tech tips for writers

Tech Tip For Writers #11: How to Show the Entire Drop Down Menu

tech tips for writers

Tech Tips for Soon-to-be Great Writers

Tech Tips for Writers is an (almost) weekly post on overcoming Tech Dread. I’ll cover issues that friends, both real-time and virtual, have shared. Feel free to post a comment about a question you have. I’ll cover it in a future Tip.

Q: Every time I click on a drop down menu in MS Office (Word, Publisher, Excel, PowerPoint), it shows only some of the choices. How can I see all of them?

A: How often has some good-hearted soul who’s trying to help you with something techie said, ‘Select the menu command Edit (or whichever it might be). Now click on…’ And they rattle off a choice that you don’t see on your drop down menu. Right there, you’re stuck.

Here’s what probably happened. The menu commands are the words at the top of your program (i.e., MS Word). When you click on them, they drop down a bunch of choice. You make your selection from those. If you click on the menu command, and see a double arrow at the bottom, that means there are choices Word is hiding because you don’t use them often. You could click the double arrow to reveal those, or you could do the following:

  • Go to the menu command Tools
  • Select Customize (toward the bottom of the list)
  • When the dialogue box comes up, select the tab for

Now, every time you select a drop down menu, it will fully drop down.

Note: This is for Office 2003 only

Questions you want answered? Leave a comment here and I’ll answer it within the next thirty days.

Jacqui Murray is the editor of a technology curriculum for K-fifth grade and creator of two technology training books for middle school. She is the author of Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy midshipman. She is webmaster for five blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for, an ISTE article reviewer, IMS tech expert, and a weekly contributor to Write Anything and Technology in Education. Currently, she’s working on a techno-thriller that should be ready this summer. Contact Jacqui at her writing office or her tech lab, Ask a Tech Teacher.

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2 thoughts on “Tech Tip For Writers #11: How to Show the Entire Drop Down Menu

  1. I find it so annoying, I taught my third grade students how to fix it. Every time we used the drop-down menus, I’d get multiple hands saying they didn’t have that item. Learning to use the chevrons at the bottom was more difficult than fixing the problem once. And they felt empowered–did it at home for parents. So cool.


  2. This is such a common issue! For me anyway, LOL! Sometimes it’s difficult to see the wood for the trees in these boxes, so it’s nice to have the “SOP” laid out here so folk don’t forget to check boxes etc!


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