Taking Control of Your Menus

Taking Control of Your Menus

Here’s the scenario:

You’re cruising through the menus in an MS Office program (version 2000 or newer). Maybe you’ve even upgraded recently. Anyway, you’re looking for that really cool thing you did a few months ago. Unfortunately, you can’t seem to find the right menu choice and you can’t remember exactly what you did the last time.

Suddenly you realize that your menus seem to be really short. Where are all of those other options anyway?

Believe it or not, I get a lot of emails where people aren’t able to find all of their menu choices after they’ve upgraded to MS Office 2000 or XP. They know stuff is missing but they’re not sure where to find it.

So, what did they do with all that stuff anyway?

Well, do you see the little double arrow pointing down at the end of each menu?


Click on it. Do you see the entire menu now?

Basically what they’ve done is shortened the menus to include some basic stuff and anything you’ve used recently. (As you use the entire menu to access more choices, the options you actually click on will be added to the list of items seen without using the double arrows.)

OK—that’s great, but what if you don’t feel like using the double arrows time and time again? What if you’re a “cruiser” who needs to see the whole list to remind yourself where to go? What then?

Is there any way to restore your menus to the way you’re used to seeing them?

The answer is yes, of course—but how?

To take a look at your menu options we’ll need to go to the Tools menu, Customize choice. (Or right click over a toolbar and choose Customize from the list.)

In the Customize window you’ll need to go to the Options tab.

The top portion of the window should now contain a section called Personalized Menus and Toolbars.

For the Office Suite 2000 you’ll see these two choices.


In this section, you have a couple of check boxes at your disposal. One of them should read “Menus show recently used commands first“. Then below that there should be a check box for an option to “Show full menus after a short delay“.

These two options control the new way the menus are behaving.

The first option, “Menus show recently used commands first”, when checked is what creates the shortened menus and the double arrows at the bottom of the menus.

If you uncheck this box then your menus will show all options all the time. (In other words, you’re back to the way they were in previous versions of MS Office.)

If you leave the first option checked then you have another decision to make regarding menu behavior. The second checkbox, “Show full menus after a short delay,” will tell the program to display an entire menu (without clicking on the double arrow) if you let the mouse pointer sit on the menu. It takes a few seconds to trigger the full menu using this method, but if you’re patient then it is an option.

If you uncheck this second box then the menus will stay shortened until you click on the double arrow.

Now, for the users of newer MS Office Suite versions, you’ll see something like this.


If you want to display full menus (as opposed to the shortened menus) check the “Always show full menus” box.

The “Show full menus after a short delay” options works the same as in Office 2000. If checked, the program will display an entire menu (without clicking on the double arrow) if you let the mouse pointer sit on the menu.

Either way, make your choices and then click the Close button.

There you go—just a little bit of menu control. They wouldn’t want to give us too much control – just a little bit. 😉

~ April

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