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Barry MacDonnell's
Toolbox for WordPerfect

Macros, tips, and templates for Corel® WordPerfect® for Windows®
© Copyright 1996-2017 by Barry MacDonnell. All Rights Reserved.

Page updated Nov 1, 2016

WordPerfect Tips
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Custom Property Bars

Adding, deleting, copying, and moving buttons on the context-sensitive Property Bars 

Related pages -

To customize Toolbars see:

How to create a toolbar button (on an existing toolbar) to play a macro, load a program, or use a built-in WordPerfect feature

How to create a brand new, custom toolbar


How to customize PROPERTY BARS

The property bar you see on screen (below the main toolbar) when you first open a new document or when you load an old one is the Text property bar, usually containing drop lists for fonts and font sizes, some basic formatting buttons (Bold, Italics, etc.) and a Styles drop list.

Toolbar and Property Bar

However, as soon as you select some text, or create a header, or edit a footnote, or use a variety of other WordPerfect features, the property bar changes to a new property bar to give you access to new buttons, pick lists, etc., appropriate to your new task.


(1)  To see these bars on screen you must have (at a minimum) the appropriate checkboxes enabled in View, Toolbars: Enable (tick) the Property Bar check box to see all property bars, and enable other appropriate boxes for the standard toolbars you want to have visible (note the standard, default toolbar begins with the word "WordPerfect"). Sometimes users accidentally hide property bars by right-clicking on them. Just enable the Property Bar checkbox to make them visible again.

(2)  Many property bars require the cursor to be positioned inside the area being edited -- such as inside a Header being edited, or insidea Table being edited. For example, you won't see the Header property bar if your cursor is inside the body text area of the document; you will need to click inside the Header to make its property bar visible (assuming the information in Note #1 is also true).

(3)  You'll probably also notice that some property bar buttons are common to several property bars, so parts of the currently displayed property bar might appear not to change when you change editing tasks.

Here's a common "problem" when trying to customize a property bar:

Many users have figured out how to modify their toolbars (see here for how to do it), and have then decided to modify one or more property bars. Or perhaps they have dragged useful buttons from a property bar to delete them (see the Tips below) and they now want those buttons back.

However, property bars are (by default) dynamic: a given property bar is visible only during the performance of certain tasks, and it is usually replaced by another property bar once the task changes.

This is normally considered to be a nice feature -- unless you are trying to add a button to a property bar so that it is always present in the same area (i.e., just above the ruler) when that property bar is active.

It is easy to assume that modifying one property bar modifies all of them, but this is not the case.

For example, a user once asked: 

"I have attempted to customize both my toolbar and property bars; however, each time I select text, the buttons I added [to the property bar] simply disappear. How do I get them to stay?"

The answer:  

"It sounds like you added buttons to a property bar such as the ubiquitous Text property bar. Then, when you select some text, the Selected Text property bar appears. This is 'working as designed.' Property bars display only when needed."

This user wanted to get the new button onto the Selected Text property bar so that it appears when some text is selected.

Here are a couple of methods you can use to add (or even restore any deleted) buttons to a specific property bar. Note that you can always reset a property bar as explained in the Tips below.

Method 1: Add a new button to the property bar.

You can place a button directly on the desired property bar -- such as a button to set paragraph formatting for selected paragraphs -- by editing the property bar.

To edit a particular property bar -


(a) Right-click on the currently visible property bar; choose Settings to bring up the Customize Settings dialog; select (click on) the desired property bar from the list on the Property Bars tab; and then click Edit.


(b) First bring up a specific property bar (e.g., for the Selected Text property bar, select some text in the document first); right-click on that property bar; and then click Edit.


The Property Bar Editor appears with 4 tabs. Under the Features tab, there's a "Feature Categories" drop list. Scroll down in it to select the category (e.g., Format). In the "Features" list, choose the desired button (e.g., Paragraph Format).

Click on Add Button, then click OK to dismiss the Property Bar Editor. If the Customize Settings dialog is visible, click Close.

Whenever that property bar appears, the new button will be available. See also the Tips below about deleting buttons, customizing the property bar, etc.

Method 2: Copy or move an existing button from a toolbar.

You can use a button from a standard toolbar
that is currently visible [see here about adding buttons to the standard toolbar]. You would then simply drag-and-copy (or move) the button from the standard toolbar to the currently active property bar.

Advantages: This method might be a little easier/quicker than Method 1 if you already have the desired button on a standard toolbar. [And you can do the reverse. You can copy/move a button from a property bar onto the standard toolbar. See Tips below.]

Here's how.


Display the desired property bar to which you want to copy the button. That is, do whatever is needed to make that property bar appear on screen. For example: Select some text to display the Selected Text property bar.



(a) Use the keyboard and mouse.

To copy the button, hold down both the <Alt> and <Ctrl> keys while you (left-click) drag the button onto the property bar.

move the button, hold down just the <Alt> key when you drag the button onto the property bar.


(b) Use the Toolbar Editor.

Right-click on the standard toolbar containing the desired button and choose Edit.

The Toolbar Editor appears; however, you won't need the Toolbar Editor at this time (you can drag it out of the way).

For now, hold down just the <Ctrl> key while you (left-click) drag the button to copy it from the standard toolbar onto the property bar. (Caution: If you just (left-click) drag you will move it to the property bar.)

Click OK to dismiss the Toolbar Editor.

The same process can be used to copy (or move) a button to any property bar: Do whatever is needed to display the desired property bar, then drag the new button onto it.
See also the Tips below about deleting buttons, customizing the property bar, etc.


  • To delete a button from the property bar (or a toolbar) when you are back in the main document, simply hold down the <Alt> key and drag the button off the bar.
  • You can move an existing button on a property bar to rearrange the buttons. When you are back in the main document, hold down the <Alt> key while you drag the button to a new location on that bar. (Be careful you don't drag it from the bar: see previous tip.)
  • To customize the property bar appearance, location (see "To re-position..." below), font size, presence of a scroll bar, and/or the maximum number of rows/columns to show:
    • Right-click on the property bar and choose Settings. Select the bar in the list if it isn't already selected.
    • Click Options to set the button's appearance (Text, Picture, or Picture and text), Font size (Small, Normal, or Large), use Large icons, and/or Show the scroll bar and the maximum number of rows/columns to show.
  • To restore (reset) a modified property bar to the factory settings:
    • Right-click on the property bar and choose Settings. Select the bar in the list if it isn't already selected. Click Reset.
  • You can move or copy an existing button from one toolbar to another toolbar or to a property bar (assuming both source and target bars are visible).
    • To move it, hold down the <Alt> key while you drag the button to the other toolbar.
    • To copy it, hold down the <Ctrl> and <Alt> keys while you drag it. [Most people probably will want to copy the button, not move it, so that the source toolbar remains the same.]
  • To reposition a property bar (i.e., the entire bar, not just a button) to a different location on screen:
    • You can use the quick and easy way: Place your mouse cursor on an empty area or border (not on a button) on the property bar and left-click-and-drag the property bar to a new location: left, right, top, bottom, or palette ("floating"). When its border changes from a thick to a thin line -- a "ghost" outline of the bar's shape (except for the palette, which will always be a rectangle with a thick border) -- release your mouse button and the property bar should snap into that location. Later, you can drag it back to the main toolbar area to relocate it back in its default position. (If this proves difficult or tricky, use the dialog method below.)

      - or -

    • Use the dialog method: Click Tools, Settings, Customize -- or simply right-click on any Property bar and choose Settings.
    • In the Customize Settings dialog that appears, click on the Property Bars tab and then use your mouse to choose (i.e., reverse highlight the name of) the property bar. (The factory default is the Text property bar.)
    • Click the Options button. Make your choice of location, etc., on the Property Bar Options dialog. [As in the quick method above, "Palette" creates a floating property bar that you can drag to a different position. If you drag it back over its normal default location in the main toolbar area -- the border will change from a thick to a thin line when it can be docked -- and then release your mouse button, it should snap into that location.]
    • Click OK to close the Property Bar Options dialog, then Close to return to the document.
    • To position it back in its original location, repeat the above steps and choose the newly desired location on that Options dialog. [Tip: For the Palette (floating) toolbar you can double click on its title bar and it should snap back into its original location. (Thanks to Roy "lemoto" Lewis for this tip.)]
  • To copy a button from a property bar to the standard toolbar (the reverse of the methods outlined above): The simplest way is to use Method 2(a) above -- but reverse the direction of movement:
    • To copy the button, hold down both the <Alt> and <Ctrl> keys while you (left-click) drag the button from the property bar onto the tool bar.

      You could also
      move the button by holding down just the <Alt> key when you drag the button from the property bar onto the tool bar -- but note that this is not generally recommended since the property bar exists to provide access to common features for the task at hand. Moving buttons from a property bar means they are removed from that bar, and you will then have to find the button on a (probably) more crowded toolbar. Further, some property bar buttons cannot be used outside of the task at hand (they become inactive); it is best to leave them on the property bar where they will appear when needed.