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How do I Customize menus in MS Office?
by Tonna Kutner

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Q:  I got a new copy of Microsoft Office, but I can’t stand the menus.   They open and what I want isn’t there and after a weird delay all the choices appear.  I feel like I’m stumbling every time I select one of the menus.  Can this be changed so I can see the whole menu each time or is it just the price of upgrading?

A: I agree with you, this is one of those new “features” that just doesn’t work for me.  When I click on FILE or VIEW on the Menu Bar, I want to see ALL the choices – right away.  The good news is that it can be changed.

Click on TOOLS.  Wait for the full menu to show, or click on the arrow at the bottom of the list.  Look for CUSTOMIZE near the bottom of the list and click on it.  There are several “tabs” near the top.  Click on the OPTIONS tab to bring it to the front. 

The second box from the top says something like Menus show recently used items first and is checked.  Click in the box to uncheck it.  Then click CLOSE.  Voila – your menus now show all at once.

And while we’ve located TOOLS, CUSTOMIZE, OPTIONS tab, let’s look at the other things you can do there.  All the boxes in this area are like toggle switches - click once it’s unchecked, click again it’s checked, etc.  To implement any of the changes, click on the CLOSE button at the bottom of the window. 

The first box is Standard and Formatting toolbars share one row.  If this is checked, the toolbars share a row, but all the icons don’t fit on the row.  To see the icons that don’t fit, click the little double arrow icon on the far right of the bar.  If this box is unchecked, you can see everything, but the Standard and Formatting toolbars each have their own row.

The first box in the “other” section is Large Icons.  Click on that and the icons at the top become quite large.  Unclick it and they’re back to their small versions.  For those with vision or mouse control issues, this is a great feature.

Then comes List font names in their Font.  When checked, you can see what the fonts look like from the font scroll box (this is a cool feature).  When unchecked, the font names appear, but it does not show what they look like.

Next is Show screen tips on tool bars.  When checked, this allows you to cruise with your mouse over an icon on the toolbar and a label will appear to tell you about the icon.  Unchecked: no clues on what the icons will do.

The last item is Menu Animations.  It’s a scroll box.  If you click on the arrow to the right of the box, several choices will appear: None, Random, Slide and Unfold.  Click on your choice.  Look carefully at the pull down menus and see if you can see the difference between the various display choices.

I encourage you to try these things.  Being able to control these features is a great feeling.  Keep in mind that the features from this OPTIONS tab work throughout Microsoft Office.  If you change something in Word, it changes for Excel and Outlook as well.  I’m using Office 2000, but other versions of Office are similar.

If you have a computer question you would like answered in this space, send it to tonna@computer-lynx.com.

For past columns of Tips from Tonna, check out the web site: www.computer-lynx.com.

Tonna Kutner, Computer LYNX, works with companies to list and develop their web sites.  Phone (206) 575-3979 or email tonna@computer-lynx.com. Visit Tonna’s website at www.computer-lynx.com.

Printed in "Verve" -  April  2002.  Copyright Tonna Kutner

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