Home | Tips | Library | Other Authors | Other WP Sites | Writer's Links | Contact | Site Map | Donate

Barry MacDonnell's
Toolbox for WordPerfect

Macros, tips, and templates for Corel® WordPerfect® for Windows®
© Copyright 1996-2021 by Barry MacDonnell. All Rights Reserved.

Page updated Jan 9, 2019

WordPerfect Tips
Main tips page | Browse more tips

Custom Property Bars

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

For general information about toolbars and property bars see:

•  Toolbars and Property bars - The difference between them, how to see/hide them, how to change their appearance, and how to restore them to default settings

For information on how 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


If you are unfamiliar with the terms "property bar" and "toolbar" here is a page on this site that explains the difference between them, how to see/hide them, how to change their appearance, and how to restore them to default settings.

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 the View, Toolbars dialog.

Toolbars dialog

Be sure to enable (tick) the Property Bar check box to see the current property bars, and enable any other appropriate boxes for the standard toolbars you want to display. [Property bars are simply a special type of toolbar, so they are listed in the same Toolbars dialog.]


•  The standard default toolbar for your WordPerfect version is simply labeled "WordPerfect" with no number after it. No doubt you will always want this toolbar enabled (unless you have made a custom, renamed copy of it, in which case enable the custom one instead).

•  The "Application Bar" is also known as the status bar and appears at the bottom of the WordPerfect program window. It displays information about open documents, cursor position, etc. (After enabling it, right-click on the visible Application Bar when viewing the main WordPerfect window to access various customizable Settings.)

•  Both the standard WordPerfect toolbar and the Application bar are static toolbars -- meaning they do not change dynamically to other bars as you change tasks in the edit screen.

•  Several of the other available toolbars in the Toolbars dialog will appear automatically when needed (e.g., Endnote, Footnote, et al.) -- at which point they are customarily called property bars -- so you might want to wait a bit before enabling such toolbars in that dialog until you are sure you need them to be constantly displayed as static toolbars.

Reason: They take up screen space on the main WordPerfect window, which might be undesirable and even confusing.

Better: You can add various buttons to the default toolbar -or- you can create a brand new, custom toolbar containing the desired buttons for several different tasks. See the links in the left column.

•  Sometimes while editing a document users accidentally hide property bars by right-clicking on them and then clicking "Hide Property Bar".

Solution: Just enable the Property Bar checkbox (see image above) to make them visible again.

(2)  Many property bars require the cursor to be positioned inside the area being edited -- such as when working inside a Header or a Table.

For example, you won't see the Header property bar if your cursor is anywhere inside the body text area of the document; you will need to click inside the Header to position the cursor there, in order to make its property bar visible (assuming you have enabled the Property Bar option as described in Note #1 above).

(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 in the document.

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 as soon as the task changes.

This is normally considered to be a nice feature -- unless you are trying to add a new button to a property bar so that it is always present in the same screen 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 whenever 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 delete or move buttons, or restore/reset a property bar to factory settings, as explained in the Tips section below.

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

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

To edit a property bar -

Either use -

Method 1(a): Right-click on the currently visible property bar; then -

•  choose Settings to bring up the Customize Settings dialog;
•  select (click on) the desired property bar from the list on the Property Bars tab; then
•  click Edit.

Or use -

Method 1(b): First do whatever is needed to bring up a specific property bar (for example: for the Selected Text property bar select some text in the document first), then -

•  right-click on that property bar; then
•  click Edit.

Either way, the Property Bar Editor dialog appears with 4 tabs at the top -

   Features | Keystrokes
| Programs | Macros

•  Under the Features tab, there's a "Feature Categories" drop list. Scroll down in it to select the desired category (e.g., Format).

•  In the "Features" list, choose the desired button (e.g., Paragraph Format).

•  Click on Add Button on the Property Bar Editor dialog.

•  Click OK to dismiss the Property Bar Editor.

•  If the Customize Settings dialog is visible, click Close to return to your document.

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 to a property bar.

[Tip: To copy a button from a property bar to a toolbar (the reverse of the procedures in this section), see the tip below.]

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.


Either use -

Method 2(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.

Or use -

Method 2(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:
[1] Do whatever is needed to display the desired property bar, then
[2] drag the new button onto it while holding down the appropriate shortcut key(s) (as above).

See also the Tips section 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.)

You can add separations between buttons by click-dragging on the Separator icon on the Property Bar Editor (see Method 1 above) and dropping a separator bar at the desired location on the toolbar.

Or you can double-click on that icon to add a separator bar on the property bar (at the end of other buttons).

Either way you probably will want to relocate the separator by dragging it elsewhere while the Property Bar Editor is still open on screen.

Note that the program accepts just one separator at a given location. If you add more to the same location the program will delete the extra separators at that location when you press OK to close the Editor.

(When you close the Editor, the separator will shrink in width and might not be easy to see [example images], but it can still be dragged elsewhere by holding down the Alt key while click-dragging it.)

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. Then -

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:

[Note: There's a new feature in WordPerfect X8: Locking toolbars. Right-click on a toolbar or property bar and you can lock/unlock all of them in their current locations. Locking prevents accidentally dragging a toolbar or property bar from its preferred location.]

[A] 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 -

[B] 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 toolbar.


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).

Hence it is better to leave them on the property bar where they will appear when needed.