[Editor's Note: Be sure to also read Beth's follow up to this article. Her Office Toolbar Q&A will provide you with more details. Access it here: What?? No Office Shortcut Bar for Office 2003?? Q & A]
Yes, it is true. Microsoft removed the Office Shortcut Bar (OSB) from Office
BUT all is not lost.
There are several free 3rd party alternatives
available, and you can install the OSB from a previous version of Office,
but for those for those who would rather not install additional software
and utilize toolbar functionally already available in Windows then read on!
Windows toolbar may fit your needs perfectly. I have found a Windows
toolbar has more functionality than the OSB, plus it's much easier to customize.
Creating a Windows Toolbar
a new folder with shortcuts to your applications or shortcuts to folders
you commonly use.
If you are already using the OSB you will find
Office application shortcuts under \Shortcut Bar\Office in the Office
installation path. You can use this folder or copy/move the shortcuts
to another folder.
Only create shortcuts in the folder - do not move folders or applications!
an empty area the Windows task bar and select Toolbars | New toolbar…
If you can not find an empty area, use the area to
the right of the Windows Start button.
the Browse command, navigate to
your shortcuts folder and click OK.
You will see your new toolbar appear in the Windows
all windows, or click the Show Desktop command in the Quick Launch
- Drag your
new toolbar off the Windows task bar. You can drag it to an edge of your
screen if you want your new toolbar docked.
the toolbar if necessary so all shortcuts display on a single row:
- Docked Windows Toolbar
Customizing the Windows Toolbar
Once your toolbar has been created you can utilize various
- To open your shortcut folder to manage shortcuts: Right-click an empty
area of the toolbar and select Open Folder .
remove the text to the right of the icons: Right-click an empty area of
the toolbar and deselect Show Text
2 - Docked toolbar with icon text removed
keep the toolbar on top of other windows: Right-click an empty are of the
toolbar and select Always on Top
- To turn on Auto-Hide: Right-click an empty area of the
toolbar and select Auto-Hide .
- To rearrange
the toolbar shortcuts: Drag the shortcut to the desired location:
Figure 3 - Moving a toolbar shortcut
- To modify
the display icon: Right-click the shortcut and select Properties. Select
the Shortcut tab if necessary and click the command Change Icon.
Figure 4 - Shortcut Properties
- To modify
the tool tip: Right-click the shortcut and on the General tab change the
name of the Shortcut.
You may find the Office 2003 shortcuts contain
additional text. To workaround this issue, create new shortcuts to application’s
view large icons: Right-click an empty area of the toolbar and select View
| Large Icons
Now that you have your toolbar you can easily modify it by dragging
new shortcuts directly onto the toolbar.
Note: To create a shortcut right-drag the object and select Create
Shortcuts Here. Or if copying an exiting shortcut use Copy Here.
For example if you find a
shortcut in your Start menu you would like to see on your toolbar, right-drag
it from the Start menu onto your toolbar and select Copy Here.
Adding Additional Toolbars
You can create additional toolbars for shortcut folders and
add them to your main toolbar.
If you resize the toolbar to display only the toolbar title
(same name as the folder) it will display vertically when you click the More (>>) command.
The sub toolbar needs to be placed at the beginning or the
end of the toolbar to create the menu effect.
5 - Toolbar with sub toolbar displayed as menu
As with any feature there are a few drawbacks.
One major drawback I found is if you close the toolbar you
lose it. It can be easily recreated from your toolbar folder but you have to
go through position, size, on top, etc, all over again.
A second drawback for some is unlike the OSB a Windows
toolbar does not support the Auto Fit into Title Bar area option. I
missed it at first but I happily traded it for ease in customization.
I gave up on the OSB long ago due to my virus scanner
causing a conflict with the On Top option. I decided my virus scanner was more
important (it was a tough choice!) and searched for an alternative. If you are
using a previous version of Office, you too, may decide a Windows toolbar is
more efficient. Once I found the Windows toolbars I have never looked back!