Thursday, June 19, 2014

Customizing Word 2013 with Time-Saving Tweaks Part 3

This post is the last of a series of three showing useful tweaks that can be made to Word 2013 to customize settings to best meet your personal needs.  In Part 1, we discussed the mini preview toolbar, start screen, and auto recovery settings.  In Part 2, we discussed formatting inserted pictures, settings for recent and quick access documents, and the vertical ruler.

This post covers more of the settings that can be customized to make Word work better for your individual needs.  To access these settings, open Word, click File in the upper left corner and select Options in the left pane.

Quick Access Toolbar
The quick access toolbar allows you to add toolbar items directly into the upper left corner above or below the menu tabs.  This feature allows quicker access to commonly used tools as it prevents navigating the ribbon bar.  An example of some tools in the quick access toolbar looks like this:  

To modify what items are in the quick access toolbar, in Options, select the Quick Access Toolbar section.  Choose if you want to modify the quick access toolbar for the current document, or all documents, using the drop down menu.  To add items to the quick access toolbar, click on toolbar items listed in the left, then click the add button in the center.  NOTE:  If you do not see a toolbar item you are looking for, try selecting a different command form type from the left drop down menu to reveal many more toolbar groups. 

Once all the items have been added to the quick access toolbar, click OK to save these settings or reorder them.  To reorder the items in the quick access toolbar, click on an item, then click the up or down arrows on the right side to move the item.  Continue to move items until you have the preferred order.  The items at the top will be the leftmost items in the quick access toolbar.  To move the quick access toolbar below the ribbon menu, instead of the default which is above the ribbon menu, check the box next to "Show Quick Access Toolbar below Ribbon" .

Modifying Style Defaults
Document styles are sets of styles preset by Word that can be used in different areas of a document to help define those areas.  Styles include font size, type, appearance, line spacing, indentation and more.  The available styles appear on the Home tab of the ribbon menu and look like this:  

To modify any of these preset styles, right click on the name of the style to modify, and click "Modify".  The Modify Style box will open and you can change the font style, size, color, appearance, as well as paragraph spacing, alignment and indentation.  To keep from overwriting the existing style, change the name of the style at the top of the modify style box.  Make sure the box is checked next to "Add to the styles gallery" so the style is easy to access.  

As you make changes, the style preview box will reflect the changes made so you will always know what the style will look like in a document.  Additionally, there is a summary list showing the style information under the preview box that will update as changes are made.  Verify all the settings have been changed to the desired format and click OK.  NOTE:  Click the Format button at the bottom to access even more style settings that can be modified.

Customizing the Ribbon Menu
The ribbon menu has tabs that group together toolbar items of similar type.  This helps organize the most commonly used settings together for convenience.  However, since everyone uses Word differently, and works on different types of documents, the tools that are used by one person may not even be necessary to another.  Customizing the ribbon menu can make it easier to find the items you most often use and save time.  All of the tweaks listed below are modifications to the ribbon menu.  To modify the ribbon menu, in Options, click "Customize Ribbon". 

To Show / Hide Menu Tabs
Check or uncheck the box next to the name of the tab you want to show or hide.

Renaming a Tab
To rename a tab, click on the tab, and click the "Rename" button at the bottom.  Type in a new name and click Save.

Reordering Tabs and Groups
To reorder a tab or group, click on the tab or group name.  Using the up and down arrows on the right, click until the tab or group is moved to the appropriate location.

Customizing a Tab
To customize a specific tab, click the plus next to the name of the tab to show the groups under the tab.  To expand a group, click the plus next to the name of the group.  Each group has any number of similar toolbar items.  For example, the home tab has a Clipboard, Font, Paragraph, Styles, and Editing group as the default groups.  Each of these groups have a few tools in them.

Unfortunately, you cannot modify the existing group by adding or removing tools which is why they are grayed out when you expand a group.  Instead, you can remove groups or create new custom groups with whichever toolbar items you prefer.  To remove a group, click on the name of the group, right click, and select "Remove".

Creating a New Group
To create a new group, click the name of the tab to create the group under and click the "New Group" button.  Right click on the new group and select "Rename" to give the group a custom name.  Once the group is created and named, click on toolbar items on the left and click the "Add" button in the middle to add the toolbar items to the new group.  As you add each new item they will appear under the new group.  Continue to add items until finished.

Creating a New Tab
If you want to customize beyond creating a new group, try creating a new tab.  Click the "New Tab" button which will create a new tab with one new group.  To rename the tab, click the tab name and click the "Rename" button.  Enter a new name and click "OK".  Add new groups as needed by clicking the "New Group" button.  Rename groups by clicking the name and clicking the "Rename" button or right clicking and selecting "Rename".  Add toolbar items to each group as needed by clicking on the commands on the left and then clicking the "Add" button.  Rearrange the groups and tabs by clicking on the group or tab names and using the up and down arrows on the right.

There are plenty more settings that can be customized in Word 2013 and these are just a few.  However, these settings were chosen specifically because once implemented they can save time by increasing efficiency.  These tweaks are some of the settings that can customized in Word that are most likely to help anyone's particular needs.  ain.

As always, good luck and happy customizing!

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