I'm allowed. But as you can see from
the image below, I was able to do the
same capture and snap up an icon from Napster,
which worked better, because its original
size was smaller.
fun with customizing your toolbars and
menus. But remember to watch
to be sure you're saving these customizations
in your Normal.dot so they'll always be
available, unless you specifically want
them in some other custom template. And
also, please make sure to regularly
backup your normal.dot file whenever you
Styles, AutoText, Toolbars, Menus or Macros.
Then if you have to delete your normal.dot
to solve some corruption issues, you
don't want lose all your customization.
a copy in some personal file. Then you'll
know you can always send a copy back to
your template default directory to get
yourself up and running without starting