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Friday, June 27, 2008

A word about your custom Tool Palettes

As some of you have enjoyed the flexibility of custom tool palettes, you may be asking, “What is new for tool palettes in the 2009 release?” I think it’s something pretty useful that in the 2009 release we can now associate a Palette Group with a Ribbon Panel.

How this works is simple, when you right click on a Panel, the context menu shows you the options shown here.

What we are looking for is in that first/upper section of the context menu, the grayed out selection of “Show Related Tool Palette Group and the fly-out for Tool Palette Group. The fly-out just shows a list of the groups. Now I know what you’re thinking, he was talking about tool palettes and now he’s talking about palette groups? If you have not already created a palette group for your palettes, now would be the time. Even if it’s just a single palette in the group (and there are some already listed like Cameras, Generic Lights, Leaders, Tables & Visual Styles), it’s actually the group that associated and not the single palette.

That works out a little better, like in the “3D Modeling” workspace; the “3D Make” group is associated with the 3D Modeling panel on the Home tab. The “3D Make” palette group has the Modeling, Draw & Modify palettes, allowing for the use of the tools on those palettes as well as the tools available on the ribbon panels.

To associate a Palette Group with a Panel, you just right-click on the panel and select the desired group from the list of Tool Palette Groups. To turn the Palette Group associated with the panel on, or to make it visible, right-click on the panel and select “Show Related Palette Group”. By the first time you do this it will bring the palette group up docked on the right side of your program window, you know, like the old default location for the Dashboard.

If at any point in time you decide that you don’t need or want the palette group associated with that particular ribbon panel, just select the last choice from the list of palette groups. The “None” option releases any palette group associated with that particular ribbon panel.

But no matter what palette groups you associate, or change to “None”, don’t forget to save your workspace. I would hate to think of all the practice you’ll get doing it all again if you forget to save those changes in a workspace. It could be a new workspace (probably the best choice), or you could redefine an existing one.

Well, I hope that this little tip will help you to continue to utilize your tool palettes in conjunction with the new ribbon and panels.

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