Save time switching between Office documents by displaying them as tabs in a single window
When you open a new document in Word, Excel or another Office application, it appears in its own window. Switching between documents involves clicking on the Taskbar, which can become frustrating when dealing with several open documents.
However, a free tool called Office Tab can ease the pain. It works with Word, Excel and Powerpoint and allows you to view all open documents from each application in a single program window. Each document is displayed using easily identifiable tabs, making them easy to manage and switch between.
In this workshop we will show you how to install, use and configure Office Tab to simplify the task of managing multiple documents in Office 2003, 2007 and 2010.
Visit the download page for the Office Tab Free Edition. In most cases, you will want to download the 32-bit version for Office 2003, 2007 and 2010, in which case click the EXE link in the Office Tab Free Edition column. If the File Download Security Warning dialogue box appears, click Save and choose a location for the downloaded file. Firefox users should select Save File to save the download to Firefox’s default download folder. Now double-click the downloaded file and follow the prompts to install the program, choosing Typical when prompted to select the installation type. Once complete, click to remove the tick from the Edit Setting box and click Finish.
Now launch Word, Excel or Powerpoint and open a file in the usual way. You will see the Office Tab bar appear above the document with the document name on its own tab. Open a second file and it will appear as a new tab in the same window - switch between documents by clicking the appropriate tab. An asterisk next to the document name indicates that it contains unsaved changes - a useful reminder to save regularly. Tabs can be dragged and dropped into a different order, and individual documents are closed by clicking the X button on their tab.
Office Tab is installed as three separate entities for Word, Excel and Powerpoint, meaning it can be configured independently for each Office application. To do this, double-click the Office Tab Center shortcut on the Windows Desktop. Select Excel, Word or Powerpoint from the left-hand menu to configure or disable Office Tab for that application using the General & Position and Style & Colour tabs. To disable Office Tab for the selected Office application, just remove the tick from the appropriate ‘Enable Tabs for…’ box under General & Position, and click OK.
To move the Office Tab bar so it appears below documents instead of above them, click the ‘Select Tab bar position’ dropdown menu at the bottom of the General & Position tab and select the 2-Below Workspace option. Office Tab supports two keyboard shortcuts: Control (Ctrl) and Tab to move between tabs, and Windows key and Q to show or hide the Office Tab bar. To disable these, remove the tick from the relevant box in the Shortcuts section under the General & Position tab, or change them by clicking to place the text-entry cursor in the appropriate shortcut box and typing the desired key combination.
The Style & Color tab allows you to tweak the tabs’ appearance to suit personal tastes. There are six different basic shapes available, including Rounded (the default), Angled and Chrome - switch between them using the ‘Select Tab style’ dropdown menu, using the Preview window to see what each looks like. The Tab Layout section makes it possible to either limit the maximum length of tabs in the Office Tab bar or make each tab the same, fixed width. This setting is only relevant for those who have many Office documents open at the same time.
The Office Tab bar is designed to blend in with Office but can be customised with a new font and a splash of colour. Specify a different font and type size for the text displayed in each tab via the Tab Font section. Tick ‘Customize Tab colors’ to change the colours used by individual tabs and the bar itself. Click on each heading to open a window with a range of colours to choose from. Select one and click OK - the Preview window reveals how the colours will look on screen. Finally, click OK again to apply your changes.
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