Customizing Menu Bars

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A menu is a collection of commands that pertains to a particular topic or action. So the File menu is a collection of commands that perform actions with documentsopening, closing, saving, printing, and so forth. Likewise, underneath a menu on the menu bar, there may be submenus. Any command that has a pointing triangle is considered a menu. In Figure 23.16, the complete Edit menu is active. Within the Edit menu are three other built-in menus Fill, Clear, and Object.

Figure 23.16. The Edit menu contains three built-in submenus: Fill, Clear, and Object.


A command is a specific action within an application; for example, Save As is a command. When describing a command, most people and reference books (such as the one you are now reading) typically identify a command by stating the menu followed by the command. So, although technically it is the Save As command, you will often see it referred to as the File, Save As command. Identifying the menu as well as the command simply provides additional clarity when referring to a command.

Project, like Office, treats the menu bar as just another toolbar. You customize a menu bar in much the same way you customize a toolbarby dragging commands on and off the menu bar. You can create new menus, add commands to the menus, rearrange commands, and remove commands from the menus just as you do with the toolbars . By default, a menu bar is docked at the top of the screen, but like a toolbar, it can be moved and docked at the side or bottom of the screen, or it can be left floating in the middle of the screen.

The introduction of the personalized toolbars and menus feature in Project diminished the need to relocate commands to the tops of menus. By design, Project displays the commands you use frequently on the menu and hides the commands you rarely or never use. You can see the full list of commands by double-clicking the menu or by pausing on the menu to display the full list after a slight delay.

To prevent menus and toolbars from being personalized, see "Altering the Behavior of Personalized Menus and Toolbars," p. 922 .

There are two main reasons for customizing a menu bar: to make commands buried too deep in the menu system more accessible and to create new menus. Customizing menus offers a wide range of possibilities. You might simply want to attach commands to existing menus. You can attach items such as frequently used views, tables, filters, and macros to existing menus quite easily. Specific procedures for adding elements such as views and tables to menus are included in the chapter in which they were created. Usually, such elements can be added to a menu by turning on a Show in Menu option in the item's definition.


Customized menus, like other toolbars, are different from elements such as views, tables, and filters because menus are part of the application file rather than a project file. As a result, changing them makes them available to all projects you create or edit on your computer. They are stored as part of the GLOBAL.MPT file that is used as a basis for all projects you create or open on your machine.

When you want to change the name of a menu bar item or create a new menu bar item, you are, in effect, creating a custom menu bar. The next few sections focus on editing items on existing menu bars and creating new menu bars.

To add commands to a menu, follow the steps outlined in the sections earlier in this chapter for adding commands to toolbars. The next few sections focus on customizing options that are unique to menus.

To learn more about the steps for altering the appearance of the toolbars and menus, or to add new commands to toolbars and menus, see "Customizing Toolbars," p. 925 .

Adding New Menus to a Menu Bar

You can add a new menu either directly on a menu bar or as a submenu underneath a menu. To accomplish this, you must have the Customize dialog box displayed.

To add a new menu, follow these steps:

  1. Right-click any toolbar and choose Customize from the Toolbar shortcut menu, or choose View, Toolbars, Customize. The Customize dialog box appears.

  2. Select the Commands tab.

  3. Scroll down the list of categories and select New Menu. The only option that appears in the Commands list is New Menu.

  4. Drag the New Menu command to the place on a menu bar, or on an existing menu, where you want to insert the new menu (see Figure 23.17).

    • Inserting a new menu directly on the menu bar When you drag the New Menu command to the menu bar, a thick capital I symbol appears on the menu bar. Release the mouse when this symbol is in the location on the menu bar where you want the new menu to appear.

    • Inserting a new menu within an existing menu Drag the New Menu command to the menu bar, next to the menu you want to place it under. When the list of commands on that menu appears, drag the mouse down to the exact position between the existing commands where you want the new submenu to appear. Release the mouse.

    Figure 23.17. You can add new menus to the menu bar or inside existing menus.


Renaming Menus and Commands

After you have added a new menu to a menu bar, you should name the menu and add commands to it. The Customize dialog box must be open to do this. To rename a menu, right-click the menu name to see the list of display options. In the Name text box, replace the default name with the name you want to use for the menu. Press Enter to accept the name change. To rename a submenu, click the main menu. Then right-click the newly inserted menu to change the name.

Most menus and commands have a keyboard hotkey that can be used to activate the menu or command via the keyboard instead of the mouse. These hotkeys are represented by the underscored letter in the menu. For example, the hotkey for the File menu is F. You designate a hotkey in the Name text box by using an ampersand ( & ) in front of the letter that is to be used as the hotkey. For the File menu, this appears in the Name text box as &File . Likewise, the Format menu name appears as F&ormat in the Name text box.

You should make certain that the letter you are using for a hotkey is not already being used by another menu or command. For a menu bar, you only need to look at the other menu names , not the commands underneath those menus. So if you are adding a new menu to the menu bar, the letters F, E, V, I, O, T, P, C, W, H are already used by the File, Edit, View, Insert, Format, Tools, Project, Collaborate, Window, and Help menus.

If you are adding a menu or command to an existing menu, you only need to look at the words on that specific menu to make sure you are not using duplicate letters. So if you are adding a new command to the Format menu, you only need to look at the words on the expanded Format menu to avoid duplicating hotkeys.


If you happen to set duplicate hotkeys within a menu, selecting the commands requires extra steps. For instance, if you have two commands on a menu that both have the letter H as the hotkey. Once you open the menu and press H, the first command from the top of the list with that hotkey is highlighted but does not execute a command, as it normally would. To perform that command, you must then press Enter. If you press H again, the second menu command with the hotkey H is selected. You have to then press Enter to execute the second command.

Adding Items to a Menu

You add items to menus by using the same basic techniques that you use to add buttons to toolbars. With the Customize dialog box open, simply select the category and item you want to add and drag it onto the menu bar. When you position the command between two existing commands, the new item drops into place. When you drag the item to a menu, a capital I indicates the position of the command. Figure 23.18 shows the Project Statistics command being added to a new menu. If you are adding items to an empty menu, there are no commands to use for positioning. If you pause over the menu name, a box appears, in which you can place the item.

Figure 23.18. Add items to a new menu by dragging commands from the Customize dialog box.


The following are several different types of items you can add to a new menu bar:

  • Commands Any command can be added to a new or standard menu. You simply choose the command from either the category in which the command is listed or from the All Commands category listed toward the bottom of the list. All Commands is an alphabetical listing of every command in Project.

  • Built-in menus You can add other built-in menus to the new menu. If you choose the Built-in Menus category, a complete listing of menus that are installed with Microsoft Project appears.

  • Special items Many other items appear in menus besides commands and menus. These are often grouped in lists. For example, on the View menu you see lists of different types of views, and on the Window menu, you see a list of open project files.

Removing and Restoring Menus and Commands

If you no longer use a menu or a particular command, you can remove it from a menu bar or from within a menu. To remove menus or commands, perform the same steps you use to remove buttons from a toolbarthat is, simply drag them off the menu bar. The Customize dialog box must be open before you can remove menus and commands.

If you have customized a menu and removed some of the default commands from menus, you can restore the standard Project menus and commands to their original settings by restoring the menu bar.


Restoring the menu bar removes any custom menus you have created.

To restore the menu bar, follow these steps:

  1. Display the Customize dialog box.

  2. Select the Toolbars tab.

  3. Choose Menu Bar from the list of toolbars.

  4. Click Reset. A warning message appears, to confirm resetting the menu bar.

  5. Click OK.

  6. Close the Customize dialog box.

Moving Menus and Commands


The new Rearrange Commands dialog box allows you to quickly add, remove, and/or arrange commands on toolbars and menu bars.

For more information on utilizing the Rearrange Commands dialog box, see "Rearranging Command Buttons," p. 932 .

You can rearrange the order of the menu commands on the menu bar by dragging the menu name to a different location. You can also reorder the commands within a particular menu in the same way that you rearrange toolbar buttons. The Customize dialog box must be active for you to rearrange the order of the menus or commands.

When you select a menu or command name to move, a heavy border indicates that the name is selected. Hold and drag the name to its new location. As you move the name, the mouse pointer changes to a thick capital I. When the name is in the new location, release the mouse button.

Changing the Attributes of a Menu or Command

Each menu item has a set of attributes, or display options, that you can change. One of these options is the name that appears on the menu, discussed in the section "Renaming Menus and Commands," earlier in this chapter.

Another attribute is whether these items are separated into groups. Horizontal bars in the menus distinguish one group from another. The way you designate a group is by right-clicking the command that will be the first command in the group while the Customize box is open. The list of display options then appears on a shortcut menu. To add a horizontal separator bar, click Begin a Group . A check mark appears in front of the option to indicate that a separator bar has been added. You remove a separator bar from a menu item by selecting the item and removing the check mark.


To learn more about group box behavior, see "Working with Group Boxes" in the "Troubleshooting" section at the end of this chapter.

Managing Toolbars with the Organizer

Toolbars are global objects in Microsoft Project and are attached to the application in general rather than to a specific project. As a result, toolbars are stored as part of the GLOBAL.MPT file and are available for all projects you create, review, or edit. Changes you make to the various toolbars are also stored in the GLOBAL.MPT file.

To learn more about how useful the Global template is, see "The Global Template: GLOBAL.MPT," p. 104 .

There might be times when you create a custom toolbar or edit an existing toolbar and want to copy it to another computer system, such as a laptop or a home computer. At other times you might want to include a special toolbar as part of a file you are sending to a coworker.

Toolbars that are attached to project files can't be displayed directly from the project. When you want to make a toolbar available on a different computer, you can copy it to a project and then, on the other system, copy it from the project into the GLOBAL.MPT file. The Organizer also provides options for renaming and deleting toolbars.

To learn all about how to work with the Organizer, see "Working with the Organizer and the Global File," p. 107 .

To copy and rename a toolbar, follow these steps:

  1. From the menu bar, choose Tools, Organizer. The Organizer dialog box appears.

  2. Select the Toolbars tab in the Organizer. On the left side of the dialog box is the GLOBAL.MPT file; on the right side of the dialog box is the active Project file. Typically there are no toolbars listed in the active file.

  3. Select the name of the toolbar you want to rename from the GLOBAL.MPT file, and then click Copy.

  4. The toolbar name appears in the active file, listed on the right, as shown in Figure 23.19.

    Figure 23.19. The Toolbars tab of the Organizer shows the named toolbars that are stored in the GLOBAL.MPT file.



    If the project file you want to use doesn't already appear above the box on the right side of the Toolbars tab on the Organizer dialog box, select it from the Toolbars Available In drop-down list.

  5. Select the toolbar name you just made a copy of on the right (in your active file) and click Rename. The Rename dialog box appears.

  6. In the Rename dialog box, type the new name for the copied toolbar and click OK (see Figure 23.20).

    Figure 23.20. You should rename the local copy of the toolbar before customizing it to avoid confusion.


    Make sure the name you type is not a name that is used by another toolbar. For example, if you copied the Tracking toolbar, you could rename the copy My Tracking or Custom Tracking to differentiate it from the original Tracking toolbar.

  7. Close the Organizer.

Figure 23.21 shows that a copy of the Tracking toolbar has been renamed Custom Tracking and placed in the NEWPROD.mpp project file. You can move this file to another computer. On the second computer, you would reverse the process to use the toolbar: Copy Custom Tracking into the GLOBAL.MPT file on the second system. The toolbar will then be available to all users of Project who share this version of the GLOBAL.MPT file.

Figure 23.21. A toolbar copied into a project file must be copied into the GLOBAL.MPT template before it can be accessed.


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Special Edition Using Microsoft Office Project 2003
Special Edition Using Microsoft Office Project 2003
ISBN: 0789730723
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2004
Pages: 283
Authors: Tim Pyron

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