Locking the Position of Tools

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated January 23, 2016)

As part of Microsoft's quest to make Word read your mind, the program keeps tabs on which toolbar tools you use most often. These tools are the ones that Word displays on the Formatting and Standard toolbars, and the lesser-used tools are relegated to a "second string" status, and therefore not visible on the screen.

If you want to use one of the second-string tools, click the down arrow at the right side of the toolbar and select the tool you want to use. The tool's command is executed, and the tool itself takes a proud position on the toolbar. A different tool—previously visible on the toolbar—is shuffled off to second-string status to make room for the newly promoted tool.

All this shuffling of tools can be bothersome, not to mention the frustration when Word doesn't correctly read your mind. If you are tired of your tools jumping around, you can instruct Word to display them all, in the following manner:

  1. Right-click on one of the toolbars. You should see a Context menu.
  2. From the Context menu, choose Customize. Word displays the Customize dialog box.
  3. Make sure the Options tab is displayed. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Options tab of the Customize dialog box.

  5. Click the Reset Menu and Toolbar Usage Data button.
  6. Select the Show Standard and Formatting Toolbars on Two Rows check box.
  7. Click OK.

You should notice a change at the top of your Word window. The toolbars that used to take a single row now appear across two rows. All your toolbar buttons should now be visible. The only time they won't be is if the toolbar simply cannot fit entirely across the screen. This may occur if you are running Windows at a low resolution (like 640 x 480) or if you aren't using Word in a maximized window. Since there is no way to show all the toolbar buttons in these situations, you can only increase your resolution or maximize your Word window to solve it.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (7787) 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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