The Case of the Disappearing Icons

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 9, 2017)

Subscriber Dennis Contat wrote about a problem he was having with Word on his work computer and his home computer. He created some macros and assigned those macros to custom icons on a toolbar. He was able to do this on his home computer, and he was able to transfer the macros to his work computer by copying the Normal.dot file. But the custom toolbar buttons did not copy. The buttons were actually on the work computer, but they were blank, with no pictures on them. Further, he could not create any custom toolbar buttons on the work machine.

Word stores macros in template files; this is well known. If you stored your macros in the Normal.dot template, and then copied that template to another machine (running the same version of Word), then those macros would be available on that other machine.

Changes to toolbars are also stored in templates, but it appears that the custom icons that appear on the buttons are not stored in templates, however. They are stored (for some reason) in the Registry. Thus, they are not so easily transferred from one machine to the other.

The way to try to fix this problem is to copy the Normal.dot file to the work computer, then reset the toolbar completely. (This is done from the Toolbars tab of the Customize dialog box.) Then, try to add the three buttons from scratch and customize their icons. If this does not work, it could be because you don't have the proper permissions on your work computer to write to the Registry. If this is the case, a check with your company's IT department should determine how to fix the situation.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1341) 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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