Chapter 23. Customizing Office

Lots of people use Office: graphic artists, school teachers, screenplay writers, legal secretaries and even rocket scientists. Everyone can think of ways to make Office work better. In an effort to capture market share and keep all its users happy, Microsoft has made Office extremely customizable.

Very few elements of the way you work in Office are set in stone. Word, Excel, and PowerPoint each let you redesign the toolbars and even rework the menus. In Word and Excel, you can also choose different keyboard equivalents for commands. (Outlook is closest to off-the-rack software. You can customize its toolbar, but that’s about it.)

Even if you’re a novice, customization is worth exploring. There will almost certainly come a day when you wish you could choose an easier function keystroke than the one Microsoft chose, or find yourself repeatedly digging for a submenu command. With this chapter as your guide, you can be your own software tailor.

Customizing the Ribbon

The ribbon wasn’t designed to be customized—in fact, just the opposite. Microsoft wanted to group the most commonly used commands on a toolbar-like panel; but, unlike the highly customizable toolbars, the ribbon widgets were meant to stay in one place. Why? If you’re responsible for training and troubleshooting Office issues at your company, you already know the answer. It’s hard to help colleagues who have completely rearranged their menus and toolbars. Customizable toolbars are great for power-users, ...

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