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Personal website of Gregory K. Maxey, Commander USN (Retired)

Ribbon Custom Icons
(A Microsoft Word Help & Tip page by Gregory K. Maxey)

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This Microsoft Word Tips & Microsoft Word Help page addresses the frequently asked question, "In Word 2003 I could use the Button Editor to create my own custom menu or toolbar icon images. Can I do this in Word 2007/2010?"

The answer is more complex than a simple yes or no. Since the user interface (U/I) in Word 2007 does not contain a button editor, many would answer no. However, the range of images that can be applied to custom ribbon controls is practically endless. That range certainly includes any image that you have already created or may wish to create with the Word 2003 Button Editor.

Create and Apply Custom Icon

While the process may appear difficult or complex at first, you can still create custom images with the Word 2003 Button Editor (or other graphics editors) and apply them to Word 2007/2010 custom ribbon controls as the following steps will illustrate.

Site Note IconNote. Use of the Word 2003 Button Editor is optional. Word 2003 and Word 2007 are completely compatible on the same system so I have both installed. If using another graphics editor like Microsoft Paint then skip to step 3.

  1. Open Word 2003 and create a custom icon image using the Button Editor.
  2. Copy the button image.
ribbon custom icons 1

Create/modify button

ribbon custom icons 2
Copy the the button image

  1. Paste the image in a graphics editor ( I used "Paint" which came as part of my WindowsXP operating system).
ribbon custom icons 3
  1. Make any changes (I darkened the background to match my QAT background color) and save the file in a supported image format (e.g., .jpg, .bmp, .png).
ribbon custom icons 4
  1. Open the Custom UI Editor and open the template/file that will contain the custom image.
  2. With the "Insert Icons" toolbar command, load the saved custom image file.  This makes the image file a part of the template/document.
  3. Create/modify the custom RibbonXML using the image attribute of the custom control to assign the custom image.
ribbon custom icons 5

Site Note IconNote: In the RibbonXML above I have added a custom tab to a custom group control containing a single custom button control. Since I only want to show my custom control on the QAT, and not on the Ribbon, I have set the tab visible attribute to false. This prevents the custom tab appearing in the ribbon, but makes its controls available in the control collection.

  1. Save the custom RibbonXML and close the Custom UI Editor.
  2. Open the document, right click the QAT, and select "Customize Quick Access Toolbar..."
  3. Select "All Commands" in the "Choose commands from" window. Scroll the commands list to find the custom control then click "Add" and then click "OK."
ribbon custom icons 6

The custom control with a custom image is now available on the QAT.

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The beauty of the the Ribbon U\I customization is that you can put practically any image on your custom controls using several supported graphic formats with or without a graphics editor.

Here are a few graphic icons and images that I downloaded free from the internet and applied to custom button controls. It took all of about five minutes. Try doing that with Word 2003 and the Button Editor!

custom ribbon icons 8

Site Note iconNote: For more on using built-in and custom images for ribbon customization see my: Ribbon Images and Labels

That's it! I hope you have found this tips page useful and informative.  You can download the demonstration document I used to create this tips page here:  Ribbon Custom Icons

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