Posts Tagged ‘QAT’


Microsoft Office: Quick Access Toolbar: Productivity benefits, how to customize it

July 15, 2014

Based on a Writing Tip I wrote for my work colleagues…


Bottom Line: Spend a few minutes setting up your Quick Access Toolbar to save time in the long run

One of the things that happened when Microsoft Office 2007 applications, such as Word, changed to the ‘ribbon’ interface was that users couldn’t easily find the things they knew well in earlier versions of Office. Even with all the functions of the ribbon, it’s still hard to remember where a feature lives, or it’s time-consuming (and thus unproductive) to go hunting for a feature you use regularly by switching to a different tab on the ribbon, finding the icon, switching to another tab, hunting for another icon etc., or clicking through several dialog boxes just to turn a check box on or off.

Microsoft must have realised that this ribbon ‘hunt and peck’ process was unproductive because they implemented something called the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). Some people use it a lot, but I suspect that many don’t even realize it’s there or that it can be customized to suit the way you work. By adding your own icons to the QAT, you don’t have to go hunting for features you use regularly. (Of course, keyboard shortcuts are even more productive, but not every function has a keyboard command associated with it, though you can add one – see the list of resources at the end of this tip.)

So what is the QAT? It’s that skinny toolbar that sits above your ribbon in Word and other Office applications. Here’s the default QAT in Excel 2007 – notice that it sits above the ribbon and has just three icons – save, undo, and redo (only available after you’ve undone something):


And here’s my customized QAT in Word – yes, it’s big! (click on it to see it full size):


Note: Your QAT in Excel is different from your QAT in Word, so changing your settings in one application won’t affect the other.

I have my Word QAT positioned below the ribbon so I don’t have to move the mouse quite as far – another productivity saving if you’re a heavy mouse user.

Many of the icons I use when editing a document are on my QAT – things like certain macros, styles list, the highlighter tool, the page margin tool, the next and previous buttons for header/footer sections, the option to keep the selected paragraph with the next one and another to add a page break before the selected paragraph, turn on/off track changes, switch from ‘Show Markup’ to Final’ view, etc. etc. If I had to select the correct ribbon, then the icon for each of these it would take me much longer to edit a document. By having my commonly used functions sitting on the QAT, I don’t have to hunt them down. As an example, if I’m checking headers and footers for each landscape and portrait section, I need the next and previous section functions (both on the Review tab), but I also need the page margin tool, which is on the Page Layout tab. By putting those three icons next to each other on my QAT, I’ve got them immediately available as I’m checking the sections.

On your QAT, you can:

  • specify whether you want the QAT to sit above or below the ribbon (‘above’ is the default; I find ‘below’ saves time)
  • add icons for your commonly used actions.


  1. Click the tiny drop-down arrow at the far right of your QAT [(1) in the screen shot below).
  2. Select which of the most common actions you want to show on your QAT [(2) in the screen shot below).
  3. Select whether you want your QAT to sit below the ribbon [(3) in the screen shot below); ‘above’ is the default.
  1. To add other icons than the very common ones, select More Commands ([3] in the screen shot).
  2. On the Word Options window (below), select a command group [4], then a command [5], then click Add [6] to add it to your QAT [7].
  3. Repeat Step 5 for all other commands you want to add.
  4. Once you’ve added your commands, you can rearrange them using the up/down arrows on the right of your QAT list.
  5. When you’ve finished, click OK. You can always change this list by following Steps 1 and 4 to 7 at a later time.


Finally, if you change computers, or want to put the same QAT that you have on your computer onto your laptop, or share it with someone else, then follow these instructions for copying your QAT:

Other resources:

[Links last checked July 2014]




Word: Assign a macro to an icon on the QAT

February 3, 2014

I thought I’d written about how to do this ages ago, but it seems not.

You can add an icon to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) for any macro you use regularly. Here’s how:

  1. Click the drop-down arrow at the far right of your QAT.
  2. Select More Commands from the drop-down menu.
  3. On the Customize the Quick Access Toolbar screen, select Macros from the Choose commands from list.
  4. Select the name of the macro you want to add from the list on the left — it will have an odd name and likely have all sorts of weird naming stuff in front of the actual macro’s name.
  5. Click Add. The name of the macro is added to the list on the right.qat_macro03
  6. Optional: Use the arrow icons on the far right of the list to move the macro where you want it on your QAT.
  7. I suggest you change the weirdly named macro, so click Modify (below the list on the right).
  8. On the Modify Button window, change the Display name to a name that you’ll recognize.


  9. Optional: Select an image for your new QAT icon.
  10. Click OK to close the Modify Button window.
  11. Click OK again to close the Word Options window.
  12. Your new icon for your macro is added to your QAT — if you hover over the icon, the tooltip will show the new name you gave it in step 8.

Word: Transferring the QAT to another PC

June 17, 2011

Did you know you can transfer your custom Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) in Word 2007 or Word 2010 to another PC that has the same version of Word on it?

Full instructions on how to do so for Word 2007 and Word 2010 are on the ever-helpful WordTips site:

Note: When I searched for the Word.QAT file on my client’s Vista laptop (Word 2007 installed), the Vista search couldn’t find it at all, even though I tried several search methods. However, the file was listed under the file path mentioned in the WordTips article above, so I was able to copy it from there.

[Links last checked June 2011]


Word 2007: Add Keep with Next to the toolbar

November 4, 2010

A Word feature I use quite often is the ‘Keep with next’ paragraph setting. Sure, I’ve applied it to styles such as heading styles, but sometimes I use it randomly to stop things splitting over a page in places where I don’t want them to split. For example, I’ll use it to make sure that a particular table row is kept with the following row, or that the introductory sentence to a bullet list is kept with the bullet item that follows it.

I use it often enough to want a shortcut for it — in Word 2007, it takes up to five clicks to get to it, turn it on, and exit the dialog box for the setting. And that’s for EVERY time I want to apply it. So I decided to add it to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) and create a keyboard shortcut for it (typically, you’d do one or the other, but I’ll show you both methods here). Here’s how…

Add Keep With Next to the QAT

  1. Click the drop-down arrow at the far right end of the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT).
  2. Select More Commands from the menu.
  3. In the Choose commands from drop-down field, select All Commands.
  4. Scroll down to the ‘P’ section, then select Para Keep With Next.
  5. Click Add (in the middle, between the two columns).
  6. Click OK.
  7. ‘Para Keep with next’ is added to your QAT, ready for you to use next time you need it.

NOTE: I tried to change the icon for this, but it seems you can’t do so in Word 2007! So you’re stuck with this large text button. See these sites for information about this:

Create a keyboard shortcut for Keep With Next

  1. Click the drop-down arrow at the far right end of the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT).
  2. Select More Commands from the menu.
  3. Click the Customize button (below the Choose Commands list).
  4. Scroll down the Categories list to almost the end, then select All Commands.
  5. Scroll down the Commands and select ParaKeepWithNext.
  6. Put your cursor in the Press new shortcut key field.
  7. Press the key combination you’d like to assign to this shortcut. (In this example, I’ve used Alt+P as all the usual suspects like Alt+K, Alt+Ctrl+K were already assigned to other standard Word commands).
  8. Click Assign.
  9. Click Close.

[Links last checked November 2010]


Word: Add a Back button to the toolbar

April 21, 2010

If you have a long Word document and need to regularly go back to where you made your last edit (e.g. where you were after scrolling), you can add a ‘Back’ button to the toolbar (Word 2003) or to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) in Word 2007. Here’s how:

Word 2003

  1. From the menu, select Tools > Customize to open the Customize window.
  2. Select the Commands tab.
  3. In the Categories list on the left, select All Commands.
  4. In the Commands list on the right, select GoBack.
  5. Click and drag the GoBack command where you want it to go on the toolbar. The button is named Previous Edit by default. Don’t close the Customize window yet…
  6. To change the name of the button and/or add an icon to it, click Modify Selection on the Customize window:
    • You can change the name by altering the text in the Name field (the & indicates the letter for the shortcut access key).
    • If you just want an icon (and no text on the button), select Change Button Image and choose the ‘back’ arrow (or any other), then select Default Style from the Modify Selection list of options.
  7. Click Close.

Word 2007 and later

  1. Click the drop-down arrow next to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT).
  2. Select More commands.
  3. In the Choose commands from drop-down list, select Commands Not in the Ribbon.
  4. Scroll down the list and select Back.
  5. Click Add.
  6. Click OK.

Your new Back button is now on the QAT ready for you to use from any place in your document.


Word 2007: Add TOC shortcut to QAT

April 2, 2010

If you have a long Word 2007 document and need to go back and forth to the Table of Contents (TOC), you can add a ‘Go to TOC’ icon to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). Here’s how:

  1. Click the drop-down arrow next to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT).
  2. Select More commands.
  3. In the Choose commands from drop-down list, select Commands Not in the Ribbon.
  4. Scroll down the list and select Go to TOC.
  5. Click Add.
  6. Click OK.

Your new Go to TOC icon is now on the QAT ready for you to use from any place in your document:

[Thanks to Grant H on the Lone Writers SIG of STC for sharing this tip]