Too-Big Toolbars

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 16, 2016)

If you are one of those people who happily customize Word to look and behave exactly as you want (not as the people in Redmond want), you may have noticed that you cannot create multi-row toolbars. While it appears you can create multiple rows in a toolbar when you have the Customize dialog box open, as soon as the dialog box goes away, your toolbar reverts to a single row.

The reason for this is quite simple--Word will not allow you to create multi-row toolbars, when the toolbar is docked (attached) to one of the sides of your program window. Instead, Word calculates how many toolbar buttons can be displayed in a single row of the toolbar, and then displays only that many. In Word 97, the setting of the Priority property for each button object determines which buttons are displayed. Those with the highest Priority property are given priority and are displayed first. The Priority property cannot be set using the Customize dialog box, however; it can only be set using VBA.

Word 2000, Word 2002, and Word 2003 handle toolbars a bit differently. If there are too many tools to fit on a given toolbar, it adds a small down-arrow at the end of the toolbar. Clicking on the down-arrow displays the tools that could not be displayed and allows you to pick one of them.

There are several ways around the limitations placed on toolbars by Word. One is rather obvious--make multiple toolbars instead of multiple rows. This allows you to dock the two (or more) toolbars right next to each other, effectively creating "multiple rows" of multiple toolbars.

The other option is to drag the toolbar from the side of program window so it is not docked. When the toolbar is free-floating, it can be configured to a rectangle that easily contains all of your desired tools. The drawback to this, of course, is that a floating toolbar can be distracting as you create your document.

If neither of these options is acceptable, you can always change your screen resolution to a higher setting. Changing screen resolution is done within Windows, of course, and depends on the capabilities of your video card and monitor. Changing to a higher resolution allows you to fit more information across the width of the screen, although the size of each screen element will appear smaller.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1299) 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. ...


Pulling Initial Letters from a String

When working with names or a different series of words, you may need to pull the initial letters from each word in the ...

Discover More

Using Multiple References to a Single Comment

Find yourself repeating the same comment over and over? Here's a couple of ways you can save some typing by simply referring ...

Discover More

Specifying a Paper Tray in a Macro

You may want to use a macro to process and then print your document. Part of that printing may involve specifying which of ...

Discover More

The First and Last Word on Word! Bestselling For Dummies author Dan Gookin puts his usual fun and friendly candor back to work to show you how to navigate Word 2013. Spend more time working and less time trying to figure it all out! Check out Word 2013 For Dummies today!


Setting User Information

Need to change the information that Word stores about you? Here's how to find the info.

Discover More

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.

Discover More

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 ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.

Comments for this tip:

There are currently no comments for this tip. (Be the first to leave your comment—just use the simple form above!)

This Site

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.


FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in WordTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.

Links and Sharing