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How to Keep Obscure (but Useful) Word Commands in Easy Reach

Unless otherwise noted, all instructions and screenshots are from Microsoft Office for Windows.

Believe it or not, even with as many commands as are on the Microsoft Word Ribbon, there are some features that are nowhere to be found. Rather than dig through layers of dialog boxes or try to remember obscure shortcut keys, why not add a few essential (for you) commands to the Ribbon or Quick Access Toolbar? I’ll show you one example, but you can use this technique for any Word function.

Example Command: Adjust List Indents

Most legal users aren’t really happy with the default indentation of the paragraph numbering feature. Short of configuring your own paragraph numbering scheme, though, there doesn’t seem to be much of a way around it.

You can adjust the default List Paragraph Style’s indents on-the-fly by right-clicking on the paragraph number and choosing Adjust List Indents. But you’d have to know that feature’s there to use it.

Or, you could add that feature to the Ribbon and put it in one-click reach. Within Options, go to Customize Ribbon. On the left side, you’ll see a drop-down called Choose Commands From:

word-2016-customize-ribbon-1

Click that drop-down and choose All Commands or Commands Not on the Ribbon. Either way, you’ll be able to find Adjust List Indents in the list. Single-click it to choose it.

Now, to choose where to place it on the Ribbon. Although you can’t alter the existing commands on the Ribbon, you can add a custom Group to an existing Tab, or you can add a whole new Tab with just your favorite commands on it.

For example, if you wanted to add a new personalized Group to the Home tab, choose Main Tabs from the drop-down on the right, expand the Home tab by clicking on the plus sign next to it, then click New Group:

word-2016-customize-ribbon-2

Once you’ve created your new custom Group and have it selected, find Adjust List Indents on the left and click Add. (You can add anything else you’ve been wanting to keep close at hand while you’re here.) To rename your new Group, click the Rename button at the bottom. Once you’ve finished, click OK to close the Options dialog box.

word-2016-customize-ribbon-3

Adding commands to the Quick Access Toolbar

The steps for adding this (or any) command to your Quick Access Toolbar are similar, but you’ll start in a different place. Click the downward-facing arrow on the extreme right-hand edge get the Customize Quick Access Toolbar menu:

word-2016-customize-qat

Word will have some suggestions for you, but you can add just about anything you want. Just click More Commands near the bottom of the list, and you’ll see a screen very similar to the one you saw when you customized the ribbon:

word-2016-customize-qat-2

Once you’ve added the command to the Quick Access Toolbar, you can adjust its position using the up and down buttons on the right:

word-2016-customize-qat-3

What commands would you want to add? Here’s how to get a complete list

Having a tough time figuring out what commands you want to add? Click here for a tutorial on how you can get a full list of commands from your version of Word (including what shortcut keys may already be assigned to them).

(Photo: Jay Tamboli @ Flickr https://www.flickr.com/photos/jaytamboli/3982533600/)

by Deborah Savadra

I spend an inordinate amount of my time playing with computers and attempting to explain technology to lawyers and law office staff. It's not always easy, but someone's got to do it.

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  1. Debra,

    Great advice on customizing the Ribbon and the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). I have been using a customized QAT for quite some time and it is a time saver. I have one suggestion: tell your readers where the settings are stored for the customized QAT and Ribbon. In the corporate world, when one receives a new PC or a PC that has been re-imaged, too often the PC technicians only install what they have been told to do. And, all those spiffy customizations have to be recreated manually unless you have restored the file that contains those settings.

    Best regards.