How to Customize and Use the Status Bar in Microsoft Office Applications

Take advantage of the Microsoft Office Status Bar in applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. It lets you see details and tackle tasks quickly.

How many times do you check the word count in Word, wonder if Caps Lock is on when using Excel, or need to add notes to a slide in PowerPoint? You might not realize it, but you have a super-easy way to see and do things in these Microsoft applications with the Status Bar.

The Status Bar is the handiest of tools that displays information, provides quick access to actions, and is fully customizable. If this nifty part of Office is new to you, we’re here to help! Here’s how to use the Status Bar in your Microsoft Office applications.

Where You Can Find the Status Bar

The Status Bar is located at the bottom of each Office application. And it’s not just for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. You’ll also use it in applications like Outlook and Access, and on both Windows and Mac. At this time, the exception is if you are using the new Outlook for Mac released in the fall of 2020.

No matter what theme or background you use for your application, the Status Bar appears as a solid bar across the bottom of the application window. The only times you won’t see the Status Bar is if you use Focus mode or automatically hide the ribbon.

Excel and Word Status Bars

What You Can Do With the Status Bar

As mentioned, you can display information and take action with the Status Bar. So depending on how you customize it, you can accomplish tasks very quickly that would otherwise require a trip to the ribbon or menu.

Each application offers its own set of options for the Status Bar. Some of them are the same, such as the Zoom and Zoom Slider. While others are based on the application’s purpose. For example, you can view page numbers in Word, a sum of cells in Excel, and the number of unread emails in Outlook.

How to Customize the Status Bar

When you look at the bottom of your application window at the Status Bar, you’ll likely see some items displayed already. A good example is the Zoom Slider on the right slide which lets you zoom in and out of the application view.

To see all options for that application’s Status Bar, simply right-click on the bar and a list will display.

Anything you see in the list with a checkmark is enabled for that Status Bar. Click to check options in the list and add them to the Status Bar and uncheck those you don’t want to remove. The Status Bar updates immediately.

PowerPoint and Outlook Status Bar Options

Some items you add from the list may not appear until you need them, however. For example, you might add Average and Sum to the Excel Status Bar, but you don’t see them in the bar. This can be because you don’t have the data selected in your spreadsheet. As soon as Excel recognizes applicable data, like when you select the cells, you’ll see those options display in the Status Bar.

Excel Status Bar For Selected Cells

Many of the items you can add to the Status Bar turn into actionable buttons. A good example is using the Status Bar in Word. If you enable things like spell check, track changes, and Focus view, you can use those tools by clicking the corresponding button in the Status Bar. You can tell if a button has been pressed because it will darken.

Word Status Bar with Button Pressed

Also note, if you resize your Office application window, the Status Bar may not be wide enough to display all of the options you want. So if you prefer to use a very small window, you might want to customize the Status Bar to use the options you really need.

Make the Microsoft Office Status Bar Yours

Customizations are wonderful for applications like those included in Microsoft Office. By making slight adjustments, you can create a more efficient experience for work, school, or personal use. So be sure to spend a few minutes customizing the Status Bar in your Office applications!

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