Using the computer toolbar again and again to pull down the same functions is monotonous and stifles productivity.
Ursula Faix, of Sarasota, Fla., offers her time-saving strategies of bypassing drop-down menus so "every command I need is one click away. For me, the most important time-saving technique in Microsoft Word and Excel is to customize the toolbars," she says.
Keep your productivity level rising by maximizing your tech skills. Learn how with Microsoft Office 101...
She offers this advice:
Rather than altering the default toolbars (just in case you want them again), create new toolbars using another name. Start by going to Tools and Customize ..., or right-click on the toolbar.
Choose the New option and name your toolbar.
With the "Make toolbar available to:" box on that screen, you can choose whether to apply it to a specific document or template, or your Normal.doc. (When working in a document, you can go to View and Toolbars to choose the ones you need.)
Next, drag the commands you regularly use onto the new toolbar.
"I set them up similar to the Microsoft toolbars but eliminated all the commands that I never use and replaced them with the commands that are useful to me," Faix explains.
Working in an accounting office, she uses Excel all day. Because she works with charts only occasionally, she removed the Chart Wizard from her new toolbar, along with Insert Hyperlink, Spelling, Drawing and the two Sort buttons.
Instead, her customized toolbar includes commands such as: Format Cells, Insert Rows, Delete Rows, Insert Column, Delete Column, Cell Height and Cell Width.If you use Word all day and often address letters, for example, you can add the "Envelopes and Letters ..." tool to your custom toolbar.
"Once you become accustomed to (the button) placement, your work really becomes more efficient," she says.
You know Microsoft Word ... you know Excel ... you know PowerPoint. But do you know how to make them all work together? Learn how...
Faix particularly dislikes the Print command on the standard toolbar in Word and Excel, which instantly sends the entire document to the printer. "Many times I only want a specific page or a range of pages. To do that, you must go to the File menu, 'Print...' and only then do you see the print dialog box to make choices."
Her solution: Replace the "Print" button on the toolbar with the "Print ..." button, which opens the box of printing options. "That way, each time I click on Print, I can change my options prior to saying OK and not mistakenly send 100 pages to the printer."
So go ahead and give "toolbar customizing" a try on your next Word or Excel document. It could be just the ticket for improving your efficiency and productivity.
The key to working effectively with the Microsoft Office suite of applications is knowing the right tool for the job. When more than one tool is necessary, there are methods to integrate the output created by each one so that each can do the job it was meant to do.
Microsoft Office 101 covers:
- From Excel to Word and PowerPoint
- Fast presentations with Word and PowerPoint
- From Access to Excel and back again
- Hyperlinks: connecting anything to anything else
- Charts and tables from Excel to Word and PowerPoint
- Starting in Word and PowerPoint 2003 and 2007: insert chart object, insert worksheet, object
- Starting in Excel: advantages, caveats, different paste special options, paste options box
- Fast presentations from Word to PowerPoint
- Cleaning up old, ugly presentations
- Outline and multilevel formats in 2003 and 2007
- Alternate Procedures 2003 and 2007 from Word and PowerPoint
- Access and Excel: querying your Excel data, analyzing Access data in Excel, when to import rather than link
- And much more!
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