KC Lemson

By KC Lemson [MS]

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Get rid of one hierarchy of menus in Office

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I really like Outlook 2003, but one thing drives me nuts on new installs: the added step to change the active view for the currently selected folder. I used to be able to go to View | Current View | (name of view), and now I have to go to View | Arrange By | Current View | (name of view). Too many keystrokes for me; I guess I tend to switch views a lot.

But thanks to the always fantastic customizable toolbars, I can easily get back to the previous behavior:

1. Right click on the View menu and choose Customize
2. Single click on View, then Arrange By
3. Click-and-drag Current View next to View
4. Drag View away from the toolbar to delete it
5. Right click on Current View and in the Name field, remove the word “Current”
6. Close the customization dialog

And now I have one step better, a menu that has just the list of views in it, which is even better than the defaults in previous versions of Outlook. Of course, if you wanted to access the other items on the main View menu, you can add them to this new menu:

7. Go back to the customization dialog
8. On the Commands tab, click View
9. On the right side, select the menu item you want to use
10. Drag it up and over the new View menu
11. Move the mouse down to the place in the menu where you want this new option to go
12. Close the customization dialog

Voila, and now I am happy again. Office's customizable toolbars has been one of my favorite features of Office for years. I've blogged about some other neat things you can do with them before as well.

Comments
  • I had a very similar discussion with my work colleagues today. Microsoft Outlook's menus are way too convoluted and the settings dialog box is a nightmare to navigate. Options are burried four or five clicks down into the settings dialog, and the options seem very poorly categorised and organised.

    This makes Outlook look much harder to use and "bloated" than it actually is.

  • Now, just create an Outlook Administration Kit (ala IEAK) and we can deploy and manage these beautiful new menus ;-)

  • Jeremy - does the ORK (Office Resource Kit) not let you do that?

    http://www.microsoft.com/office/ork/2003/default.htm

  • Hey if you remove the VIEW menu option from the standard toolbar there appears to be no way to re-add it!! You can't drag N drop the top level commands in toolbar customization dialog, nor does the reset toolbar seem to bring the VIEW menu back....

    Viewless in Seattle. ;-)

  • Patty, my boy: In the customization dialog, choose "Menu Bar" and you can drag the view menu back up. :-)