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Word 2010 New Features
Illustration by Neil Webb

Customizing the Ribbon


From:

Word 2010 New Features

with Gini Courter

Video: Customizing the Ribbon

With the changes to the user interface in Word 2007, one of the tradeoffs that dismayed many users was that they couldn't customize that cool new Ribbon to add their frequently used commands or add buttons to run macros that they created. Power users noted that the Quick Access toolbar at the top isn't really robust enough to meet all of their interface customization needs. The user community's feedback to Microsoft was loud and clear: "Let us customize that Ribbon." As a result, customization is back in Word 2010.

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Word 2010 New Features
1h 55m Appropriate for all May 12, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Word 2010 New Features shows how to use the features in Microsoft Word 2010 to proficiently create professionally formatted and richly illustrated documents. Author Gini Courter shows how to use its collaboration and saving tools and takes a complete tour of the Backstage file management system. The course also covers text effects and SmartArt layouts, improved image editing tools, and workspace customization options. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Ensuring document compatibility
  • Managing documents with Backstage view
  • Recovering unsaved documents
  • Co-authoring in SharePoint
  • Adjusting pictures and adding effects
  • Inserting screenshots into documents
  • Reviewing and annotating directly in a document with a tablet computer
Subject:
Business
Software:
Word
Author:
Gini Courter

Customizing the Ribbon

With the changes to the user interface in Word 2007, one of the tradeoffs that dismayed many users was that they couldn't customize that cool new Ribbon to add their frequently used commands or add buttons to run macros that they created. Power users noted that the Quick Access toolbar at the top isn't really robust enough to meet all of their interface customization needs. The user community's feedback to Microsoft was loud and clear: "Let us customize that Ribbon." As a result, customization is back in Word 2010.

Let's see how we can easily customize the Ribbon in Microsoft Word. We're going to open a file that contains a couple of macros that we want to be able to access frequently in multiple documents. Because the file contains macros, a security warning appears that says macros have been disabled. We're going to enable this content. We wrote these macros. We know that they belong in this document. In addition to the macros here, we're going to add one more button that we use when we use those macros.

We can view or record macros from either the View tab or the Developer tab. If we go to the View tab, you'll see Macros here, and you can actually take a look, and notice those two macros here in the document. But we don't have the Developer tab now. Developer tab has some very useful commands for Word 2010, commands to access macros, but also commands to create and protect forms. By default, the Developer tab is not displayed in the Ribbon, and we need to tell Word to display it. Now, if you already know how to switch on the display of the Developer tab in Word 2007, it won't help you very much here in Word 2010.

In Word 2010, adding the Developer tab or any tab to the Ribbon is part of customization. So we're going to start customizing by displaying the Developer tab. To customize the Ribbon, either click File to go backstage, choose Options and choose Customize Ribbon, or right- click anywhere on any Ribbon and choose Customize the Ribbon; either of those will open the Word Options dialog box with Customize Ribbon page showing. All of the commands available in Word are somewhere on this list on the left.

They may not all be popular, but they're all here. On the right, you actually see your Ribbon right now. Here are the Main Tabs, your built-in tabs. You also see a list of specific tabs, Tools Tabs that open, for example, when you're in SmartArt or in a Table, Header and Footer; you can add tabs to any of these places. We'll return to Main Tabs, and you'll notice that the Developer tab is not turned on because its check box is not enabled. To turn on the Developer tab, all we have to do is click. We can then expand that Developer tab to see the groups in the Developer tab and the commands on the Developer tab.

Notice that the commands here are grayed out. We'll talk about that in a moment, but let's take a look, so that you can see the View menu at the same time, and let's expands and notice here, Document Views, Show and Zoom, same thing here, Document Views, Show and Zoom; your specific groups, and then, for example, within Zoom, you have the specific commands that are listed. So this is the structure of your entire Ribbon. The reason the commands are grayed out is that you can't add commands to the built-in groups.

So, if you want to add commands, you have two choices, really. One is you could add a new group, if there was room. For example, here on the end of the View tab, there is room to add another group if you wished. Or you can add an entirely new tab and new groups, and that's the approach that we're going to take. So, we're going to choose Developer and click New Tab, and a New Tab is added directly below the Developer tab. That means that it will appear here to the right of View and Developer, in the area where you'll see other tabs that aren't part of the standard Main Tab set, for example, Acrobat tab, and Add- ins tab and tabs that only appear situationally, like the Tools Tabs that we saw just a bit ago.

Now, we could take this tab and we could move it up, or move it back down, but you're really better off leaving it right where it is, to the right of the Developer tab. If we wanted to move that tab elsewhere and display it, for example, between Home and Insert, it actually changes the tab order of the Main Tabs of the user interface. So displaying it to the right of Developer has the advantage of not messing up the regular tab order for all of our default tabs. We're going to rename this New Tab now. This New Tab is a tab that will hold macro buttons and commands that have to do with settings.

So we're simply going to choose the tab, click Rename and call it Settings. The New Group, where we will add our macro buttons, will have buttons that have to do with how we set margins when we're working with settings. So we're going to rename this, and we're going to call it Margins. A colorful dialog box, you can add symbols to either groups or to buttons themselves. We'll skip the picture and simply choose margins. Then we'll click on Settings again and add one more group, and this group is for the button that we're going to use for formatting that we do when we're setting up our pages.

So we're going to add a New Group, Rename it. We're going to call it Formats. I'm going to close this dialog box so we can see what we've done already, real quickly. Notice here's the Developer tab that we turned on, with all of the buttons. Here's our new tab that we've added, Settings, with two empty groups, lots of empty space but not much to do here. We'll right-click now, go back to Customize the Ribbon and add our commands to the Margins and the Formats tab. The commands that we want to add to the Margins tab are both macro buttons.

So, we're going to click the Choose commands from dropdown, choose Macros. We'll find there are two macros, and I'm going to click Add for each of them to send them both over here. Now, they have very long names: Project.NewMacros.SetCustomMargins. So, let's right-click and choose Rename, and we're going to simply delete the part that says Project.NewMacros, and even the word Set. And if we wanted to, we could associate a picture with this, for example, a picture like that that says set Custom Margins to replace that macro icon.

Again, we can right-click or choose the Rename button, and this will be the Restore Margins button, edit its name and go ahead and put that delete icon on for deleting the Custom Margins. We have one more button that we'd like to add. It's a button that there wasn't space for on the Ribbon; there are a lot of commands that were left off the Ribbon here in Microsoft Word. If you choose commands not on the Ribbon, you can scroll here for a long time. They are in alphabetical order, and the command that we want is called Clear Formats.

So we'll simply scroll down to the area of the Cs. We want Clear Formats, and we actually want that to go here in our Formats group. So I'm going to choose the command I want, the tab and group I'd like it to go to and click Add in order to add that. Let's click OK, and you'll notice that we have our Custom Margins button that runs the Custom Margins macro, our Restore Margins button that runs the Restore Margins macro, our Clear Formats button that we added and our Developer tab - a nice piece of customization that we've done.

By the way, if you ever need to remove the customization, you can simply go back to Customize the Ribbon, choose, for example, Settings. If we wanted to totally eliminate this from the Ribbon, we can turn it off to not display it and keep it, or to simply remove it. We can say Reset all customizations. Now when we do that, it will remove this customization and any other customizations we've done. So you want to use this judiciously. The Ribbon was new in Office 2007, and it was a great interface improvement because it put more commands just one or two clicks away, rather than levels down under menus, submenus and then in dialog boxes.

With some minor customization though, you can make the Ribbon in all of Word 2010 work even harder for you by helping it work the way you do.

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