Simplify Word 97's interface

If you're like most people, there are many Word 97 menu commands and toolbar options you never use. Wouldn't it be convenient if you could strip down Word's baroque interface to suit your needs and dump the dross? You can.

1. Exit all open copies of Word.

2. Using Start-Find, locate on your hard disk.

3. Select and then select File-Rename. Type and press . Doing this preserves the original file so you can revert to the full interface later if you wish.

4. Start Word 97. If you've renamed, the program will create a fresh version with all its factory defaults.

5. Select Tools-Customize. Click the Toolbars tab.

6. Get rid of any unwanted toolbars by removing the check mark from the box to the left of those toolbar names. Mark any toolbars you want visible by clicking the box to the left of those toolbar names so that a check mark appears there.

7. Click the Commands tab in the Customize dialogue box; then click any icons you never use, drag them to the document window, and drop them there. If you're not sure of an icon's function, right-click it and read its name in the context menu.

8. Keep the Customize dialogue box open as you click each main menu command and examine the submenu commands that appear. If you find a command you never use, click and drag it to the document screen. A triangle will appear to the right of menu commands that have submenus. Remove individual submenu items by clicking them and dragging them down, off the toolbar or menu.

9. To activate your changes, click Close in the Customize dialogue box. Note: any time before you close the Customize dialogue box, you can click Reset to undo all the changes you've made up to that point. But once you close the dialogue box, you can't undo the changes from within Word.

10. If you wish, you can change other default settings from the Options dialogue box (select Tools-Options) and in the View menu's Toolbar item.

11. Exit Word. The next time you run it, you'll see your changes implemented as the new default interface. Your formerly complex program is now tamed and customised to suit your precise needs.

This tip also works well if you want to hide tricky or treacherous features from innocent novices or colleagues in the office. If you need to regain the full Word interface temporarily, select File-New; then select the template you created in step 3, and click OK. To return to Word's defaults permanently, exit Word, delete, and rename back to

Hint: if you foul up Word's interface irreparably or if you inherit a PC with a scrambled Word interface and you need to reinstate Word's original default settings, simply delete when Word isn't running. The next time you run Word, the program will create a new template that uses the Word default settings. All versions of Word can do this.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

George Campbell

PC World
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Cate Bacon

Aruba Instant On AP11D

The strength of the Aruba Instant On AP11D is that the design and feature set support the modern, flexible, and mobile way of working.

Dr Prabigya Shiwakoti

Aruba Instant On AP11D

Aruba backs the AP11D up with a two-year warranty and 24/7 phone support.

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?