Modifying a Shortcut Menu: MS Word

Dennis Faas's picture

In most applications, you're stuck with whatever the software company decides to put on its shortcut menus (the set of commands that appear when you right-click your mouse). For instance, Mr. Gates must have considered hyperlinks very important because in Word 2003, you can insert a hyperlink from 26 of the 62 shortcut menus.

The shortcut menu that the majority of people use is the Text shortcut menu, which appears when you right-click within the text of a document.

Luckily, you are able to rearrange any of the 62 shortcut menus in Word according to what you find to be important. For instance, if you find that you are always fiddling with the tabs in your documents, you know what a pain it is to always click on Format Tabs. After a while those mouse clicks add up. This tip will show you how to accomplish the task without all that clicking.

Accessing the Shortcut Menu Toolbar

All of the menus in Word reside on toolbars. Even the main menu bar (File, Edit, Viet, etc.) is a toolbar. Shortcut menus are no different, but the toolbar they live on is a bit harder to find. In fact, except for when you customize it, you never see the Shortcut Menu toolbar. When you click on View | Toolbars, you will notice that it isn't even offered.

To see the Shortcut Menu toolbar, select Tools | Customize to display the Customize dialog. You can also right-click on the title bar of any toolbar or an unoccupied area of the main menu bar and choose Customize.

Select the Commands tab. If you want the shortcut menu changes to be available in every document you use, choose from the Save In drop-down list in the Customize dialog.

Next, click the Toolbars tab and check the Shortcut Menus box.

As soon as you check the box, a toolbar will appear on your screen, probably near the top left. Do not press the Close button on the Customize dialog. You can access the Shortcut Menu toolbar only with the Customize dialog open.

Modifying a Shortcut Menu

Word divides shortcut menus into three categories: Text, Table and Draw. This can help you narrow your search for a particular shortcut menu among the five dozen or so choices.

To add the Insert Tabs command to the shortcut menu that appears from within regular text, choose the Text menu on the Shortcut Menu toolbar, then scroll down and select Text.

Now click the Commands tab in the Customize dialog and choose Insert from the list of Categories on the left. Then, in the list of Commands on the right, scroll down until you get to Tabs. Drag it from the Customize dialog to the Text shortcut menu. Once you release the mouse button, the Comment command will appear on the shortcut menu.

After you press Close on the Customize dialog, you'll be able to format tabs via the Text shortcut menu, without moving your mouse from the page!

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