Defining Menu Lingo

Before I get too far into this section, I need to discuss terminology. At first, menu terminology confuses people because many of the terms are similar. The following list describes official Excel menu terminology, which I use throughout this chapter and the rest of the book:

1 Menu bar: The row of words that appears directly below the application's title bar. Excel has two menu bars that appear automatically, depending on the context. The menu bar displayed when a worksheet is active differs from the menu bar displayed when a chart sheet is active.

1 Menu: A single, top-level element of a menu bar. For example, both of Excel's menu bars have a menu called File.

1 Menu item: An element that appears in the drop-down list when you select a menu. For example, the first menu item under the File menu is New. Menu items also appear in submenus and shortcut menus.

1 Separator bar: A horizontal line that appears between two menu items. The separator bar groups similar menu items.

1 Submenu: A menu that is under some menus. For example, the Edit menu has a submenu called Clear.

1 Submenu item: A menu item that appears in the list when you select a submenu. For example, the EditOClear submenu contains the following submenu items: All, Formats, Contents, and Comments.

1 Shortcut menu: The floating list of menu items that appears when you right-click a selection or an object. In Excel, you can right-click just about anything and get a shortcut menu.

1 Enabled: A menu item that can be used. If a menu item isn't enabled, its text appears grayed out and it can't be used.

1 Checked: A menu item can display a graphical box that is checked or unchecked. The ViewOStatus Bar menu item is an example.

How Excel Handles Menus

Excel provides you with two ways to change the menu system:


i Use the ViewOToolbarsOCustomize command. This displays the Customize dialog box, which lets you change menus (and toolbars).

i Write VBA code to modify the menu system.

When you close Excel, it saves any changes that you've made to the menu system, and these changes appear the next time you open Excel. The information about menu modifications is stored in a file with an XLB extension. In most cases, you won't want your menu modifications to be saved between sessions. Generally, you need to write VBA code to change the menus while a particular workbook is open and then change them back when the workbook closes.

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