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Add a custom macro menu to Word

Don't wander through Word's menu hierarchy every time you want to execute a macro. Add a custom menu and those macros will be just a click away.
In the previous blog post, I mentioned bypassing Word's built-in print options via a specialized printing macro. Now, the trouble with macros -- if you have a lot of them -- is access. Executing a Word macro requires five clicks unless you've assigned a shortcut. That's a lot of steps to access an automated task! If you have a lot of macros and a short memory (memorizing a lot of shortcuts is more troublesome than negotiating the macro menu structure), add a custom menu for quick access to the macros you use most often. First, add a new menu to the menu bar and then drag macros to the new menu, as follows:

  1. Launch the Customize dialog box by double-clicking a toolbar or menu or by choosing Customize from the Tools menu.
  2. Click the Commands tab.
  3. Choose New Menu from the Categories list (the last option). Doing so will update the Commands list to the right.

  1. From the Commands list, drag New Menu to Word's menu bar and drop it in the position you want.

  1. Right-click the new menu on the menu bar.
  2. Return to the Categories list in the Customize dialog box and choose Macros. Doing so will display all the macros in the current document in the Commands list. If the list is blank, specify the current document in the Save In control (at the bottom of the dialog box).

  1. Drag each macro, one by one, to the Macros menu and drop it.

  1. Once all the macros are in the menu, right-click each and change its Name property to something more friendly and descriptive. Remember to insert an ampersand (&) to the left of the character you want to assign as a shortcut.

  1. Once you've renamed all the macros, click Close.
  2. Change the default Name setting to &Macros. That way you can quickly access this menu by pressing [Alt]+M.

  1. To execute a macro, press [Alt]+M or click the Macros menu. Choose a macro from the list or press its shortcut combination.
If you have only a few macros, one toolbar works fine. On the other hand, if you have several macros, you might want to create multiple macro menus and categorize the macros by function, user, and so on -- whatever makes the most sense. Customizing the Word 2007 Ribbon isn't as easy as adding a new menu to the menu bar is. To execute a macro in Word 2007, click the Developer tab, click Macros in the Code group, select a macro, and click Run.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

5 comments
Amnezia
Amnezia

I'm using Word 2003. I right-click on the NEW MENU item on the toolbar, then when I then click on the MACRO menu in the dialogue box, the right-click menu closes - as it does whenever you right-click then click outside the context menu. Then when I drag the macro to the NEW MENU menu, it just gets added to the toolbar alongside the NEW MENU item. How do I get the macros onto the NEW MENU toolbar menu?

jonc2011
jonc2011

Susan - tried to submit this via feedback, but failed, so putting here instead. I would be very grateful for your advice on whether Word 2010 has solved the "problems" that prevented me using Word 2007, mainly (i) lack of customizable macro buttons and (ii) the inability to wrap and organize the quick access toolbar. Your advice, or from other readers welcome.

mhudnall
mhudnall

In 2007, I have found very limited capability to customize macro buttons for the quick access toolbar. Select the Down arrow at the far right of the Quick Access Toolbar. When the dropdown menu appears, select More Commands. When the Word Options dialog appears, in the Choose Commands From dropdown, select Macros. When the macros appear, select them and add them to the list on the right. In the list on the right, select the macro you wish to modify, and click the Modify button at the bottom of the dialog. When the Modify Button dialog appears, you can select a symbol from the list and modify the name of the macro in the text box. What I have not figured out how to do is select a symbol outside the list provided in the dialog. Susan, do you know what file the symbols are stored in and whether it's editable?

jonc2011
jonc2011

Thanks mhudnall - my experience exactly. I like the ability to copy buttons or make your own in Word 2003 and would NEVER use a word processor that doesn't allow that. OpenOffice is also excellent. Sorry to hear of your Word 2010 problems Susan - I guess I will find out one day if Microsoft have woken up.

ssharkins
ssharkins

I had 2010 for a short while. That system went up in flames... Okay, that's an exaggeration, but I had to reformat -- lost everything and haven't downloaded the beta again. I haven't really tried to keep up with 2010. Sorry I'm not much help on this one.