Got a version of Word that uses the menu interface (Word 97, Word 2000, Word 2002, or Word 2003)? This site is for you! If you use a later version of Word, visit our WordTips site focusing on the ribbon interface.
Word can be configured to show what is most useful for you. For example, you may not need to see ScreenTips or spelling errors, but you may need to turn on nonprinting characters or the Developer tab of the ribbon. Check out these tips to take advantage of Word's configuration options.
The following articles are available for the 'Customizing Word' topic. Click the article's title (shown in bold) to see the associated article.
Changing Built-in Word Commands
Want to replace Word's internal commands with your own macros? It's easy to do if you know the key discussed in this tip.
Changing Color of the Insertion Point
In your quest to customize Word, you may change the colors used to display your document. After doing so, it may become easier than ever to "lose" the insertion point. Picking a different color for the insertion point might make it easier to use Word, but changing that color may be a quest for the impossible.
Changing Colors of Spelling and Grammar Underlines
The red and green wavy underlines used in Word can be a boon for proofing a document, but they are of little use if you have a certain type of color blindness. This tip explains some things you can do to hopefully change those colors to something you can see.
Changing Measurement Units
When working in Word's dialog boxes, most people understand that you should enter measurements using inches. If you don't like inches, you can change the default unit of measurement to something more to your liking.
Changing the Insertion Point Cursor
Want to change the characteristics of the insertion point used by Word? You may be out of luck, unless you make some changes in Windows itself.
Changing the Startup Directory
When you start Word, it makes an assumption about where your documents are stored. If you want to force Word to change that assumption, you can follow the steps in this tip.
Controlling Scroll Bars
Scroll bars are helpful if you have a document that won't fit entirely within the program window. Here's how to turn off the scroll bars if you have no need for them.
Custom Menu Stays, but Options Disappear
It can be disconcerting when a custom menu you've used for years suddenly loses all the options it previously contained. Here are some things you can check out to help track down the problem.
Displaying Actual Font Faces
Want to see font samples as you contemplate which fonts to use in your document? Word provides an easy way to do this.
Displaying Nonprinting Characters
Nonprinting characters are a great boon when you are editing a document. Turn them on and you can easily see what characters make up your text. Here's how you can control which of the nonprinting characters Word displays.
ScreenTips are those small, yellow boxes that appear when you hover over different objects in Word. You have complete control over whether they appear or don't appear, all by making a simple configuration change in the Options dialog box.
Displaying Shortcut Keys in ScreenTips
ScreenTips can appear with or without shortcut keys displayed in them. Here's how to control whether they appear or not.
Displaying the Ruler
The ubiquitous ruler appears at the top of every Word document. It is so common place, that you may forget that it is easy to turn off or on, as your needs dictate. This tip explains how you can use the View menu to control the display of the ruler.
Factory Default Settings for Word
Do you long for a way to reset Word to a "factory default" condition? It is almost impossible to get things to the way they were the day you installed, but there are a few things you can do, as described in this tip.
Getting Rid of the Paste Options Box
Paste something in a Word document, and you may notice a dynamic little set of options appear right next to what you pasted. If you find these "paste options" distracting, you can configure Word so that they aren't displayed.
Helpful Pop-up Screen Tips
Screen tips can be helpful to people reading your document on-screen. Using the technique described here, you can add screen tips to any words you want.
Locking Down Word
How to configure Word to avoid changes in the environment.
Locking the Position of Custom Toolbars
Is your Custom Toolbar in a new place each time you open Word? Here are some solutions.
Quickly Switching Languages
Setting up macros to switch between languages easily.
Returning Word to Default Settings
Want to set everything back to a pristine state in Word? Doing so is more involved than you may believe.
Setting User Information
Need to change the information that Word stores about you? Here's how to find the info.
Speeding Up Document Display
Are your documents displaying too slowly? You can configure Word so that it is as quick as possible on displaying by using draft fonts.
The Case of the Disappearing Icons
Troubleshooting your custom icons on the Toolbar.
A quick method of placing your open documents side by side on the screen.
Work around Words inability to have a multi-row toolbar.
Turning Off Automatic Capitalization
When you start typing, do you ever notice those times that Word starts capitalizing words at the start of what it thinks are your sentences? If this drives you nuts, you have complete control over turning it on or off. Here's how.
Turning Off Capital Corrections
If you type two capital letters at the beginning of a word, Word assumes that you made a typing error and will attempt to correct your mistake. If you don't want Word to make this assumption, you can turn off this AutoCorrect feature.
Turning Off ScreenTips
All those little ScreenTips bug you when moving through Word's toolbars? You can turn them off by following the steps in this tip.
Turning On Property Information Prompting
You may want to make sure that users of a document fill in the properties associated with a document. In most versions of Word, you can configure the problem to require this information, or at least prompt the user for the information before the document is saved.
Create a macro to return Toolbars to the default settings.
Understanding View Options
Understanding the options available on the View tab of the Options dialog box based on the view you are using.
Updating Automatic Links
Normally, Word updates links within your document when you first open the document. If you don't want Word to do this, you can configure the program to forego the update.
Word Won't Start Right
Sometimes it seems that no matter what you do, you can't display Word on your screen. If this is the case, it could be due to the Word program window simply being outside of what you can view. Here's the solution.
The following are additional topics related to the subject of Customizing Word. A bracketed number after the topic indicates how many articles are related to that subject.