- [ Team LiB ]
Customizing Your Menus and Toolbars
Outlook now has two methods you can use to customize toolbars to show the buttons and
menus you use the most and to remove the ones you don't use. If you've customized
toolbars in older versions of Office, you're familiar with the first method in which you
drag menus and buttons around with the mouse. Choose Tools, Customize to open the
Customize dialog to create customized toolbars (see Figure 16.2). Select the Toolbars tab
to make a new toolbar, Commands to add new buttons and menus to your toolbars, or
Options to configure display options such as personalized menus and icon sizes.
Figure 16.2. Use the Customize dialog to create customized toolbars.
While the Customize dialog is open, you're in Edit mode and the
normal actions of the buttons and menus are disabled.
The second method of customizing toolbars is the Rearrange Commands button found by
choosing the Customize, Commands menu selection. The Rearrange Commands option is
new to Office 2003 and gives users the opportunity to use an interface to add, delete, or
move commands. Rearrange Commands keeps the menu in view until you're finished
- editing it, which is especially helpful when you're editing submenus.
Get in the habit of creating new toolbars for your customizations rather
than adding custom buttons or menus to the default toolbars. It's too
easy to reset the default toolbars before realizing you have custom tools
Using Rearrange Commands Option
Rearrange Commands is a new way to customize tools in Office 2003. Open the
Customize dialog using Tools, Customize and look for the Rearrange Commands button
on the Commands tab. You'll see a dialog like the one shown in Figure 16.3.
Figure 16.3. Rearrange Commands provides a simple interface for customizing
Using the Rearrange Commands menu, do the following:
1. Choose the menu or toolbar you want to rearrange by selecting the Menu Bar or
Toolbar radio button.
- 2. Choose the menu or toolbar from the drop-down list. The entries are listed in the
order they appear on the menu bar and toolbars, from left to right, and include
3. Add a new command by selecting a command and choosing Add to create the new
command above the selection.
4. Select a command and choose Delete to remove it from the menu.
5. Use Move Up or Move Down to change positions on the command bars.
6. Choose the Modify Selection menu, and then select Begin a Group to add
separators between the tools to group commands. The separator is added above the
selected command, and you can use the Move Up and Move Down buttons to
move separators into new positions.
Table 16.1 lists all the options available when you use Rearrange Commands.
Table 16.1. Rearrange Commands Options
Add Opens the Add Command dialog; use it to add additional tools
Delete Deletes the selected command
Move Up Moves the selected command up one position
Move Down Moves the selected command down one position
Modify Selection Opens a dialog so that you can change how the button or menu looks
Reset Removes all customizations made to the selected menu or toolbar
The Reset button in the Rearrange Commands dialog restores the command bar shown in
the window to its default settings, removing all of your customizations, including any
changes made to submenus.
Changing the Toolbar Appearance
When you select a menu and see just a few commands on the menu along with a round
button at the bottom, as shown in Figure 16.4, personalized menus are enabled. If the
menu doesn't expand after a few seconds, click on the button to expand the menu. If you
don't like personalized menus, you can disable the option on the Options tab of the
Figure 16.4. Personalized menus show the most frequently used commands when
you first open the menu. When the menu remains selected for more than a few
seconds, the menu expands and you can see all the commands on it.
- It's often easier to learn where to look for commands if you disable
personalized menus until you're familiar with the menus.
Personalized menu usage data is stored in C:\Documents and Settings\usernameApplication Data\Microsoft\Office\MSOUTLO.PIP. Each Office program has a *.pip file
in this directory that contains the usage data for its toolbars. You can reset the data for the
Outlook toolbar by choosing the Reset Menu and Toolbar Usage Data button on the
If this is your first time using Outlook, other settings on the Options tab that you might
find helpful are Show ScreenTips on Toolbars and Show Shortcuts in ScreenTips. Both
of these options help you learn the keyboard shortcuts Outlook uses by displaying them
in a small balloon when you hover over a button.
Changes made in the Options tab of the Customize dialog affect all
Office programs, not just Outlook.
Outlook's toolbars dock at the top of the window by default, but they can be placed
anywhere on the screen (see Figure 16.5). You can dock them on the sides of Outlook's
window or float them on the screen. When a toolbar is floating, you can drag any edge in
or out to adjust the height and width of the toolbar, from horizontal to vertical.
Figure 16.5. Dock toolbars on any edge of the Outlook windows or float toolbars
inside or outside the window.
- Move a toolbar by hovering the mouse over the resize handles on the left, holding down
the left mouse button, and dragging the toolbar. When you drag a toolbar close to the
window edge, it changes shape and docks on the window edge. When toolbars are docked
on the left or right window edges, the icons rotate so that they're always in the correct
position; text labels on the buttons remain vertical.
Vertically docked toolbars are helpful to anyone who uses a high-
resolution monitor setting and has a lot of white space on the right side
of the window. Moving the toolbars to the side frees up enough space
at the top of the screen to show more lines of text on the screen.
Two or more toolbars can share a row to save screen space. When you place multiple
toolbars on one row, you'll have some tools that won't fit on the screen. Look under the
Toolbar Options button at the end of the toolbar for the buttons that are hidden. When
you choose a hidden button, the button shows and a less-used tool moves to the overflow
area. This is part of the personalized menu feature which hides less used menu items but
remains enabled if the personalization settings in Tools, Customize, Options are disabled.
Although you can't close the menu bar, you can dock it on any
window edge or float it on the screen. When the menu bar is placed
at the top or bottom of the window, it cannot share the row with
toolbars. But when the menu bar is docked vertically, it can share a
- row with toolbars.
Using the Modify Selection Menu
Use the Modify Selection menu to customize individual buttons or menus. After opening
the Customize dialog from the Tools menu, right-click on any button on the toolbar or
menu to show the Modify Selection menu for that command. If you use the Rearrange
Commands dialog to edit your menus, select the command and click Modify Selection to
show the Modify Selection menu for that command. Finally, selecting any button enables
the Modify Selection button in the Customize dialog, which you can use to modify the
command. Table 16.2 is a list of the Modify Selection options.
Table 16.2. Modify Selection Options
Reset Resets the button to its default appearance.
Delete Deletes the selected command.
Name Names the button. Insert an ampersand (&) in front of the letter you
want to use for keyboard shortcut, and then press Alt+ the shortcut key
to activate the command.
Copy Button Copies the selected button image.
Paste Button Pastes an image to the selected button.
Reset Button Restores a button image to the default image.
Edit Button Opens the button editor so that you can create your own image.
Change Button Enables you to select from a limited selection of included images.
Default Style Uses the default style for the button: text only, image only, or text and
image. The commands are shown in their default styles on the
Text Only Always uses text only.
Text Only (in Uses text only when the button is in a menu. For example, the Tools
- Menus) menu has some commands that include images and others that are text
Image and Uses both images and text for the button. The Reply and Forward
Text buttons use both image and text on both menus and toolbars.
Begin a Group Adds a separator above the command if on a menu, or to the left if on a
Assign Adds a hyperlink to change the action of the command.
Among the commands listed here, Assign Hyperlink is a powerful, yet underused feature
in Outlook. You can use it to create buttons to open and run almost any program or file,
from Windows utilities such as Notepad or Calculator to Word documents or Access
databases, open Web sites, and create preaddressed email messages.
For example, you can enter calc in the Hyperlink field so that when you click the
assigned button, Windows Calculator runs. (Some programs might need the full
pathname, but many Windows utilities need only the filename.) You can use a Web
address, mailto URL, or network path as a hyperlink.
When you want to create a custom toolbar button, pick any toolbar
button from the Commands dialog because Outlook doesn't include
blank toolbar buttons. Add a hyperlink to it and then edit its name and
image. The hyperlink you use displays as the ScreenTip.
Don't choose a menu button, which has a small triangle at the right side.
Use toolbar buttons only.
Task: Create a Custom Command Button
Customizing toolbar buttons enables you to open almost any file or folder and requires no
VBA code. One example of the usefulness of this is for users who upgrade from older
versions and use the Outlook Bar for shortcuts to frequently used files and folders.
This example shows you how to make a shortcut to an Outlook folder, but keep in mind
that you can create a shortcut to any folder or file in the Windows file system:
1. Select the folder you want to use a button to open.
2. Show the Web toolbar (right-click the toolbar area and select Web) and copy the
folder path from the Address bar, which will look like this: outlook:Inbox OutlookTips\Sent Tips (see Figure 16.6).
- Figure 16.6. Copy the folder path from the Web tool's Address bar.
3. Open the Customize dialog (click Tools, Customize).
4. From the Toolbar tab, click the New button to create a new toolbar.
5. Choose any button from the Commands tab and drag it to the toolbar.
6. Right-click on the button you just added and choose Assign Hyperlink. The
Assign Hyperlink dialog opens (see Figure 16.7), and you can select from files or
enter your own URL.
Figure 16.7. Use the Assign Hyperlink button to create toolbar buttons for
7. Paste the folder path in the URL field or browse for the folder and close all open
8. When you click the button, a new Outlook window opens with the folder in view.
To use a Windows folder or file instead of an Outlook folder, enter the file path to the
folder and filename in step 7. You can browse the Assign Hyperlink dialog for the file or
folder or copy the folder path from the Address bar in Windows Explorer. If the Address
bar isn't showing, right-click on the Windows Explorer toolbar and select Address Bar.
When you assign shortcuts to buttons and menus, you should try to
use a key that isn't already in use or that isn't visible on the screen.
When a shortcut is assigned to two different buttons or menus, the
first Alt+ keystroke selects the first button that matches the
- keystroke. When you use the keystrokes a second time, it cycles to
the next instance. After it has cycled to the command you want to
use, you need to press Enter to activate the button.
Adding and Deleting Tools
To customize your command bars, open the Customize dialog by choosing the Tools,
Customize menu selection. When you select a button or menu item, an outline appears
around the edge of the button. Clicking the right mouse button grabs the command so that
you can move it. You can then drag it to the position where you'd like it to appear and
release the mouse button.
If the commands you use the most are missing from the toolbars, you can add them to the
existing toolbars or create new toolbars for them. If the toolbars have commands you
don't use, you can remove them. To add additional commands to a toolbar:
1. Open the Customize dialog and select the Commands tab.
2. Locate the command you need by first browsing the Categories list and then the
3. Drag the command to the toolbar or menu where you want it positioned and drop
To delete commands from a toolbar:
1. Open the Customize dialog and select the Commands tab.
2. Select the command you want to remove and drag it away from the toolbar.
3. Release the mouse button when the cursor displays a small x, which indicates you
want to delete the command from the command bar.
You can move and remove buttons from command bars without
opening the Customize dialog by holding Alt and left-clicking a button.
The cursor image changes, and you can drag the button to a new
position or drag it off the command bar to delete it.
Adding and Removing Separators
Many menus and toolbars have small bars called separators between the buttons (refer to
Figure 16.1), giving you the ability to organize the buttons into groups. You can create
separators using the Begin a Group command found on the Modify Selection menu of a
button or just by dragging a command button.
- Create separators between two buttons by dragging the rightmost of the two buttons
slightly farther from the button to its left. You can remove separators by dragging the
rightmost button closer to the button on the left. Create menu separators by sliding a
menu item down and remove separators by sliding a menu item up.
Changing How Tools Display
As mentioned earlier, each command has a default display setting. The Commands tab of
the Customize dialog displays commands using the default settings. You can change any
button or menu to use any of these settings:
• Text only
• Text only when used on a menu
• Text and image
• Image only
After opening the Customize dialog, right-click on the button you want to change and
choose the command from the Modify Selection menu (see Figure 16.8). The change is
applied immediately so that you can see how it looks.
Figure 16.8. Change the display of the button using the Modify Selection dialog.
- If you're having trouble remembering what some toolbar buttons do,
change the buttons from image only to text and image until you're
familiar with them. You can also enable ScreenTips in Tools,
Customize, Options to help you learn the button images.
Along with changing how the button name and image are displayed, you can also change
the name and the keyboard shortcut used to activate the button. However, it's not a good
idea to change the name or shortcut for the default commands. Doing so leads to
confusion if someone else uses your computer or if you tell someone to look for a
command by name and you forget that you changed the name.
To change a name or keyboard shortcut, open the Customize dialog and right-click on the
button. Enter a new name in the Name field and place an ampersand (&) in front of the
character you want to use as the shortcut. For example, the hot key for Forward is w,
which is entered in the Name field as For&ward.
To activate the command, press Alt+ the character that follows the ampersand. If the
shortcut already exists, pressing Alt+ the character will move you from the first instance
to each additional instance, starting at the top of the window. When you use the same
shortcut more than once, you must press Enter to activate the highlighted command.
If you don't like an image, you can either edit it or paste an image from another tool or
program. All the Office programs have the same Customize dialog and editing options.
You can copy a button image from Word or Excel and paste it on a button in Outlook.
You can also copy any 32x32 pixel bitmap and paste it as a button image.
To copy a button image from Word to use in Outlook:
1. Open Word's Tools, Customize dialog.
2. Right-click on the button whose image you want to use in Outlook.
3. Select Copy Button Image from the Modify Selection menu.
4. Close the Customize dialog in Word.
5. Open Outlook's Tools, Customize dialog.
6. Select the command you want to paste the image on.
7. Right-click on the button and choose Paste Button Image from the Modify
Outlook's button now uses the button image copied from Word.
When copying an image, open the image in your favorite image editor. Select a 32x32
area of the image to copy. Then paste it into Outlook beginning with step 5 in the
- Use Edit Button Image to edit the button images. Select a color and click in the squares in
the Picture field. Double-click to create transparency by erasing color from the squares
(see Figure 16.9).
Figure 16.9. The image editor included with Outlook offers only basic editing
features. Select Erase to create transparent areas. Select Color Picker to choose
from additional colors.
You can paste a bitmap of almost any size in the paste dialog, but
because the button image can only be 32x32, larger bitmaps won't be
recognizable. It's better to resize the image to 32x32 using an image
editor such as Paint Shop Pro than to paste it as a button image. You'll
also want to crop larger images as much as possible before resizing to
Moving Tools on Toolbars
You can position commands anywhere you'd like—in a different order on the existing
toolbar, on a different toolbar or menu, and even on a new toolbar.
When you're just moving the command, hold the Alt key + left mouse button and drag the
button to a new position or toolbar. If you're planning more customizations, use Tools,
Customize and open the Customize dialog. Drag the buttons around to reposition them.
- When you use the personalized menu feature, Outlook remembers
the most frequently used commands and displays them, hiding the
less used commands. You might need to disable this feature if you
have problems finding commands or if your custom buttons don't
seem to stay where you position them.
Modifying the Display of Drop-Down Lists
Along with normal command bar buttons, Outlook includes command buttons that
contain drop-down lists. You're already familiar with the New button on the Standard
toolbar, as well as the menus on the menu bar and the menu commands on some of the
menus with triangles pointing to the right to indicate that they contain more menus.
When you create hyperlinks using a standard button, you can edit any command button
without affecting the behavior of other buttons that were created using the same button.
For example, if you need three buttons, you can drag three copies of the same button to a
toolbar and assign different hyperlinks to each button.
However, you can't edit the predefined drop-down buttons—if you drag a drop-down
button to a toolbar and edit it, the changes are mirrored in the original button. In the case
of the New menu, the changes are reflected in both the New button on the Standard
toolbar and the New menu on the File menu.
When you want to create custom drop-down buttons, you need to use the blank New
Menu button found in Tools, Customize, Commands. Scroll to the bottom of the
Categories list to locate the New Menu category and then drag a New Menu button from
the Commands list to a menu or toolbar.
When you place a New Menu button on a toolbar, the button has the small triangle
pointing down. When you place it on the submenu, the triangle points right, as shown in
Figure 16.10. When it's put on the menu bar, it looks like the other menus and doesn't
have the triangle.
Figure 16.10. When you use menu commands on a toolbar, the commands include
triangles to indicate they include submenus. You can position menus and tool
buttons on a toolbar, menu, or submenu.
- All New Menu drop-downs have most of the Modify Selections menu options dimmed,
and you're limited to deleting the button, resetting it, editing the name, or beginning a
new group. You're also limited to using text for the buttons, not images.
After you've added and named the New Menu command, you can drag buttons to
submenus. When you hover the mouse over a menu, it opens and you can then move the
mouse over the opened menu and drop the tool on it. You might find it easier to use the
Rearrange Commands option on the Commands tab to arrange the submenus.
After you make changes to your command bars, you might decide that you want to
restore the default settings. You can easily reset the command bars:
1. Open the Customize dialog (choose Tools, Customize).
2. Select the Toolbars tab.
3. Select the menu or toolbar by name.
4. Click the Reset button.
If you have many changes to reset, close Outlook, delete outcmd.dat, and restart Outlook.
This restores the toolbars and menus to the default settings and removes every custom
toolbar you created.
[ Team LiB ]