Customize the Status Bar in Microsoft Office

Get More Contextual Information in Docs, Spreadsheets, Presentations, and Email

Status Bar in Microsoft Office 2013
Status Bar in Microsoft Office 2013. (c) Screenshot by Cindy Grigg, Courtesy of Microsoft

Did you know you can customize the Status Bar in Microsoft Office?

Many users of programs such as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook see the Status Bar every day without realizing what it is or what additional information it can provide.

This helpful toolbar is found at the bottom left of the user interface. In Word, for example, default information likely includes Page 2 of 10 for your latest business report or 206,017 Words for that epic fantasy novel you are writing. 

But your options do not end there. You can opt to see contextual information that relates to your position in the document, and more. Most of these Status items show information you can find somewhere else, so think of this as a way to keep that information front and center. For that reason, you should customize it to meet your needs for a particular document.

Here's how to make Office programs even more streamlined for what you need.

Here's How:

  1. If you do not see the Status Bar or the information mentioned just above, activate it by selecting File - Options - View - Show - checkmark Status Bar box. Please keep in mind that different versions of Office may require slightly different instructions for this, so if this doesn't work for you, look under the Office button in the upper left.
  2. Alternatively, to find your customization options, just right-click the Status Bar. This means you would place your cursor over a piece of information such as the page count or word count, then right-click your mouse or trackpad.
  3. Look through the list of available information you can display in the Status Bar. When you find one you would like to use, simply click on it to activate it for your document.

Additional Tips:

  1. Note that you do need to customize this for each document. If you do want all documents to contain custom Status Bar information, you need to change that in the Normal Template.
  2. You may also be interested in how to import or export customized Office settings to another installation Backup or Restore Your Microsoft Office Toolbar Customizations.
  3. Here are some options I have found useful:
  • Visual or design tools such as Vertical Page Position, which lets you know precisely where your cursor is at any given moment.
  • Whether Track Changes is On or Off. Yes, you can see this status information under the Review tab, but if you switch between these often, the Status Bar is just that much easier.
  • Line Number helps in some large documents, or when collaborating with someone else who wants to direct your attention to a specific place in the document.
  • Collaborative tools for those using later versions of Word, which allows for synchronous or real-time editing among multiple authors. Even if you aren't working on those types of documents, you can still use status information such as Number of Authors Editing and Document Updates Available to help you stay on track.
  • In Excel, I like customizing the calculations that show in the Status Bar. For example, for some reason, I tend to I want to know the COUNT of items I select more often than the SUM. You may already have these showing depending on your version's default settings.
  • In Word, I sometimes turn off the View Shortcuts option because I don't use them enough and sometimes click them accidentally, which changes the entire view of the screen.
  • In PowerPoint or Outlook, most Status Bar options are active by default, so you may want to take something away if you find it too cluttered.