My Formatting Palette flies off the screen...

From the number of complaints in the newsgroups, Formatting Palettes flying off screens are epidemic. This can happen in Word or Excel, and most frequently with the 2004 versions, though the v.X versions exhibit the behavior too.

Why it happens

I don't know. At least not all of the reasons.

Sometimes it happens when you go to a lower screen resolution - in that case, increase the resolution, drag the palette to the center of the screen, and go back to the lower resolution.

Many times, however, for no apparent reason, the palette goes flying off the screen. In that case, a little VBA or AppleScript can restore the Palette in a trice.

Confronting the VBE

The Visual Basic Editor (VBE) is where you can edit macros and User Defined Functions. It's also home to a neat window called the Immediate Window, in which you can type (some) VBA commands and have them executed...immediately. In this case, we'll tell Word/XL to first make sure the Formatting Palette is undocked, then move it to a location in the upper left corner of the visible screen.

First, type Opt-F11, or choose the Tools/Macro/Visual Basic Editor menu item. This will take you out of XL and into the VBE. Feel free to explore - you can't break much.

Next, type CMD-g, or choose the View/Immediate Window... menu item. This will open the Immediate Window and activate it, ready for you to type or paste.

Paste or type the following lines into the Immediate Window, following each line by typing the Return key.

    Application.Commandbars("Formatting Palette").Position = msoBarFloating
    Application.CommandBars("Formatting Palette").Top = 100
    Application.CommandBars("Formatting Palette").Left = 100

Note:If things go well, you won't get any acknowledgement.

Finally, type Opt-F11 or click the Word Word button or XL Excel button button in the Standard Toolbar to exit the VBE and return to Word/XL. The top of your Formatting Palette should now be 100 pixels below the top, and 100 pixels to the right of the left side of the screen.

AppleScripting the Formatting Palette

If you're more of an AppleScript person than an VBAer, this AppleScript by MVP Barry Wainwright does much the same thing. Note that if the Palette is docked, it will be moved in only one dimension, but will be visible and able to be repositioned manually:

    tell application "Microsoft Word" -- or "Microsoft Excel"
	      tell command bar "formatting palette"
		        set visible to true
		        set {top, left position} to {100, 100}
	      end tell
    end tell

Copy the script into the Script Editor application, click Compile (to make sure the syntax is correct), then click Run. Your Formatting Palette should be visible and repositionable.

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