Disappearing Macro Menus

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated September 1, 2014)

Martyn has a large collection of macros that he has built up over the course of several years. Each of these macros has been added to two lengthy custom menus. Recently, if Martyn edits any of the macros and then saves the template, the next time he starts Word all the entries in the custom menus are gone. The only remedy seems to be to restore the most recent backup of Normal.dot and, as a consequence, lose his editing.

There could be any number of reasons why this problem is occurring. The most likely problem is some sort of corruption in the Normal.dot file. Other issues of WordTips address how to handle corruption in the Normal.dot file, but none of those remedies will seem very satisfying in this situation because of the large number of macros that could be lost by salvaging the Normal.dot template.

The best solution is to move the macros out of the Normal.dot template and into a different template. That way, any corruption in Normal.dot will not affect your macros because they are no longer in that template.

For instance, let's say you move the macros to a template called MyMacros.dot. You could then move the template file to Word's Startup folder, where it will be recognized and loaded as a global template the next time you start Word. This means that all the macros within the template are now available at all times, just as they were when they were in the Normal.dot template.

Of course, when you move your macros to a new template (normally using the Organizer or moving them within the VBA Editor itself), this can "break" the menus you created. The reason for this is that the menus--and any custom toolbar buttons--point to the ProjectName.ModuleName.MacroName. When you move the macro to a different template, you are changing the ProjectName and possibly the ModuleName and MacroName.

Your options at this point are to recreate the menus, but if you have dozens (or scores) of macros added to the menus, this can be a real pain. You could, instead, try these general steps, prior to moving the macros, if you are using a version of Word prior to Word 2007:

  1. Choose Tools | Customize to display the Customize dialog box.
  2. On the Toolbars tab, click New. Word displays the New Toolbar dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The New Toolbar dialog box.

  4. Enter the name "Backup1" as the name of your new toolbar, then click OK.
  5. Display the Commands tab of the Customize dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  6. Figure 2. The Commands tab of the Customize dialog box.

  7. At the very bottom of the Categories drop-down list, you will find "New Menu." Drag this option to the newly created Backup1 toolbar.
  8. Name this menu as Backup, plus the same name as your first existing custom menu. So if your first custom menu is Custom1, call this menu BackupCustom1. (This is not absolutely necessary, but will make the new menu easier to later find.)
  9. Repeat steps 1-6, but this time substitute Backup2 for Backup1 and name this menu BackupCustom2.
  10. With the Customize dialog box still open, click on your original Custom1 menu, hold down the Ctrl key, and drag each item from your Custom1 menu to your BackupCustom1 menu, one at a time. By holding down the Ctrl key, you will be copying these items, rather than moving them.
  11. Do the same with the Custom2 menu, copying each item to the BackupCustom2 menu.

Unlike your original menus, these newly created menus (on the new toolbar) can be copied and saved to a brand new template. Use the Organizer to copy the new toolbars and your macro modules to a new template. This template can be placed in the Word Startup folder, as described earlier.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (431) applies to Microsoft Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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