Excel Tip of the Day

Display Excel's menu items without any wait time (2000/2002)

Now that Office XP is out, it's worth revisiting a tip that addresses one of the "improvements" that has found its way into the Office suite--personalized menus. Introduced in Office 2000, these menus are supposed to help by initially showing only the features you frequently use. After a pause, the complete menu is displayed if you haven't selected anything. When choosing a previously hidden menu command, it will subsequently appear when the menu is first displayed so you don't have to wait again. Since this behavior is the default for new Office versions, chances are you've run into it if you've recently upgraded Office or purchased a new PC with Office XP on it.

In theory, personalized menus sound like a good idea. However, after only a few instances of having to wait for menus to expand, we lose patience with them. If you feel the same way about personalized menus, you'll be glad to know that you can disable them. To restore the old-style menu behavior, choose Tools | Customize from the menu bar. Then, click on the Options tab of the Customize dialog box, select the Always Show Full Menus check box and click Close. (In Excel 2000, clear the Menus Show Recently Used Commands First check box and then click Close.)

If you like the personalized menus, but find that too many infrequently accessed menu commands are being displayed, you can restore the menus to the state they were in when Excel was originally installed. You should be aware, however, that resetting the menus also resets Excel's toolbars to their original states. To reset the menus and toolbars, display the Customize dialog box and click the Reset My Usage Data button on the Options sheet. Finally, confirm that you want to reset the data and click Close.

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