Word 2004: Unwanted ‘Reviewing’ toolbar

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
July 5th, 2004 • 3:26 am

Last week I mentioned the irritation associated with the way Word keeps sticking the “Web” toolbar in the user’s face. The problem with unwanted toolbar behaviour extends, naturally, to many other built-in Word toolbars. There are just far too many Word commands that cause additional toolbars to pop up on your screen, take up valuable screen real estate, and forcing redimensioning of currently open document windows to adapt to the smaller space left available.

One such command is the “Track Changes” command. As soon as you use that command to turn Word’s change tracking tool on, Word automatically adds a new toolbar to your Word interface called “Reviewing” and containing a variety of buttons associated with using the “Track Changes” feature.

This, of course, neglects to take into account the fact that some users might not want this toolbar to appear. More importantly, however, the toolbar never goes away by itself, even after you’ve closed the document in which you have turned the change tracking feature on. How much sense does this make? I can (to a degree) understand it if Word insists on making the “Reviewing” toolbar visible each and every time I turn the “Track Changes” feature on or open a document in which the feature is on (which it does) — but why can’t Word hide the “Reviewing” toolbar after I am done with these documents involving tracking changes?

No, instead, Word forces me to close the toolbar manually myself, which is rather painful considering that the close box on a Word toolbar is such a tiny red dot in the top-left corner of the toolbar’s title bar. (Yup, in Word, toolbars have title bars. Don’t ask.)

As far I can tell, it’s just sloppy programming, and a reflection of the fact that Microsoft doesn’t care how much valuable screen real estate its software wastes for no good reason.

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