Simplifying Word by Customizing the Status Bar
The key to using a software application efficiently is quickly being able to access the tools you need. You can maximize your productivity when using Microsoft Word, in part, by customizing the status bar, making the tools you need the most more easily accessible. Located at the bottom of your screen, the status bar includes basic information, such as the page number of the open document, the language used in the document, and its overall word count. The left-hand side also contains an Accessibility tool that can flag your document when its formatting and elements may make reading more difficult for viewers with disabilities.
On the left-hand side, the status bar includes different views (Read Mode, Web View, and Print Layout) that can simplify editing your document or preparing it for printing or web publication. Further, the focus bar on this side can help you zoom in or out of your document for greater ease of viewing.
These tools are not all that can be displayed on the status bar. Far from it, in fact. When you right-click on the status bar, the resulting menu will display many tools that you can add to the status bar.
What kind of tools can you add to the status bar?
The first set of tools on the dropdown menu allow you to view even more basic information about your document. You’ll see that the Page Number option has a checkmark to its left. That means that it is enabled (which it is by default). Several others, such as Word Count and Language, can also be easily found on the status bar. Others, such as Upload Status and Document Updates Available, are also enabled by default but will only display under certain conditions.
You’ll also see options to add the Formatted Page Number, Section, Vertical Page Position, Line Number, and Column. Enabling these options can be especially helpful if you’re preparing a long document, one with multiple sections or one where you need to know where certain document elements will appear on a printed page. For example, if you’re using Word to create a flyer and want a sense of where the headline or an inserted image might be on the final product, you can use Vertical Page Position to display where these elements will be located in inches.
You’ll also see options to display common features, such as Spelling and Grammar Check and Track Changes. Doing so removes the step of selecting Review in the Word Ribbon and then selecting these options. And if you often forget whether Caps Lock is on or off, you can have it displayed below as well. When you look to the right of many of these options, you’ll see their current state. For example, if Caps Lock is currently on, you’ll see “On” to the right of that option (and “Off” if it is not).
Other helpful tools include Permissions and Overtype. The Permissions option helps you see the level of access you have available to a shared document. If someone shares a document with you and has restricted its access to only certain features, you will see that in the status bar with the Permissions option enabled.
When a user’s cursor is in the middle of a word, and they begin to type a new one, the new word will be inserted in the middle of the existing one. However, when Overtype is enabled, typing a new word in the middle of an existing one will replace the existing one. If you’re not familiar with Overtype, you may want to practice using it a few times when you’re not under deadline. But once you get the hang of it, this tool can save you time.
How do you enable tools on the status bar?
Once you have the dropdown menu up, click to the right of the option enabled. You should see a checkmark appear, which means you’ve now added it to the status bar, and it should appear instantly. If, for example, you enabled Vertical Page Position, you’ll see that position displayed between the Page Number and Word Count automatically. You can then click elsewhere in the document to make the dropdown disappear and resume working on your document.
It can be tempting to enable many or even all of these tools, but most people don’t routinely use all of them. For example, the Macro Recording tool allows you to create shortcuts for repetitive tasks. If you have such a task in Word, you can create a keyboard shortcut, enable Macro Recording, and perform the task. The tool will capture the steps you used to complete it and assign them to that shortcut key. While this is a powerful productivity tool, it’s safe to say that most Microsoft Word users don’t use macros routinely, making its appearance on the status bar unnecessary.
But if you did indulge and enabled every tool, how do you disable some of them to make sure the ones you need are easily accessible? If there’s a tool you no longer want to be displayed, simply right click the status bar to display the menu. Then click on the checkmark of the item you want disabled. Once you do, it will no longer be visible on the status bar.
Remember, the status bar can make you a more efficient Word user by making the tools you use most easily accessible. Enable the tools you find yourself constantly accessing through the Ribbon for the best results.
For more Microsoft tips and tricks that can make you and your colleagues more efficient Word users, K2 Technologies has you covered. Check out our blog for more Microsoft productivity insights – insights we’ve gained from our work implementing Microsoft solutions to businesses and organizations across the country. For two decades, we’ve provided a full range of IT services to our clients that help them improve their productivity and increase their revenue. And from our work, we know how to transform technology tools into viable solutions for your business challenges.
Contact us today if you’re looking for ways to maximize your Microsoft 365 usage, deploy the platform, or explore other related technologies.