Using Palettes in Office 2008 for Mac

If you don't like the toolbars above Word, Excel, or PowerPoint windows, all three Office 2008 programs have numerous palettes you can use. Each palette is represented by an icon at the top of a single floating window, known as the Toolbox. Most Office palettes have a number of panels that you can hide or disclose by clicking the little triangle to the left of their names.


In the figure, the leftmost icon, which represents the Formatting Palette, is selected so that the Toolbox is displaying the panels for the Formatting Palette. The Font and Alignment and Spacing panels are open (disclosed); notice how the triangles next to their names point downward. All the other panels are closed, and their triangles point to the right rather than down. Finally, the cursor is pointing at the icon for the Reference Tools palette. If you click the Reference Tools palette, the Formatting Palette disappears, and the Reference Tools palette, with a completely different set of panels, replaces it in the Toolbox window.

Also keep the following in mind when using palettes in Office 2008 for Mac:

  • In contrast to toolbars, you can’t add to or delete commands from the Toolbox, nor can you create custom Toolbox palettes or panels. In other words, think of palettes as a permanent set of toolbars that Microsoft doesn’t think you should ever modify.

  • Panels are also context-sensitive, which means that they may change based on what you’ve selected. The panels shown in the figure are the panels you see when text is selected. But, for example, if you select a picture or table in your document, you might see panels named Picture or Table instead of Font and Styles.

  • If the Toolbox isn’t visible, choose any of the panel names from the View menu or click the Toolbox icon in the main (Standard) toolbar at the top of every document window.

  • To hide the Toolbox, click the red dot in its upper-left corner. To collapse the Toolbox so just the row of icons at its top show, click the green dot at the top of the Toolbox window.

  • Click the little curved arrow in the upper-right corner of the Toolbox window to modify Toolbox settings that pertain to, for example, what the Toolbox should do after you’ve been inactive for a set amount of time (collapse, fade, or close) and which panels (that is, Font, Styles, Alignment and Spacing, and so on in the Formatting Palette) to show and hide in palettes that have panels (that is, the Formatting Palette and Reference Tools palettes).

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