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The Tools You Want Where You Want Them

That title sounds like somebody’s advertising catch phrase, but what I’m referring to is the toolbar customization and rearrangement capability that was added to the MATLAB desktop in R2008a. This is, of course, nothing revolutionary, but it is new to MATLAB (I almost tripped on another catch phrase there). If you right-click (Command-click on Mac) on the main desktop toolbar or on either of the Editor toolbars, the context menu will offer a “Customize…” option. Selecting this option will display a Toolbar Preferences panel within the Preferences Dialog:

Toolbar Customization Panel

You can use this panel to specify which controls you want to appear on a toolbar and in what order. To add and remove controls simply check and uncheck the corresponding entries in the list that occupies most of the panel. As you check and uncheck controls, they appear and disappear from the layout area above. Within the layout area you can then rearrange the controls you have selected by dragging them.

For an example of what you might do with this capability here is my customized Editor toolbar:

My Customized Editor Toolbar

I always use the keyboard shortcuts for Cut, Copy and Paste so I removed those buttons. The buttons I use the most are the ones that control debugging so I moved them to the beginning. I moved Print and Publish to the end of the toolbar since I don’t happen to make much use of them. This way, if I make my editor narrow, my favorite buttons don’t drop off the end of the toolbar.

As for my main MATLAB toolbar and the Shortcuts toolbar I’ve configured them as follows:

My Customized Main Toolbar

I again removed Cut, Copy and Paste. Furthermore, I haven’t found much use for Undo and Redo outside the context of the Editor so they’re gone too. This shortened the main toolbar a bit. I took advantage of this extra space by dragging my Shortcuts toolbar to be adjacent to the main toolbar. I now have all the tools I want on a single row, leaving more working real-estate.

One reason I’m excited about the customization capability is that it allows us to offer a more extensive palette of toolbar controls in the future without cluttering everyone’s toolbar with all possible controls.

It dawned on me that my recent posts have discussed the Document Bar, Title Bars and now ToolBars. Maybe I should change my e-mail signature to

Peter Muellers
Desktop Bar Tender
The MathWorks, Inc.

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