Before Microsoft introduced The Ribbon in Office 2007, there were toolbars. This Classic Tip shows how old Office toolbars worked in Word. Plus you’ll see how to work around The Ribbon with Search Commands.


As I’ve mentioned before in Classics Rock, I’m no great fan of the Office 2007 Ribbon. In a previous post, I pointed out how much better things were in Excel before The Ribbon. Today’s Classic Tip comes from the July 17, 2000, edition of the TechRepublic Word Techmail and may point out where Microsoft got the idea that The Ribbon would be a beautiful idea:


July 17, 2000


No matter which version of Word you use, Toolbars save precious time

and make you more productive. To display a toolbar, open the View menu,

choose Toolbars, and click on a toolbar option. When you do, Word

displays the new toolbar on your screen.

The problem is that Word by default puts different toolbars in

different locations and forms. The thing toolbar enthusiasts often

overlook is the ability to customize a toolbar’s location and shape.

Suppose you like all of your toolbars in horizontal rows at the top of

your screen. When Word displays a new toolbar floating out in the top-

right corner of your screen, click on it and drag it under the other

horizontal toolbars. When the “ghost” image of the toolbar you’re

dragging changes from its original shape to a thin, horizontal

rectangle, release the mouse.

On the other hand, for convenient access, you can drag any horizontal

toolbar out into your document area at any time. Just click on the

“handle,” that heavy white, shadowed line at the far-left edge of the

toolbar (or click in the space between any two icons on the toolbar–a

bit trickier, but possible), and drag. The “ghost” outline image of the

toolbar will be a rectangle. Drag it to where you want it and release

the mouse. To fine-tune that rectangular shape, click on the borders to

make the floating rectangle taller and thinner or shorter and wider.


I’m sure the software designers at Microsoft got to thinking about the dozens of toolbars that some users may have cluttering up the screen and figured that something like The Ribbon would clear it up. Arguably it is a cleaner design than having random toolbars scattered about, but still…

Dealing with The Ribbon

Fortunately, there is a new tool out that will help us Ribbon-Haters who are forced to contend with Office 2007. It’s an add-on utility from Microsoft out of the Office Labs called Search Commands.

Search Commands is an add-on for Microsoft Office that allows you to find the long lost commands in Microsoft Office that have been buried by The Ribbon. It works with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, not the other Office 2007 components. That’s just as well because the rest of the packages haven’t been damaged too much by The Ribbon yet.

Once you download and install the add-on, it adds another tab to the top of The Ribbon. Click the Search Commands tab, and then you can enter the command you’re trying to find. The results will appear next to the search box as shown below:

You can then just click on the result you want. It will automatically execute the given command. No more digging through The Ribbon.

Search Commands is a handy tool. If you hate The Ribbon as much as I do, I suggest downloading and installing this tool right away.