Removing Errant Buttons

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated February 3, 2024)
This tip applies to Word 97, 2000, 2002, and 2003


Larry had a problem getting rid of the vestiges of an old program that added buttons to Word. It seems that when he starts Word, he gets a dialog box complaining of a "Missing Shortcut."

Anyone who has used Word for any length of time knows that there are multitudes of ways in which you can customize the program. You can change toolbars, menus, keyboard shortcuts, and just about everything in between. Not only can you do such diverse customizations, but so can programs that you add to Word. Thus, when you want to remove a particular program that customized Word in some way, the ultimate problem is trying to figure out exactly what sort of customizations were done.

The first thing to check is whether the original software was correctly removed. Typically, this is done in Windows by using Add/Remove Programs from the Control Panel. Assuming that the program has been removed in this way, and there are still problems, you may want to check out the program vendor's Web site to see if other people have had the same problems or if there are support documents that describe how to fully remove the program from Word.

Next you should check to make sure that your toolbars and menus are reset to their default settings. You can do this by using the controls in the Customize dialog box (choose Customize from the Tools menu). You should also make sure that any AutoStart-type macros are removed. (You can see these if you press Alt+F8.)

You should also choose Templates and Add-Ins from the Tools menu to display the Templates and Add-ins dialog box. Make sure there are no unwanted add-ins loaded with Word. If necessary, disable (uncheck) or remove them completely.

Finally, if all the above don't work, rename the Normal.dot template to something else (such as OldNormal.dot) and restart Word. When you restart Word, a new copy of Normal.dot is automatically created, and none of your old customizations are evident. You can then use the Organizer (choose Tools | Templates and Add-Ins | Organizer) to transfer only the customizations you want from the OldNormal.dot template to your squeaky clean Normal.dot.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (1524) 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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