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Chapter 2. Customizing the Office Interf... > Controlling Automatic Interface Chan...

Controlling Automatic Interface Changes

Just as in previous Office XP versions, menus and toolbars in every Office program play a potentially confusing game of “now you see 'em, now you don't”—at least until you get around to disabling the controversial personalized menus and toolbars feature. In other Windows programs, toolbars and pull-down menus are fixed. In Office, menus and toolbars change dynamically as you use the program. In a default installation, each Office program monitors your usage patterns and “personalizes” menus and toolbars. The idea is to reduce clutter by showing you only the menu choices you use regularly, rather than potentially overwhelming you with a long menu that contains many choices. In the case of toolbars, where there's not always enough room to see every button, the feature moves buttons you use onto the visible part of the toolbar and hides those you haven't used lately. In practice, personalized menus and toolbars can actually increase your confusion quotient by causing menu choices and toolbar buttons to disappear and reappear, seemingly at random. The problems are especially acute for expert users who know an application's menus from top to bottom, inside and out.

You can configure the precise way that personalized menus and toolbars behave, and if you don't like this feature, you can disable it completely. This section explains how the process works, and how you can take charge of it.


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