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 »  Articles Overview  »  Technology  »  CAT Tools  »  Customizing the Wordfast template

Customizing the Wordfast template

By Andreas Berger | Published  10/19/2006 | CAT Tools | Recommendation:
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Andreas Berger
անգլերենից գերմաներեն translator

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Hello to the community, dear users of 'Wordfast' for MSWord!

The following ideas came to my mind when I was wondering: ‚is there no individual language version of Wordfast available?‘ And can it not be 'customized', as it is common with other programs?

Upon my inquiry, a person from the Wordfast support team indicated to me that careful changes can indeed be made to Wordfast's keyboard shortcuts; giving this a try via the ‚Adjust toolbars/ keyboard‘ dialog I soon found out that in much the same way the entire WF interface (excepting only for the Setup window) is open for adjustment - and felt that this fact was too little known.
(I might add for all German users who care to know that I have already prepared a customized version of -aka 'the program file'- for shared experience, downloadable under the ‚Wordfast at Yahoo Group's 'Home/Files' submenu, from a newly created folder named "Customized ''s" ... ;-) You may have to register with the group to be able to access it; and please remember that this version is intended only for German users.)

I would therefore like to encourage others to create their own 'wf.dots', which can be easily achieved right within MsWord as described below:

For self-confident users: all you need to do is open the file '' in MSWord and use the 'Extras/Customize' dialog box to start editing by left & right clicking the desired menu entries. You will see that anything is possible, including changes to the entire interface language! Renaming a menu entry is just a matter of typing your 'line' into the provided space! Some icon editing features (both are available by click-right from the 'menu's context menu') may require the Visual Basic editor of Word to be installed.

And now for the details, with a few considerations beforehand:

the reason for having to open the file ‚‘ itself is, if you make changes to the Wordfast menu without opening the original file, which is absolutely possible, then these will be written into the Word’s standard template you have chosen to ‚autostart‘ with Word, usually ‚‘. It is, however, recommended to keep these templates apart, in any case.

do NOT type anything in the document window!! Go straight and open the 'customize toolbars' dialog, instead. It is only from here that you can change virtually any aspect of appearance, of any toolbar available: change the order of entries completely by 'drag 'n drop', change titles and texts of menu entries by right clicking them, add or even edit menu icons, and shortcuts (note that the dialog box has to remain open during the whole process, also if you do not in fact touch it!). Setting keystroke shortcuts for menu entries takes nothing more than to add the '&' (ampersand) character right in front of the letter that wants the shortcut. You will have to confirm whatever you wrote in the according line in the contextmenu, and to close it, with 'Enter'.
Needles to say, the same can be done to all other Word toolbars and menus, via right click, too! (Some icon editing features may require the Visual Basic editor of Word to be installed from the CD)

(or second, the order is up to you, once the dialog is open) for setting individual keyboard 'function shortcuts' (not to be confused with the above mentioned 'MENU keys'), press the 'keyboard' button in the 'Customize toolbars' dialog window.
The background for my doing this was that Wordfast unfortunately sets some 'Ctrl+Alt+...' keys, which are bound, however, to interfere with those used by Windows itself. They did with me. You will find it irritating when pressing Ctrl+Alt+A and have Winamp or some other program start that has these keys assigned, for instance! You may argue that this will not happen unless Word is out of focus/ foreground. So, another reason may be that the whole idea of keyboard shortcuts is that a user has to know them 'by heart' and might get them all confused when they are all on 'Ctrl+Alt'.

And this is how to turn them off: in the 'keyboard' dialog box, go straight to the 'Macros' entry in the first droplist and see all functions stored in on the right hand side, with the according keys shown in the fields below - this dialog offers plenty of options, such as testing your own shortcuts and telling you if Word already uses them, and for what. There is also a button for restoring the individual defaults.

Note that any keys you may now set by clicking 'assign' will overwrite existing ones. Remember you now have two templates open: ‚‘, opened manually and ‚‘, or the template of your personal standard, which Word loads automatically on program startup.
Just in order to avoid confusion: MS Word stores keyboard shortcuts as ‚macros‘ right within that template, so when overwriting shortcuts that Word has already assigned to some other function in the standard template, they will also be saved there! It maybe thus misleading that there is an option at the right hand bottom of the dialog box, where it says ‚Save in ...‘, to choose one of the active templates for storing the current changes (if ‚‘ was loaded as the only document window, then it will here be selected by default, the second option being '', in our example).
this will (obviously) not prevent changes to the standard template when overwriting a set shortcut, since on runtime Word cannot execute two functions associated with the same given command! So, the option refered to above is just for the unlikely case that you wished to store ALL changes into '', but don't do that! Overwriting Word's inherent settings cannot always be helped, it isn't such a big deal and can be restored any time!
Personally, the first thing I did here was alter all of wordfast’s ‚Ctrl+Alt‘ shortcuts by using ‚Ctrl+Shift‘ or ‚Alt+Shift‘ instead. That's what I recommend, too.

Finally, if everything is taylorfit, save '', close it and restart Word (you'll be asked to save changes, however, as with any other document on exit). That's it.

So much for this little 'Customize dots' intro,

I hope to have told at least some of you out there good news, who found wordfast's menus a trifle awkward to navigate.

Good luck!

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