Customize Word toolbar buttons

Here are step-by-step instructions for editing any of the buttons on your Word toolbar.

In my previous article, “Use this Word macro to paste unformatted text quickly and easily,” I described how to create a simple Word macro that would paste unformatted text. To make use of this macro, we had added it to Word’s Formatting toolbar, but it looked out of place. In this article, I describe how to customize our new macro button so that it looks more like a standard Word button.
These instructions and screen shots are for Microsoft Word 2000 SR-1. Although these instructions may work with earlier versions of Word, the dialog boxes and drop-down menus may be a little different.
Getting started
When I left you last, our new macro button had just been added to the Word Formatting toolbar as shown in Figure A.

Figure A
The Normal.NewMacros.Paste_Unformatted button is just too big for the Formatting toolbar.

Before we go any further, let’s decide how to customize our new button. To make our new button more like the buttons around it, I think we should change the button to only display an image and make that image similar to the standard Paste button shown in Figure B.

Figure B

To begin customizing our macro button, click View | Toolbars | Customize. This will open the Customization dialog box shown in Figure C.

Figure C
With this box open, both toolbars and buttons can be customized—but neither will perform their normal operations until it’s closed.

Copy the standard Paste button
Since we’re going to create a button image similar to the standard Paste button, right-click on the Paste button to open the drop-down menu shown in Figure D.

Figure D
From here, you can change several button attributes.

This menu allows you to do several things, but for our purposes, you’ll need to click Copy Button Image. Next, right-click the Normal.NewMacros.Paste_Unformatted button to open the same drop-down menu. Click the Image And Text option to make sure you can see your new button image. Clicking Image And Text will cause the drop-down menu to close. Simply right-click the Normal.NewMacros.Paste_Unformatted button to reopen it. Now click Paste Button Image. The drop-down menu will close, and your macro button should now have both an image and a text label as shown in Figure E.

Figure E
Our new macro button now has an image and text label.

Now right-click on the Normal.NewMacros.Paste_Unformatted button again and click Default Style. The drop-down menu will disappear, and you will be left with only the copied image as shown in Figure F.

Figure F
Be careful not to confuse the copied image with the original Paste button.

Edit the copied image
Although the copied image looks better than the larger text label, it is easily confused with the standard Paste button to the left. You could move your new macro button to a different place on the Formatting toolbar or even to another toolbar altogether. But I think its current location is convenient and I would rather leave it alone.

To help you tell the two buttons apart, you can use Word’s handy image editing tool. To use this feature, first make sure the Customize window is open and then right-click on the new macro button. Now click Edit Button Image to open the Button Editor shown in Figure G.

Figure G
This editor only offers 16 colors, but you can use them any way you like.

You will want to keep the general shape of the standard Paste button, while making sure that the new macro’s button can be easily distinguished from its predecessor. To accomplish this, you can change the color of the page in front of the clipboard from blue to red. Simply click the red block from the Colors area and click the image square you wish to paint red. Repeat this process until you’ve changed all parts of the page red. Figure H shows a partially completed button image.

Figure H
A partially completed button image

Once you’re finished editing, click OK to close the Button Editor and then Close from the Customize dialog box. Your new Paste_Unformatted macro button is now a part of the Formatting toolbar (see Figure I).

Figure I
You can now easily distinguish between the new macro and the standard Paste button.

Don’t forget to save your work
Depending on how your version of Word is set up, when you exit Word, you may be told that you have made changes to the and asked if you would like to save these changes. Click Yes to save the new toolbar configuration to the standard Word template, making your button available each time you use Word. If you are not asked to save the changes to the, odds are it is being automatically saved upon exit. Reopen Word and your new button should be there.
What do you think of this tip? Do you have a Word tip you would like to share? Post a comment or send us a note.


Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

Editor's Picks