Add superscript and subscript buttons to Office toolbars

If you work with a lot of superscripts and subscripts in Office (both the 2004 or 2008 versions of the suite), you can make your job easier by adding the superscript and subscript buttons to the toolbar in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. At least, you should be able to add those buttons to toolbars…however, Microsoft has made it somewhat maddeningly difficult to do so, as the process varies depending on which application you’re using.

In Word, you can use the toolbar customization menu to add the super/subscript buttons to a toolbar. In Word 2004, you’ll find that menu in View -> Toolbars -> Customize Toolbars/Menus. In Word 2008, it’s in View -> Customize Toolbars and Menus. Once the customization dialog appears, click on the Commands tab, then scroll down to Subscript and Superscript in the list. Drag each one to a spot on a menu, and you’re done.

You’d think it’d be just as simple in PowerPoint and Excel, but that’s not the case. In PowerPoint’s Commands tab, you’ll only find Superscript, not Subscript. Excel is even worse, as neither command appears in the list. How then can you add the missing toolbar buttons in these two programs? With a bit of help from AppleScript.

First, make sure PowerPoint and/or Excel are running, otherwise the AppleScripts will generate error messages. Also make sure both are showing the Formatting toolbar (use the View -> Toolbars menu to make sure it’s visible). Then launch Script Editor in Applications -> Utilities and enter either or both of the following scripts. (Enter only one script at a time; don’t try to put them both in one document.)

For PowerPoint, copy and paste this script:

tell application "Microsoft PowerPoint"
    make new command bar control at command bar ¬
    "Formatting" with properties {control type:control button, begin group:true, id:57}
end tell

For Excel, copy and paste this script:

tell application "Microsoft Excel"
    make new command bar control at command bar ¬
    "Formatting" with properties {control type:control button, begin group:true, id:57}
    make new command bar control at command bar ¬
    "Formatting" with properties {control type:control button, id:58}
end tell

Now just click the Run button in each script window, then wait for the program to finish. Switch back to Excel or PowerPoint, and you’ll see the Superscript and/or Subscript buttons at the end of the Formatting toolbar. From there, you can use the Customize Toolbars/Menus menu item to rearrange them (by dragging), placing them wherever you wish. You only need to run the AppleScripts once, unless you accidentally drag one of the buttons off a toolbar. If that happens, just run the relevant script again to restore the button.

  
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