Changing Toolbar Buttons with VBA

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 20, 2018)

There are certain toolbar buttons that when you press them, they change to have a different appearance. For instance, if you press on the Bold tool, the tool takes on a different look, as if it is depressed. This is done by Word by using two different button graphics. The first is the "unselected" appearance, and the other is displayed when the button has been clicked.

You can use a similar trick with your custom toolbar buttons. As an example of how this could work, let's say that you have a toolbar that you use a lot. You have named this toolbar "sampler." You want this toolbar to be displayed when you click a button on a different toolbar. First, you need to create the new toolbar that will contain the single button that toggles the "sampler" toolbar. In this example, the new toolbar will be named "switcher." The following VBA macro can be assigned to a button on the "switcher" toolbar:

Sub SwitchTools()
    ' First check if the toolbar is shown or hidden
    If CommandBars("sampler").Visible Then
        ' Hide the toolbar and change the button image to "normal"
        CommandBars("sampler").Visible = False
        CommandBars("switcher").Controls(1).State. = msoButtonUp
        ' Show the button and change the button image to "selected"
        CommandBars("sampler").Visible = True
        CommandBars("switcher").Controls(1).State = msoButtonDown
    End If
End Sub

This macro toggles the state of the button (using msoButtonUp and msoButtonDown) to make it have the desired appearance.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1122) 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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