Work Menu in Microsoft Word

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Work Menu in Microsoft Word
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How do I use (What is) the Work menu?

This page last revised: 01 Oct 2014 10:27 AM -0500 .

Contents of this Page

bulletWhat is the Work Menu? - Overview
bulletHow to add the Work Menu to your system - Word 97 - Word 2004
bulletHow to add a document to the Work Menu
bulletHow to delete a document from the Work Menu
bulletHow to further customize the Work Menu
bulletWhat happened to the Work Menu in Word 2007 (and later) editions?

What is the Work Menu?

The Work menu is great but is virtually undocumented and seems to be a hold-over from earlier versions of Word. It may predate templates.

The Work Menu (as modified)It is like having another "Favorites" menu, just for Word, letting you list documents that you want to keep on a menu. Unlike the regular Favorites menu, it does not allow sub-menus of documents nor can you re-order documents (except by adding them again to the menu, in which case they move to the top of the list). Also, like the Favorites menu, items in the Work menu are merely shortcuts to an actual document. Moving or deleting the document doesn't change the shortcut, just makes in unable to work. 

There is a temptation to use the Work menu to open documents that have been useful in the past, make changes to those documents, and then use Save As... to save the changed document under a new name. This is a poor use of the Work menu! If you are considering doing this, look into templates. That is their job and they are superior in all ways to reusing old documents as the basis for new documents. Likewise, the Work menu is not the place to store your boilerplate text. You want to be using AutoText or AutoCorrect for this.

Use the Work menu to hold 

  1. online reference documents
  2. log files, and 
  3. current projects that keep slipping off your recent files list.
  4. sample documents to use as starters for new documents (templates instead)
  5. boilerplate text (AutoText or AutoCorrect instead)

Like the "Recent Files" under the File menu, the Work Menu has a limit of nine documents. When you attempt to add a tenth document, it will bump the document currently at the bottom of the Work Menu. Also, if Word is not saving changes to your list of recent files, it won't save changes to your Work menu documents list, either. 

The menu shown has a few changes from the default. These are the two additional commands for removing menu shortcuts (from any menu) and for customizing the keyboard and the addition of an icon for the Add to Work Menu command.

Note that like the "Recent Files" under the File menu, the Work Menu has a limit of nine documents. When you attempt to add a tenth document, it will bump the document currently at the bottom of the Work Menu.

To add the Work menu to your menus / toolbars (Word 97 - Word 2004) *

The Customize Dialog BoxTools=>Customize

Commands (tab)

Categories: Built-In Menus (left pane)

Commands: Work (right pane)

Drag this menu where you want it. The most common choice is to put it next to Help. You can add it to your File (or any other) menu if that suits you better. Click on Close to close the Customize dialog box.

Note that this "customization" is being stored in Normal.dot (see "Save in:" box in Customize dialog box). You may want to store it in a "global template" instead. Whenever you customize Word's user interface (which is what you are doing here) you should know which template will be storing those customizations.

* The Work menu has been around since at least Word 3 and the steps to add a Work menu are similar in earlier versions. In at least one version I think it was even part of the default interface.

If you can't figure this out, you can download the Add-In which will give you a custom toolbar with the Work  Menu.

To add a document to your Work menu

While that (named) document is open and is the active window, Work=>Add to Work Menu. You can't add a new document to your Work menu until you have saved it.

To delete a document from your Work Menu (but see warning)

Press Ctrl + Alt + - and your mouse pointer will turn into a thick horizontal bar (a big minus sign). Use it to select the document you want to delete and release the mouse. Your document will be gone from the Work menu.

(It will still be on your disk, though.)

You can add this command (Ctrl + Alt + -) to your Work menu

Tools=>Customize

Commands (tab)

Categories: All Commands (left pane)

ToolsCustomizeRemoveMenuShortCut (right pane)

Drag that last mouthfull over to your Work menu. Even if you've already put documents on your Work menu, you won't see them listed. Release the mouse when you have the Command where you want it. 

Default Work Menu when Customize Dialog is showing. Note that no documents are listed. If you want to shorten the command to something like: "Remove Shortcut from Any Menu", you can right-click on it and rename it. By typing an ampersand (&) before the "R" you will make that a keyboard shortcut. 

Remember that even if you delete a document from your disk, its name will still appear on your Work Menu. The Work menu is like a collection of shortcuts. However selecting it on the Work menu will just result in a message that the document can't be found. This can be annoying and is the reason I added a command to handle it to my Work menu. (Normally I would use Tools => Customize... and simply drag an unwanted command from my menu, but this doesn't work with documents in the Work menu because they don't show up when the Customize dialog is displayed.)

 WARNING

The Remove Menu Shortcut command will remove any command from any menu.

It will do this whether you use the keyboard shortcut or use it from a menu. If you mistakenly remove something from one of your menus you can restore it using the Customize command but it may be more difficult than you would expect.

 **Be warned!**

See What Happened to my Insert Symbol Menu Command? for more on how this command can zap you if you are not paying attention.

Further customizing your Work MenuContext (right-click) menu for customizing menu commands.

You can add the customize keyboard command to your Work menu the same way. The real name is ToolsCustomizeKeyboard (or ToolsCustomizeKeyboardShortcut) and it can be found under All Commands rather than in the Tools category.

The menu button icons were added with the Customize dialog box open. You right-click on the menu command that you want to add a symbol to and select either Change Button Image or Edit Button Image...

The Change Button Image selection gives you 42 icons that have no other purpose assigned to them. Since none seemed especially appropriate, I used Edit Button Image and first created the red minus sign. I then added a plus sign for the Add document command already in the Work menu. Minus signs and plus signs are easy, real icons are a bit tougher.

The keyboard button was formed from one of the Change icons - a calculator - by erasing the top part of the calculator and putting a cord on it.

Give it a try!

You may be able to use a macro to reorder items on the work menu. Here is a listing of a macro to backup and restore the contents by Cindy Meister.

Want something like the Work menu that creates new documents based on templates? See a Templates Menu in Microsoft Word.

(Note, an earlier version of this page appeared as a column in the June 13, 2001, edition of All 'Bout Computers.) A version also appears on the MVP FAQ site.

What happened to the Work menu in Word 2007/2010? I can't find it!

It is there, sort of, and it now has a limit of 50 documents!

The Work Menu has been incorporated into the Most Recently Used Files list which lets you "pin" documents so they don't scroll off the list. The list can hold up to 50 items. (The total number you can have on the list in Word 2007 depends on your screen resolution. In Word 2010 the list has its own scroll bar.) In Word 2007 it is under the Office (Pizza) Button; in Word 2010 it is under the File tab (Recent).

If you want the Work menu, too, you use an Add-In to bring it up on the Add-Ins Tab. Since someone asked, here is an Add-In for download. (Try the Recent list first!) I created the Add-In before I realized that I could pin documents in the Recent list. I think the ability to pin recent files is superior, but the Work Menu gives you a separate list.

 

 

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Using Date Fields in Microsoft Word
Calculated Dates
Booklet Formatting and Printing in Microsoft Word
Changing the Default Font in Microsoft Word
Document linked to Printer in Microsoft Word
Fonts Missing from Menu in Microsoft Word
How can I get a different header / footer on the second page?
More on Headers and Footers in Word
Letterhead
Weird Lines and Borders
Macros and VBA
Master Documents Feature in Microsoft Word
Moving (Sharing) Customizations in Microsoft Word
Global StyleSheet?
MVP means?
Naming Files - A System is the Key
Posting tips in the Microsoft Word Forums
Getting rid of that (*)#"@^ paperclip! - Taming the Office Assistant
Page X of Y doesn't work in Microsoft Word!
Save Changes to the Global Template? Keeps Popping Up
Templates in Microsoft Word
Global Templates
Too Many Icons on the Taskbar in Microsoft Word 2000
Getting Rid of the Web Toolbar in Microsoft Word
Word for Word Perfect Users
Favorite Documents Menu
Work Menu in Microsoft Word
Templates Menu in Microsoft Word
What books have been recommended about Microsoft Word?
Where can I find more templates?
Word Links

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