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Declutter the title bar in Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office has had the ability to place icons in the title bar for a long time. I seem to remember doing that way back in Office 2007. But recent versions put a lot more things in the title bar by default. This makes certain commonly used functions readily available regardless of which part of the ribbon you have visible. But the downside is when you need to move the window around. With all of those icons and the search bar up there, there isn’t a lot of clickable space left in the title bar to use to drag it around. If you can’t drag your window in Word, I have a fix.

Here’s how to declutter the title bar in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and other Microsoft Office apps to make multitasking a bit easier.

The Office Title Bar

declutter the title bar in Microsoft Office

If you can’t drag your window in Office apps, you can use this obscure configuration dialog to declutter the title bar in Microsoft Office.

To customize your title bar, navigate to File > Options > Quick Access toolbar. You can check the box to show the quick access toolbar below the ribbon, or remove icons for things you don’t use or know the keyboard shortcuts for. I know CTRL-S and CTRL-Z so those are good candidates.

In my case, I had icons for save, undo, and read you in the top left of my title bar. That’s convenient, except I know the keyboard shortcuts for those are control s for save, control z for undo, and shift control z for redo.

How to memorize the keyboard shortcuts

If you memorize those keyboard shortcuts, then you can free up that space in the toolbar. Control s is easy to remember, because s is for save. Control u wasn’t available for undo, because that is for underline. But z is the last letter of the alphabet, and you want to undo the last thing you did. So just remember the last letter of the alphabet helps you undo the last thing that you did. And redo undoes the undo you just did. Use the shift key for the opposite.

It may take a week to get those keyboard shortcuts down, but once you do, those icons in the toolbar are wasting space. Disable them, and now you have enough room to drag your title bar around.

You will probably also find you can hit control s a lot faster than you can mouse up to the title bar.

And you may find that you don’t need to clear all three icon spots and still have room to drag the toolbar around. If that’s the case, you might consider putting a different shortcut in one or two of those places, something that doesn’t have an easy keyboard shortcut to remember perhaps. When I was struggling to get used to Office 2007, that was one of the things I did.

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