5 ways to customise Word

Write more efficiently with these easy tweaks.

Microsoft Word

Create, Edit & Share Documents


Not only does Microsoft Word have just about every feature you could want, it lets you customise its interface so those features are easier to find. Here are five ways to make Word your own.

1. Simplify the Ribbon

The Ribbon (aka toolbar) at the top of every Word window contains a plethora of buttons and controls. Chances are, you use only a few regularly. Clean up your view by going to Word > Preferences > Ribbon & Toolbar, then unchecking seldom-used actions or tabs in the Customise the Ribbon list.

Pro tip: To create a new tab with your favourite commands, click the plus button.

Any tab in the toolbar is easy to customise – or remove entirely.

2. Customise quick access

The Quick Access Toolbar, which sits to the left of the document’s name in the Word title bar, provides one-click access to common commands such as Save, Undo, Repeat and Print. Click the down arrow to enable more options, such as Spelling & Grammar. Or add any command to this toolbar by going to Word > Preferences > Ribbon & Toolbar and clicking Quick Access Toolbar.

3. Take a shortcut

Word offers scores of keyboard shortcuts, all of which can be customised. In fact, you can even create your own.

Choose Tools > Customise Keyboard, then pick a command and click into the “Press new keyboard shortcut” field. Enter a keystroke, then click Assign. (Word will helpfully warn you if what you entered is already used for another command.)

Constantly pasting unformatted text? Create a keyboard shortcut!

4. Write with style

Styles make it easy to apply formatting to similar text. For example, instead of painstakingly setting the font, size and colour for every header, you can adjust the Header style to change every instance at once.

Word provides a variety of stock styles for headers, footers and everything in between. Click the Styles Pane button on the Home tab to see the most common. To see even more options, change “List: Recommended” to “List: All styles.” To create a custom style, choose Format > Style.

Create a new style based on the formatting of the text you selected.

5. Get focused

If you find all the buttons, menus and tabs distracting when writing, enable Word’s Focus mode (Control-Command-Shift-F or View > Focus). Word will go full screen and hide everything but your current document. To reveal all the menus and toolbars again, just move your pointer to the top of the screen. For your word count and view options, move your pointer to the bottom of the screen.

    Microsoft Word

    Create, Edit & Share Documents