Moving from Word 2003’s toolbars and menus to Word 2007’s ribbon can be a bit of a shock to many users of earlier versions of Word. Some of this shock can be eased, however, by making your most-used tools from Word 2003 as visible as possible in Word 2007.
Contrast the interfaces for Word 2003 and Word 2007. Here, I’ve told Word 2003 to show the Standard and Formatting toolbars on two rows:
Notice that right above the ruler, you see the style name, the font name, and the point size. For the most part, no matter what you’re doing in Word, this information is always there where you can see it.
Now, take a look at the default view for Word 2007:
Here, too, you see the style, font, and point size, at least initially. However, there is room for only a limited number of styles in the gallery. There is no guarantee that the style of currently-selected text is visible in the horizontal list of styles. Moreover, if you move out of the Home tab, style, font, and point size are no longer knowable at a glance.
I’m guessing that the programmers at Microsoft aren’t writers. I can tell this because no veteran Word writer would put up with not knowing at all times the current style, font, and point size. These are vital pieces of information. Well, perhaps you don’t agree. If you don’t, then this post isn’t meant for you. It’s meant instead for users who want to know at all times what’s in their document.
A solution is at hand, however, in the form of the Quick Access Toolbar, or QAT as it’s more affectionately known. First, look at where the Quick Access Toolbar is. It’s up there in the stratosphere, thousands of miles above where you’re working. This means that to see it, you’re going to have to look way above where you’re accustomed to looking. It also means that you’re going to have to move the mouse quite a bit more than you did when accessing the Formatting toolbar in Word 2003 and earlier.
So, let’s move it. Right click the QAT and choose Show Quick Access Toolbar Below the Ribbon, as shown here.
Great. Now the QAT is closer to the battlefield, even if the selection of tools is somewhat lacking. Let’s address that problem right now.
First, let’s add a style tool to the QAT so you can see what you’re wearing, so to speak. Right click the QAT and choose Customize Quick Access Toolbar. Set Choose commands from: to Commands Not in the Ribbon. Click in the list of commands and tap the T key to accelerate to just below the last command that starts with “S”. Scroll up a few commands and look for one that says Style. When you hover the mouse pointer over it, you see this:
The word Classic is the clue that you’re in the right place. With Style selected, click Add to move the command into the right-hand panel. Click the up arrow to the right of the right panel until Style is at the top:
Click OK. Let’s see what it looks like now:
Great! Now we can always tell what style is applied at the insertion point. Not so great, however, is that unless the Home tab is displayed, you can’t necessarily tell what font and point size are selected. Let’s fix that.
In the Home tab, right click the font tool’s dropdown arrow, and choose Add to Quick Access Toolbar. Next, right click the point size tool’s dropdown arrow and choose Add to Quick Access Toolbar.
This done, you’re almost there:
But, there’s a visual problem. If you came here from Word 2003, you’re used to the three tools–style, font, and point size–being side by side. In the list of commands currently on the QAT, click on Font, then click the Move Up arrow to move it to just below Style. Move Font Size the same way.
Once that’s done, the three new formatting tools you added will now be side by side and where you’re used to seeing them.
If you like, you can set up the newly positioned Quick Access Toolbar as a combination of Formatting and Standard toolbar tools so that the tools you need most often are right in front of you:
From left to right, we now have: Style, Font, Point size, New, Open, Save, Bold, Italic, and so on. But, notice which ribbon tab is selected: Review.
Now, no matter which ribbon tab is displayed, you’ll always have those tools at the ready. But, most important, if the style, font, or point size in the current document ever look a little strange to you, you’ll be able to tell at a glance what’s what.