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How to create custom toolbars for Microsoft Word 2011

Kirk McElhearn | March 24, 2011
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.

Step 4: Rearrange the buttons

If you drag a lot of buttons onto your new toolbar willy-nilly, you’ll want to clean up the toolbar and organize buttons so similar functions are next to each other. You may also want to change the width of some of the buttons; you can only do this for the ones with text-entry fields, such as the Style or Font menu.

To move buttons around on the toolbar click on one and drag it to where you want. For buttons with text-entry fields, hover your cursor over the right end of the button, and then drag; this will increase or decrease the size. For a button like the font menu, you’ll probably want a bit more space than the default size; for the font size menu or the Zoom menu, you generally need a smaller width.

Step 5: Change your toolbar’s shape

For now, you have a long, one-button-high toolbar, which is exactly what you want to avoid if you want to save vertical space. You can change your toolbar’s shape, making it narrower and higher, so it fits better at the side of your document window. Click on the small resize triangle at the bottom-right of the toolbar and drag it to the left. As you do this, you’ll see the toolbar change shape. The more you drag it, the narrower it gets; and your buttons will stack up vertically giving you a more practical toolbar.

Note: now that you’ve changed the shape of your toolbar, you may want to move some more buttons around. For example, if you’ve added buttons for bold and italic, you may want them to be on the same line. Your toolbar will be easier to use if your buttons are grouped logically.

Step 6: Save the toolbar

Once you’re happy with your toolbar, go back to the Customize Toolbars and Menus window. In the bottom left corner of the window, you’ll see the Save In pop-up menu. Check to make sure it is set to Normal.dotm or Normal.dotx file. This ensures that your toolbar is saved so you can access it in any document instead of just in the present document.

Click OK, and the window will close. You can now move your toolbar to the right or left of your document, and go back to the View -> Toolbars menu and hide the Standard and Formatting toolbars. You can even hide the Ribbon if you wish from the View menu.

Make as many custom toolbars as you want, and you can show or hide them from the View -> Toolbars menu as needed. While the setup may take a while, you can save a lot of time by grouping the commands you use most for quick access, and you can save space by putting all your toolbars to the side of your window, so you can see as much text as possible while you work.


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