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Posts Tagged ‘toolbar’

Get back the menu bar and toolbars in Office 2007 with UBitMenu

November 25, 2009 1 comment

UBitMenu can make working with Office 2007 simpler.

Whilst I love Office 2007 – its snazzy new features and organised tabs are far better than the previous version – but not everybody can get on with them. This is understandable, since we’ve all been brought up with menu bars and toolbars, making it difficult to adapt when such a different approach comes along. In addition, there are times when the old way of doing things is just faster and easier. To combat this, I went gallivanting around the Internet to find some software that would let me use old menus when I wanted, but also keep the snazzy new tabs, and I found that  there are a few addons to get the classic look back in Office 2007, but they’ll set you back some of your hard-earned money. Being the cheapskate that I am, I kept hunting until I found a free version, which comes in the form of a German product – UBitMenu.  (I’ve linked to the English translated page). The good news is that it’s free for personal use; the bad news is that there’s a cost if you’re planning on rolling it out large-scale – such as at a business or school.

The software adds a tab to the Office 2007 ribbon tabs entitled ‘Menu’, which contains the classic ‘File’ ‘Edit’ etc, menus, and the standard toolbars that you’ve got used to from older versions of Office. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the software works extremely well; the installation took less than a few seconds, and when I loaded up Word to test it out, I had a tab that offered me the old layout of menus and buttons, without replacing my beloved tabs. It works with all Office software in which the old menus were done away with and replaced with a ribbon – so that’s Word, Excel, and Powerpoint, though it doesn’t work with Outlook. The other Office applications (such as Publisher) still use the menu bars in 2007, so it’s not needed there.

There’s very little I criticise with this great bit of software – it’s a very small download and it fulfulls its task perfectly. My only suggestion for improvement would be implementing the ability to alter the existing toolbars and add new ones. I know a certain ICT teacher that will be very excited by this smashing bit of kit. Whilst I’m on the subject, next time, I’ll be reviewing another exciting Office addon that makes life much easier.

UBit can be downloaded from http://www.ubit.ch/software/ubitmenu-office2007/. (But I’d suggest using the English translated page: http://bit.ly/ubitenglish.

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Annotate with Diigo

I’ve stumbled across a smashing tiny application which allows you to add notes to webpages. This becomes very useful if doing research for homework, coursework, papers, or other such jazz. It could be used if you simply want to add notes when you find useful stuff.

Diigo adds notes and highlights to webpages - either for research or discussion with others

Diigo adds notes and highlights to webpages - either for research or discussion with others

Diigo allows you to add these notes in the form of post-its to webpages. You can either download and install the Diigo Toolbar which is a fully-featured toolbar addon for your browser; or you can simply add the Diigolet link to your bookmarks or bookmarks toolbar for easy, quick access without installing anything. With either of these options, you can add annotations to anywhere on a webpage. You can also highlight and annotate specific areas or words. You can either make these annotations public – anyone with Diigolet or Diigo toolbar running – can see them and add to them, or private – only you can see them.

You can also add this to multiple computers, allowing you to see your annotations after you  sign with your Diioglet account. It’s also compatible with just about every browser, so you won’t need to fear not being able to see your notes when using someone else’s PC. This would allow you to add notes at home, and then see them at school or work as you continue the research you were doing.

Whilst the fully-fledged toolbar adds extra functions, oddly, it seems to slow down the simple process of adding notes quickly. Rather than simply clicking the button, you must go through a small drop-down list on the toolbar in order to highlight text and add sticky notes. However, the toolbar does allow you to add things to online bookmarks, share things with others, and provides functionality similar to Internet Explorer 8’s new accelerators when highlighting text. Despite this, I would suggest that most users would be better off with the Diigolet bookmarklet, since it provides the basic functionality, but sans the hassle which the toolbar brings with it.

I’d highly suggest signing up at www.diigo.com and adding either the bookmarklet (bookmarks button for quick access) or, if you’re feeling adventurous, going for the whole shebang and getting the Diigo Toolbar. Give it a go and see what you think.

Improve Explorer with QT TabBar and Toolbar

March 4, 2009 3 comments

It’s still a fairly short while since Microsoft added tabs to their Internet Explorer browser, but since then tabs have become an integral part of just about everyone’s browsing experience, even the least techy of users. The easy process of being able to quickly and simply open up new pages and links whilst browsing the Internet has become standard. However, the program we use to browse our files in Windows is still lacking in this feature. Indeed, it’s a good, simple way of viewing, organising and searching for files, but it could be improved. This is where QT’s TabBar and toolbar come in.

This small, easy-to-install application allows you to add two new toolbars to Windows Explorer. Once installed (please see here for install instructions – note that you will need to right click and run as administrator in Vista), log off and on again to restart Explorer. You can then enable either one or both of the toolbars. The first of which is a tab-bar. Simply enable this by right-clicking on an empty area of your current toolbars and clicking ‘QT TabBar’. You should then see a new tab-bar pop up. You can then unlock your toolbars and drag them around to gain a comfortable layout. This is really quite a snazzy product. Rather than opening up a separate window for different

folders, you can have multiple locations open within the same window, and just like in a web browser, middle-clicking on a folder will open it in a new tab. You can drag files around between these tabs, as well as customising various options – just right-click an empty area of the tab-bar and have a wander through the plethora of choices to make it work in the best way possible for you.

The second of the provided toolbars is slightly less exciting, but no less useful. You’ll notice the change more in Vista, where Microsoft made Windows Explorer much simpler, removing all but the backwards and forwards buttons. This is fine if the only need is simplicity, but if you’re anything like me, you may miss a few of the old functions from XP. Enabling the ‘QT Tab Standard Buttons’ toolbar will pop up some familar buttons from XP. You can right click on this toolbar to add or remove buttons, or even change the image on each if you’re not happy with the provided icons.

Showcasing a few of QT's features

Showcasing a few of QT's features

Other small but nifty and time-saving features are also added. Hovering over a folder will show a small arrow to the right, clicking this pops up a drop-down list which allows you to quickly navigate to other folders or files, without having to poddle through the directories. You can also hover over an image file to see a thumbnail appear, also containing basic informaiton about the image. Another feature of the toolbar is the small search-box. Whilst you’ll already have Microsoft’s version of this if you use Vista, QT Tab’s works differently: it searches in a different way: only searching the currently open directory of folders and files. This is often helpful if you just want to quickly find a file or folder out of the current list, rather than searching your whole computer in a strange, somewhat cumbersome manner. In addition, you can also add lists of your favourite applications or files which can then be accessed quickly and easily from the ‘Applications’ drop-down, saving you a trip to the Start Menu.

I did seem to notice a slight performance decrease when browsing files after the install, but this was temporary; Explorer now appears to perform the same as it did prior to the install. I would also suggest that the productivity increase you are likely to see will outweigh any minor speed decrease you may experience. Either way, it’s easy to remove the toolbars if you encounter any issues.

If you decide that neither of these features are for you, simple disable the toolbars again. You can also fully remove it by running the quick install wizard again, this time opting to remove it. Unfortunately the next version of Windows, Windows 7, isn’t set to include tabbed file browsing, so it looks like we’ll need this again if upgrading! I hope you’ll agree that these tools save a lot of time, making simple tasks easier and simpler. Give it a whirl and see what you think by downloading from www.qttabbar.com, and for help with installing, please see this article.