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Barry MacDonnell's
Toolbox for WordPerfect

Macros, tips, and templates for Corel® WordPerfect® for Windows®
© Copyright 1996-2023 by Barry MacDonnell. All Rights Reserved.

Page updated Dec 22, 2020

WordPerfect Tips
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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

Page contents -


Property bars

To see them on screen

Changing appearance or location, adding buttons, restoring to factory defaults

Related pages on this site -

How to customize toolbars (and links to pages about customizing the keyboard and the main menu)

How to create a new, custom toolbar

How to customize property bars

The difference between TOOLBARS and PROPERTY BARS

Main Toolbar and Text Property Bar

This is an example of the main toolbar and the context-specific Text property bar that appears when typing in the body text area.

Tip: Hover your mouse over a button icon or over a drop list in your own WordPerfect program to see a brief description of that item. (Tools, Settings, Environment, Interface, Quick Tips must be enabled.)

A toolbar is the area that is (usually) located just under the top (main) menu, as shown in the image above. It contains buttons that perform various tasks when you click on them. 

•  The main (or default) toolbar shown above is the one you see when you first installed WordPerfect. [See also "To see these bars on screen" below.]

•  There are several other named toolbars that ship with WordPerfect, each of which you can access (i.e., toggle on or off) with Tools, Settings, Customize, Toolbars tab — or just right-click on the toolbar area and choose Setttings on the context menu that appears

•  Toolbars can be customized to add, reposition, or remove buttons, as described in "How to create a toolbar button..." here

•  You can create new custom-purpose toolbars, as described in "How to create a new, custom toolbar" here.

•  The appearance of a Toolbar (type of buttons, location of the toolbar, etc.) can be changed; see below.

•  [New with WordPerfect Office X8:] Locking toolbars: Right-click on a toolbar or property bar and you can lock/unlock it in its current location. Locking prevents accidentally dragging the bar away from its preferred location. (Tip: They can always be dragged back into position.)

A property bar is similar in appearance and function to a toolbar — in fact, it's just a special type of toolbar located below the main toolbar area, just above the ruler (if the ruler is displayed) and the main document screen area. See the image above, which shows the standard Text property bar. (Can't see it? See the next item below.)

•  Property bars are dynamic ("context-sensitive") they change as needed to provide access (via buttons or drop lists) to various features depending on what you are doing at the time (i.e., the current context).

For example, the Header/Footer property bar generally appears automatically when the cursor is inside a header or a footer.

[Regular toolbars described in the previous section are more static — although they, too, can be customized with new buttons, manually loaded when needed, and even "triggered" to appear automatically in a custom template (see links at left).]

•  Each property bar is named. You can quickly see which one is active by right-clicking on the property bar and choosing Settings (or, similar to the above, with Tools, Settings, Customize, Property Bars.) This opens the Customize Settings dialog.


See also "To see these bars on screen" below.

When the Customize Settings dialog is on screen with its Property Bars tab selected, you can choose another property bar from the list to see what it contains. It should immediately appear in place of the current property bar.  (This might be best done in a new blank document, where the Text property bar is displayed by default.)

Repeat as desired for any other property bar.

Notice that there's no need to close the Customize Settings dialog while doing this, so you can choose other property bars to see what they contain. When you close the dialog the previously active property bar will re-display.

Notice also that this tip does not give you access to the property bar or its buttons: it is merely a "display only" method. Refer to the Edit (and other) methods here if you wish to make changes to any property bar.

•  Some property bars can be made static. Thus they can be set to display all the time with View, Toolbars, <enable a specific bar in the "Available toolbars" list>.


▸ Not all property bars have toolbar analogs.

This is not a frequent user choice since it sometimes can "clutter" the program screen with unwanted duplication of buttons. Alternatively...

•  The appearance of a property bar — type of button, location of the property bar, etc. — can be changed; see below.

•  Property bars can be hidden from view — deliberately, by choice, or sometimes by accident. See next item below.

•  Property bars can be easily customized to provide access to often used features, as described in "How to customize property bars" here.

To see these bars on screen the appropriate checkboxes on the View, Toolbars dialog must be enabled (ticked):

Toolbars dialog
[Shown: The WordPerfect X8 Toolbars dialog.]

•  Be sure to enable (tick) the Property Bar check box to see all dynamic property bars (described above). (This box is enabled by default.)

Below that option is the standard, default toolbar, labeled "WordPerfect".  (This box is enabled by default.) Any custom toolbars you created will also appear in the list. You might have to scroll down to see them.

•  Another useful toolbar is the Application Bar * which appears (if enabled as in the image above) at the very bottom of the program's window. It displays information about open documents (with clickable "tabs" to change between open documents), current page number and cursor position, etc. (Tips: After enabling it, right-click on the visible Application Bar to access various customizable Settings. Also, double-clicking on the page number area on that bar brings up the Go To dialog. )

•  Typically these first three options will be the most useful to you the majority of the time. But you can enable other toolbars and some property bars (scroll down in the list) that you might want to have visible all the time.

•  Users sometimes accidentally or deliberately hide property bars by right-clicking on a property bar and choosing "Hide Property Bar" or by clicking View, Hide Bars.


▸  Try making the property bars visible again from the main menu with View, Toolbars, Property Bar.

▸  If the program's main menu was also hidden with View, Hide Bars, try pressing <Esc> to re-display the menu, toolbar, property bar, etc.

The menu option View, Hide Bars can be helpful when editing on a small screen to give you more screen "real estate". When you choose that option a small dialog appears with information and instructions on returning to the normal program window (typically with <Esc>).

•  Generally, most users find property bars helpful — which is why similar context-sensitive "help" menus or tool bars are provided with many other software programs (including in Windows itself).

•  If you have narrowed the WordPerfect window horizontally you might not see all items on a toolbar or property bar. But you can [1] enable the scroll bar feature to see more rows and/or [2] increase the number of rows to display (see next section below).

* The Application Bar is similar to what some programs call the Status bar.

You can make changes to the appearance and/or screen location of these bars, add or move buttons, or restore factory settings:

•  To customize the appearance of these bars:

Right-click on them and choose Settings from the pop up context menu; this opens the Customize Settings dialog; click on Options to open a small dialog where you can make changes to -

• button appearance (text, picture, or both);
font size (small, normal, or large);
toolbar (and property bar) location on the screen

icon size (make them large or default size);
whether the scroll bar feature (on the right side of a bar) is visible;
the maximum number of fixed rows/columns to show (default = 1).


☼  Sometimes users accidentally drag a bar onto the main document area from its docked location. This causes the bar to immediately change to a floating palette, which can be disconcerting the first time it happens. It can be dragged back into its docked location, or it can be placed back into location using the Options button, as described above).

[WordPerfect X8+ users can lock the toolbars and property bars, as described below.]

☼  Instead of right-clicking a bar to edit or relocate it you can use Tools, Settings, Customize, Toolbars (tab); then click once on the toolbar name to select (highlight) it; then click Edit.

•  To customize the available buttons (e.g., add or move buttons) on -

toolbars: See "Customize your toolbars"
property bars: See "How to customize property bars"

•  To restore (reset) a 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 on Reset.

•  Locking toolbars [New in WordPerfect Office X8]:

Right-click on a toolbar or property bar and you can lock/unlock it in its current location. Locking prevents accidentally dragging the bar away from its preferred location. They can always be unlocked and dragged back into position or set to a position with the Options button (see above).

It's helpful to use the specific names for these things ... especially when seeking help from various WordPerfect support sites. Definitions matter: they can help others understand what you are talking about.

How to customize TOOLBARS and PROPERTY BARS

See -

How to customize toolbars 

How to create a new, custom toolbar

How to customize property bars