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We are all different and we all have preferences. Each person has a certain way of working, work and should organize his work space to match his work pattern. The same applies to working with software.

Word has so many options that if you displayed all of them, you would have no place to write anything! So let us put some order and arrange the stuff that you use all the time so that they can be accessed easily, and hide the things that you don't.

Nothing is lost, and you can always change your mind, of course.

There are 3 main areas that should be customized:

  1.   Toolbars
  2.   Keyboard shortcuts
  3.   General options.


Take a block note and a pen. Go to Tools/Customize-Commands. The “Customize” dialog box will appear, as shown below.

Customize Word

Spend some time scanning through the available functions and write on the block note those you use constantly and those you should.

While doing so, you may very well come across functions you didn’t even know about. Don’t worry, few people do.

If you don’t understand what a function does, select it and click on the “description” button. A short explanation will display.

Create a new toolbar (same dialog, click on toolbar and on new. Type a name and make it available in “normal.dot”) A small empty tool bar will appear (floating. It just looks like a small grey square).

Go back to “Commands” (still in the Customize dialog), and using your mouse, drag the commands you want – which you wrote on the bloc note – from the dialog box to the new toolbar. If you want, you can create a few separate toolbars using the same principle.

Give a miss to the things you usually do with shortcuts. Now, some commands may not have an icon yet. Right-click on it and you will have the possibility to choose an icon or edit (create) the icon. It’s pretty easy. Just play with it and you will figure it out. When you have an icon and the text, right click again and select “Default Style” to display the icon only.

To separate the icons, right-click and select "begin a group" on the first Icon.

When your toolbar is ready, close the “Customize” dialog and bring your new toolbar with the others, just below the menus. Then, right-click on the toolbars and unselect all the other tool bars. When you are done, you should have only the menus and your toolbar with all the stuff that YOU use. With time, you will want to add functions or remove functions. It works just the same way.

Occasionally, you will need a specific toolbar, which you don’t need on a day-to-day basis, like the reviewing toolbar. When needed, just right-click and select the toolbar you want.

The key point is to keep only the stuff you need and clean up your workspace. Things are clearer, all your tools are available and you have as much space as possible to type and arrange your documents. Nirvana. ;-)