Thursday, March 4, 2010

Office Tabs not working!

If you are still in stone age and using Microsoft Office without Office Tabs then, office tabs is an office add-on developed by some smart Chinese programmers. Well that made me believe that 'smart' can actually go with 'Chinese' stuff ;-).

This is something that would make Microsoft guys look stupid! How can they keep the users away for something like this for so many years! (something that can even be invented in China !)

This add-on gives tabs to word, excel and power point, much in the same way modern day browsers that opens multiple tabs in one window. (well, I wonder what took it so long for IE to become modern before they could come up with IE7!).

With this you get a clean task-bar as only one instance of word / excel is displayed in task-bar. Tabs can be created by double clicking on tab bar, double click and u close the tab.

You can even choose suitable skin for tabs and customize as per your liking.

You can download the add-on from here. And here is the link to original Chinese site. Both Ofice 2003 and Office 2007 are supported.

Well, while I was going gaga over this Chinese arrangement, it suddenly stopped working! Chinese after all :)
When it stopped working it made my life even harder than what was it before I used this silly add-on. The tabs were gone and there was only one instance of word / excel in task-bar, it became a lot more difficult to use multiple documents as to see other opened docs, I had to minimize the current one.

The worst part was uninstalling the add-on didn't solve the problem, and re-installing did not help. Googling went waste too!!!

After suffering the Chinese curse for around 20 days, I finally decided to take the bull by the horns. Following is how you can get it working again if you :

1. Close all the word, excel and power-point instances

2. Open a new instance of word

3. Go to word options

4. In Word Option select Add-Ins, in the 'Manage' dropdown box, choose COM Add-ins and tap on Go button. Following screen should pop up:

5. Remove the entry for WordTab and reinstall the office tabs. Thus should ideally work

6. However, In my case it did not work, if same happens with you, delete the WordTab entry again, and click on Add button

7. Browse to the path  where office tabs is installed and select the WordTab.dll, this dll should be typically found at: C:\Program Files\OfficeCM\OfficeTab

8. Close the pop-up window for COM Add-Ins, repeat similar steps for your Excel as well, do not forget to select ExcelTab.dll this time ;)

Thats it! the Tabs are back, Hindi Chini Bhai-Bhai again :)

Happy Tabbing!!!


  1. Hello Anup,

    This plug-in is really very cool and useful.

    However, after enabling this plug-in I am reduced on one of the functionality. I use to keep some 5-6 excel documents at a time. Earlier, with Alt-Tab, I was able to switch between 1st and 4th workbook. With Cool tab in, with Ctrl + Tab, I have to traverse all open documents between document 1st and 4th.

    Additionally, now I can’t use group common taskbar icons together functionality of the windows. And hence cannot see name of all the workbooks without seeing their (the active document’s) content. For low memory in CPU users, opening a document to see content of other could be a big trade-off.

    Do suggest if I am missing something and that I can improve my experience with this plug-in.


  2. These are some good points made Pragnesh.

    A. For Excel all your concerns can be addressed.
    1. Open Excel, Click on office button at top left and go to Excel Tab options, alternately, right click click on the tab bar and choose 'excel tab options'

    2. In 'General and position' tab you should find check-box for 'Display all the Excel windows on the Taskbar'. Check this option and tap on Ok button.

    Doing this will display all the open excel instances in task bar, now you can use both Alt + Tab and Ctrl + Tab

    B. For MS Word, you can not this, however to see names of all the opened documents you do not need to make each one of them active as names are displayed on tab, you can just select one you are looking for without making rest of the documents active.

    Alternately, you can always disable office tabs for MS Word while keeping it enabled for Excel. Following is the way:
    1. GO to C:\Program Files\Office Tab\ or relevant path on your disk

    2. Start OfficeTabCenter.exe, here you choose for which office programs you want to keep the tabs enabled.

    Hope this solves some of your problems with office tabs.