Controlling Word's Customization Options

Word offers several additional options for personalizing Word to your taste and convenience. One set of options enables you to control how Word's Personalized Menus and Toolbars behave. The remaining options cover various behaviors that might make Word simpler for you to use. To set these options, choose Tools, Customize and click the Options tab (see Figure 31.17).

Figure 31.17. The Options tab of the Customize dialog box.


Displaying Full Standard and Formatting Toolbars

Word's Standard and Formatting toolbars display on two rows by default. If you want, you can display an abbreviated version of the Standard and Formatting toolbars on a single row, showing only the most widely used buttons. This saves space, but it can be confusing?especially to experienced users, who want to know where the extra buttons went.

To display abbreviated Standard and Formatting toolbars on a single row, clear the Show Standard and Formatting Toolbars on Two Rows check box.


You can also toggle the Standard and Formatting toolbars between one and two rows:

  1. Click the down arrow to the right of either the Standard or the Formatting toolbar.

  2. Choose Show Buttons on One Row or Show Buttons on Two Rows.

Controlling the Behavior of Personalized Menus

Word's Personalized Menus feature keeps track of menu commands that you don't use and, after a set amount of time, hides them from view when you activate the menu. This is intended to make it easier to find the commands you do use frequently.

If and when you find yourself needing access to a hidden menu command, all you need to do is keep the menu selected for a few moments, and the remaining commands appear (you can also click the double-down arrow at the bottom of any menu containing hidden commands). When you use a hidden command, Word adds it to the default list of commands.

Although many users don't care for this feature, Word's Personalized Menus remain turned on by default: Word always shows an abbreviated list of menu options on a fresh install. If you don't like Personalized Menus, however, you can get rid of them.


If you're upgrading from Word 2000 or Word 2002 and you have already disabled Personalized Menus, these should remain disabled when you install Word 2003.

In the Options tab of the Customize dialog box, check the Always Show Full Menus check box. If you never want Word to display the long menus by hovering the mouse pointer over them for a short period, clear the Show Full Menus After a Short Delay check box. The double-down arrows that let you manually expand a menu do remain functional even if you clear this option.

If you are using Personalized Menus, but you want Word to forget what it has learned about the menu and toolbar commands you use, click Reset Menu and Toolbar Usage Data, and click Yes to confirm.


Reset Menu and Toolbar Usage Data eliminates only Word's stored record of the commands you use. It does not eliminate any manual changes you've made to toolbars, menus, or keyboard shortcuts.

Displaying Large Icons

When the Large Icons check box is checked in the Options tab of the Tools, Customize dialog box, all the buttons on your toolbars are enlarged (see Figure 31.18). Large icons are most helpful when you're working at higher screen resolutions. They may also helpful for those with less than perfect vision (though they can be blurry).

Figure 31.18. Large icons are easy to read but take much more space.


However, if you use large icons and a monitor with lower screen resolution, fewer buttons can fit on a toolbar, which means that some of the buttons you need might not be visible.

Listing Font Names in Their Font

By default, when you click on a Font list (such as the one in the Formatting toolbar, Word displays each font's name in that font, giving you a quick preview of how that font might appear in your document. This is convenient, but displaying a long list of fonts can take a long time on slower computers. If you find that font lists display too slowly, display the Options tab of the Customize dialog box and clear the List Font Names in Their Font check box.

Controlling Word's ScreenTips

In the Options tab of the Customize dialog box there are two check boxes that control how Word uses ScreenTips. With the Show ScreenTips on Toolbars option turned on, when the mouse pointer hovers over a button in a Word toolbar, a brief description appears below the button. As you have likely guessed already, these descriptions are called ScreenTips. If you prefer not to see ScreenTips, clear the Show ScreenTips on Toolbars check box.

If you like ScreenTips, you can make them even more useful by telling Word to display the equivalent keyboard shortcuts along with the description (see Figure 31.19). Checking the Show Shortcut Keys in ScreenTips check box is a good way to learn the keyboard shortcuts you're most likely to use.

Figure 31.19. A ScreenTip that includes a keyboard shortcut.



Not all toolbar buttons have keyboard shortcuts, so even if you display Shortcut Keys in ScreenTips, shortcut keys often won't be present.

    Part I: Word Basics: Get Productive Fast
    Part II: Building Slicker Documents Faster
    Part III: The Visual Word: Making Documents Look Great
    Part IV: Industrial-Strength Document Production Techniques
    Part VI: The Corporate Word