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I've seen several GUI extensions that add some new functionality in the form of a button in the ribbon toolbar (e.g. Save & Comment, insert footnote, etc.). The documentation describes several ways to add elements to the UI.

Is there a the mechanism to hide a default button or command from users (beyond disabling such commands)?

I see 2011 - GUI Extension - how to remove extension button from Popups. Does this apply for default functionality as well?

Also related, there's configuration to remove workflow related commands. Are there other toggles to turn off sets of, or individual, buttons?

A use case could be to replace the default linking options with custom versions (e.g. instead of using the default Component link, editors might choose more specific buttons to insert specific types of content).

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I don't know of any out-of-the-box mechanism, but you could always hide a button using your own CSS -- as well as disabling the command by overwriting it and returning false in the isAvailable and isEnabled methods.

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