Speed up tasks with customised menus

With the new version of Microsoft's Office suite released in January 2007, it will be interesting to see how long it takes for many companies to upgrade. Although Office 2007 is touted as having better workflow functionality, including much improved collaboration tools, one must wonder if this will be offset by the completely redesigned user interface.

Although Microsoft regards this redesign as intuitive, it can certainly take a while to get used to. Not much is where it used to be, and for users that have been using Bill's Office suite for more than a few years, the statement "better workflow functionality" may take a while to get used to. Admittedly, once you begin to know your way around the completely overhauled application, things do tend to flow better, but it remains to be seen how this will affect day-to-day business functionality until a level of experience is gained.

Until you or your workplace take the plunge, we can show you some tips that will make your workflow improve in Office 2003 and earlier. By combining all of your regularly used commands into one easy-to-access menu group, you will find things can be done quicker, allowing you to move onto other jobs, or maybe even get out of the office that little bit earlier!


1. You can customise any menu in Microsoft Offi ce to include only the commands you use most often. This can effectively speed things up, since you no longer have to scroll through commands to get to the one you need. To get started, click on the Tools menu and select Customize.

2. The Customize dialogue box will then pop up. Before you begin customising your menu, decide which commands you want to add. Which tools do you use most often? If you use lots of tools that are spread across different menus, you could create a special menu that brings them all into the same place.

3. Use the Customize box to build a menu and fill it with the commands you use most frequently within that application. Click on the Commands tab, then scroll through the Categories list on the left to find the New Menu option. Click on it to select it and a New Menu listing will appear in the Commands list on the right.

4. Once New Menu has appeared in the Commands list, click on this and drag it to where you would like it to appear in the toolbar. When you drop it on to the toolbar, a New Menu button will appear. Right-click on the New Menu button and simply overwrite the wording in the drop-down list to rename it.

5. Return to the Customize dialogue options. Click on a category, then drag-and-drop a command on to the blue tab that appears below the New Menu. It can be fiddly to get the hang of, but commands will appear on the drop-down menu. Repeat the process to add as many commands as you wish, then click Close.

6. Another way to make finding and accessing tools more efficient is to declutter the toolbars and drop-down menus. Click on the deep blue vertical bar to opt between a single or double-deck menu bar. From this point, you can banish formatting or toolbox items using the Add or Remove Buttons tab.



When you have finished typing a document, it's always a good idea to check your spelling and ensure that you haven't left any bloopers in the text. But rather than flicking through menus, a quick way to access spellcheck is to press the <F7> key.

APPLICATIONS BEHAVING BADLY When an application has hung and you can't get it to work, force it to quit. The quickest way to eradicate this misbehaviour is via the Task Manager. Simply hold down <Ctrl> , <Alt> and <Delete> . You can then click on the Applications tab, select the hung tool and press the End Task button to force it to quit.


DEFRAG WITH EASE Diskeeper 2007 Home promises to ensure that your PC is always running at the peak of its performance. It works in the background to defrag your hard drive. There's a 15-day trial (www.diskeeper.com).

SEARCH YOUR OFFICE It's easy to lose track of documents lost on your hard drive, but Copernic Desktop Search allows you to regather those vital fi les. Version 2.0 has now been released, and can be downloaded from www.copernic.com.

WALLPAPER If you want to brighten up your boring desktop, have a look at the animated wallpaper from www.anipaper.com. With a variety of different wallpapers such as animated fish tanks, waterfalls and fireworks, Anipaper will brighten your day and are free to try.

GOOGLE GADGETS Get the updated version of Google Toolbar, the tool that adds Google searches to your Internet Explorer toolbar (toolbar.google.com).

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