If you work with Microsoft Word 2011, you may find the program’s toolbars and ribbon practical ways to access functions you use often, such as formatting, alignment, and highlighting. But the toolbars and ribbon are stacked at the top of the program’s windows, reducing your vertical space. With today’s widescreen monitors, it makes sense to have toolbars at the side of your main window, so you can see more of your text while you work. It can also be useful for toolbars to contain the commands you really use—some of which may be deeply buried in menus. Here’s how to customize your Word 2011 toolbars to fit the way you work.
Step 1: Show and hide toolbars
To start with, it’s a good idea to show the basic toolbars so you can access their buttons when you create your own toolbar. To do this, choose View -> Toolbars, and selected the Standard and Formatting ones, if they are not already checked. This will add those toolbars at the top of the window, below the title bar, and above the ribbon. Don’t worry; you’ll be able to hide them later.
Step 2: Create a new toolbar
Choose View -> Toolbars -> Customize Toolbars And Menus. A window appears that lets you create new toolbars and manage existing toolbars. Click on New, and then enter a name for your toolbar. (Don’t click OK yet. You want this window to stay onscreen.) You’ll see a tiny, one-button-sized toolbar appear on your screen.
Step 3: Add buttons to your new toolbar
With the Customize Toolbars And Menus window open, you can easily add commands to your new toolbar. One way is to drag them from the Standard or Formatting toolbars. To copy buttons from either of these toolbars (which you made visible in step 1), hold down the Option key, click on a button, and then drag it to your new toolbar. This places a copy of the button on your toolbar—if you drag without holding the Option key, the button is moved to the new toolbar and will no longer appear on the original toolbar. Add as many buttons as you want to your toolbar: you may want to add buttons for styles, fonts, font size, bold or italic formatting, paragraph alignment, and so on.
To add commands that don’t appear on these toolbars, go to the Customize Toolbars And Menus window, and click on the Commands tab. Choose a category in the left column (some of these are menu names), and then drag commands from the right column to the toolbar. You won’t need to hold down the Option key to do this. This is a good way to reveal data merging tools, add buttons for custom macros, or access any command you use frequently that might be deeply buried in menus.
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