Show Me the Menu!

In the 1996 film Jerry McGuire, Tom Cruise shouts “Show me the money!” I know the feeling, but right now I want Microsoft Word to show me the *menu*–all of it! In Word’s default state, many menu items are hidden until you click the little arrows at the bottom of a menu. For example, if I click the Format menu, only five items show up. If I click the little arrows down south, I get about four times that many. I’m really tired of having Microsoft decide what I can and can’t see. If you are too, here’s how to remedy the situation:

1. Click Tools > Customize. (If you can’t see “Customize,” try clicking the little arrows at the bottom of the menu. Heh.)

2. Click the Options tab.

3. See that check in the checkbox labeled “Menus show recently used commands first”? Get rid of it.

4. Click the OK button.

Now when you click on a menu at the top of your Word window, you’ll see all of the menu items it contains.

Of course, Microsoft Word includes many more commands that aren’t on *any* menu. You can learn more about that here:



After reading last week’s article on inserting boilerplate text, Mary L. Tod wrote:

How is the use of a boilerplate file with bookmarks different from or better than using Word’s built-in AutoText feature?

I responded:

Good question. It’s different in that the entries aren’t stored in a template but in a specific document. But is that an advantage over AutoText? Probably not. Is it better than AutoText? Probably not, since with AutoText you can pick and choose the entries you want to insert. However, it is one more item to include in your bag of tricks, and sometime it may come in handy, which is why I thought it might be worth mentioning in the newsletter.

David King also wrote to suggest using AutoText:

The boilerplate article is a nice trick to get text inserted. What I use often is the auto insert feature which when attached to the normal template is always available. Or you can select a template to store it. I do not know how much text it can hold, but the nice feature is you have the option of storing formatting information by including the paragraph mark.

Brad Hurley wrote:

I use AutoText to insert boilerplate, it’s very fast and efficient.

First I type the boilerplate in a Word document and select the text.

Then, with the text selected, I go to Insert > AutoText > New

I give the entry an easy-to-remember and descriptive name, like “disclaimer.”

From then on, whenever I start to type the word “disclaimer” in a document, Auto-Text pops up and suggests the boilerplate text; to insert the whole shebang all I have to do is hit the Enter key.

If I have a lot of different boilerplates for different purposes and can’t remember all their names, I can quickly find and select the right one by going to Insert > AutoText and reviewing the entries in the menu. It stores any entries you’ve created according to the style of the original text. So if you were using Normal style when you created the boilerplate text, you’ll find your AutoText entry in the Insert > AutoText menu under “Normal.”

Many thanks to Mary, David, and Brad for their messages.



Microsoft Word MVP Shauna Kelly provides particularly lucid and helpful explanations of Word and its features on her Web site, “Making the Most of Word in Your Business”:

She has a number of articles for beginners, along with terrific discussions about styles and formatting; sharing documents; and numbering, bullets, headings, and outlines.

Check it out! You’ll be glad you did.

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