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How Much Time Can You Really Save?

Drew's Quick Microsoft Office
Shortcut Bar Tutorial

So why do you care about the shortcut bar? Well it's really great for programs that you launch all the time (Many times a day). As you look at mine you'll see that I have two dictionaries, a thesaurus, Library Of The Future and much more.
I often bring up each of these programs when I'm writing or using other programs. So, it's just one click. I use them then I close them. If I had to go to the Start Menu and find my programs there I wouldn't use them and my writing and research would suffer.
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Plus, when I get on the phone, I'll often kick in Free Cell So, this is a real time-saver, productivity improver and diversion too. And look how easy it is to do.
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Here's what's in my ShortCut Bar, from left to right. Open An Office Document Icon, Word, Excel, Access, Dreamweaver, Fireworks, American Heritage Dictionary, Word Finder, Zip, Random House Encyclopedia, Notepad, Clip Board Viewer, Free Cell, Character Map, Quark, Netscape, My CDR Writer, A Special Grammar Dictionary, Photoshop 7.0, Webstyler and Library Of The Future.
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This isn't by any means all the programs I have on my computer, but it's what I use every day, every hour, and if you get the shortcut bar yourself, you'll save hours (really) and give yourself the productivity edge of having your tools in front of you all the time.
For example, I use Internet Explorer, but I need to check all my work with Netscape. It's just a click away. I often open 2 dictionaries and the encyclopedia while I'm working. Now they are just a click away.
You can set the bar to be permanently displayed or popup and down when your mouse is in the area or it can reside between the name on your title bar and the 'X' close button at the right. It's up to you. Now let's see how easy it is to add your programs to Microsoft's Jewel.

Let's start the easy setup.
Right Click on the bar where it says Office as you can see in my main picture above. That opens the menu. Then left click (all clicks are left clicks the usual button you use unless I tell you to right click something) the customize button.

The Customize Button.
Now we're ready. In a second we're going to click the 'buttons' tab as my red arrow shows, but first let me tell you a few quick things. To the right you'll see that I have 'Tool Tips' checked. This will popup the name of the program when I pass over the Icon on the bar.
I also have 'Always on Top' checked. This takes up a small part of the screen, but all
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your programs are right in front of you. If you prefer as I sometimes do, check the next box marked 'Auto Hide' between uses. This will allow the bar to retract whenever your mouse isn't in the area around it.
As for cosmetics, you can match the colors to your desktop colors and more, but this should get you going.
Oh, one more thing. Feel free to drag the toolbar to the top or right side of your desktop, or even leave it 'undocked' and floating. You'll find where you like it best. But I promise you, you'll never go back to the old start menu find it and launch it ever again once you start using this. OK, now it's easy. Click the Buttons Tab.

Choosing To Add Buttons Is Easy.
All you need to do on this screen is click the 'Add File' button. But, we'll come back and have some fun with this screen later.

Now we're in the 'Add File' menu.
All you need to do here is decide which program you want to add. And oh yes, you can only add one at a time, so you'll go through this process several times. Oh yes, the first screen of programs you'll see is probably in the Office folder.
Don't worry. You just use the up arrow on the folder to get to another level. Here I've navigated to the Programs Folder. You can go wherever you want. It's easy. Just use the up arrow to go up and double click folders to get into them.
I've chosen my Adobe Folder because I'm adding my new Photoshop 7.0 to my bar.
Onward.

Choose Your File
Here we are in the Photoshop 7.0 folder. Now all you have to do is identify the .EXE file that you use to launch the program. It almost always looks like a picture icon that you have in the start menu. You can double check if you like by Right Clicking the Icon and making sure it is an .EXE (that's the executable for the program). Now it's selected. Click on the 'Add' button at the bottom right.

Let's Arrange The Bar The Way We Want It.
The next screen you'll see after you click 'Add' is the customize screen again. (Or you can come back to this screen any time. As you scroll up and down in this screen, you can check and uncheck any of the programs any time to include them or not include them on the bar you see.
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So, don't worry if you think you're adding a program you might not want to keep. It's no problem, you can always uncheck it later. Plus there's one more thing you can do. Highlight any program and then use the up and down arrow keys to move the program along the bar. So you can organize the bar anyway you want. Now it's really customized for you. Isn't this fun.

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A few last things that I want to mention.
You can get any of the Windows programs in the window's folder. Just navigate to it. I've put the clipboard viewer which I use to see what I'm copying, the character map to choose dingbats etc. when I don't know what key to use with a font, and notepad which is an easy quick way to strip coding from something you're copying from the Internet (more in a future tutorial) and more.

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This should get you started saving time, decreasing your frustration and getting the most out of your computer. I hope you've enjoyed the Microsoft Office Shortcut Bar Tutorial.

Enjoy. . . Drew

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