Make the most out of Word’s Mini Toolbar

If you’re using Word, you’ve probably noticed that a dialog box appears each time you select text. This is the Mini Toolbar and it is basically a compact version of the Font group (with Format Painter and a bit of the Paragraph group thrown in). The Mini Toolbar allows you to apply formatting, e.g. fonts, bolding, bullets, etc. to your selected text.

Create and modify text styles

But did you realise that this powerful little tool has other handy features? In Word 2013, the Mini Toolbar gives you access to Styles as well. (This function is not available on the Word 2010 Mini Toolbar.) By selecting text and clicking the down arrow on the Styles button you can:

  • Select a style by clicking on the appropriate preview;
  • Create a new style from scratch;
  • Clear Formatting so you have normal, unformatted text; and
  • Apply Styles which allows you to type the name of the style you want or select it from a drop-down list.
The Styles button on Word's Mini Toolbar.

The Styles button on Word’s Mini Toolbar.

Access or disable the Mini Toolbar

As mentioned, the Mini Toolbar appears when you select text. You can also access it without selecting text simply by right-clicking on any piece of text. (Right-clicking also launches the Context Menu. This is the tall, rectangular box with Paste Options, etc.) However, some users find the Mini Toolbar irritating. You can disable it easily via the File menu. Go to:

File / Options / General / User Interface options, and deselecting Show Mini Toolbar on selection.

Deselect Word's Mini Toolbar via User Interface options.

Deselect Word’s Mini Toolbar via User Interface options.

The toolbar won’t appear when you select text but it will still pop-up if you right-click on text.