Software

10 commands you may want to add to the Office 2007 Quick Access Toolbar

If the Office 2007 Ribbon drives you crazy, a little customization may help. See how to make the Quick Access Toolbar work for you.

Note: This article originally appeared as an entry in our 10 Things blog. It's also available as a PDF download.

The Office 2007 Ribbon is designed to make tools and options easier to find, and it's fairly convenient -- most of the time. But the commands you need aren't always available. Sometimes, you have to switch between Ribbon tabs to access a command. Switching from one tab to another isn't a big deal, but if you do it a lot, it can become a nuisance. Fortunately, it's a nuisance you can avoid.

Add a command to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) and it will always be available, regardless of the current tab. But you'll want to be a little bit discriminating about what you place on the QAT, because it can fill up in a hurry. Good candidates include those commands you have to search for when you need them:

  • Any existing control, group, gallery, or menu item for easy access.
  • Macros for quick execution.

You can also add separators to group items or reorder commands to offer a sense of organization.

To quickly add an item to the QAT, find it on the Ribbon, right-click it, and choose Add To Quick Access Toolbar. To quickly remove an item from the QAT, right-click it and choose Remove From Quick Access Toolbar. To add an item that's not on the Ribbon, do the following:

  1. Choose More Commands from the QAT's drop-down list (Figure A) to display the Word Options dialog box.

Figure A

http://b2b.cbsimg.net/gallery/252005-337-338.jpg

  1. From the Choose Commands From control, select Commands Not In The Ribbon, as shown in Figure B, to update the list of items.

Figure B

http://b2b.cbsimg.net/gallery/252006-500-407.jpg

  1. Select the command you want to add to the QAT.
  2. Click Add to move the item to the Customize Quick Access Toolbar list. You can add many items at one time.
  3. When you're finished, click OK.

Ultimately, it's up to you to decide what items end up on your QAT. But there are several that you'll probably want to add as soon as you upgrade to Office 2007. Here are a few suggestions.

1: Frequently used commands

Most of the frequently used commands are available via 2007's Office button. By default, the QAT displays three commands: Save, Undo, and Repeat. You'll probably want to add at least a few of your other frequently used commands to the QAT. To start, consider adding the following commands by application and customize further as needed:

  • Word: New, Open, Save, Quick Print, Print Preview, Spelling & Grammar
  • Excel: Open, Save, Quick Print
  • Access: Open, Print Preview
  • PowerPoint: Open, Save, Spelling & Grammar

2: Track Changes in Word

If you author or review documents, add Track Changes to the QAT. Track Changes is available on the Review tab in the Tracking group. Going that route requires three clicks to enable or disable Track Changes if you're working in another tab. If you add the Track Changes command to Word's QAT, you can work in any tab and enable or disable Track Changes with one quick click. (You can do the same by pressing [Ctrl]+[Shift]+E, but adding the command to the QAT might be easier than memorizing one more keyboard shortcut.)

3: Paragraph dialog in Word

Technically, the Paragraph dialog box isn't on Word's 2007 Ribbon, although you can click the dialog box launcher in the lower-right corner of the Paragraph group on the Home tab to access it. Not exactly intuitive. Adding the Paragraph command to the QAT might ease the transition to Word 2007 quicker and save you time when you're viewing another tab.

4: Clear Formats in Word and PowerPoint

Getting rid of formatting can take a bit of thought. On the Home tab in the Font group, you can click Clear Formatting in Word or click Clear All Formatting in PowerPoint. This command removes all formatting, such as bold, underline, and so on, while retaining the default formatting style. A quicker way is to add Clear Formats to the QAT.

5: Design View in Access

The View command is available in many groups, making it easy to switch from Design View to full view. However, getting to Design View isn't always as easy. Adding Design View to the QAT probably won't impress users, but it will help you during the development, testing, and debugging stages.

6: Visual Basic

Add the Visual Basic command to the QAT if you're a developer. This command is the equivalent of pressing [Alt]+[F11] to launch the Visual Basic Editor. A quick click and you're in the VBE. Although Access developers might appreciate it more than others, you can add Visual Basic to any application's QAT.

7: Save As PDF

If you save files to PDF format, add the Save As PDF command to the QAT. PDF is a fixed-layout format that's easy to share and print, but not so easy to change. Many organizations use Word to collect and edit content and PDF format to publish that content.

Before you can use the Save As PDF command, you must install an add-in. Visit 2007 Microsoft Office Add-in: Microsoft Save as PDF or XPS and follow directions for downloading and installing the add-in. The Save As PDF command will be available from the Office button and you can add it to the QAT to make running the command even quicker.

8: Format Painter

Format Painter's been around for a long time and users depend on it -- a lot. This command lets you quickly copy formats from one section of content to another. In 2007, it isn't always available when needed, so add it to the QAT in all the applications you use.

9: Form in Excel

A data form in Excel is a dialog box that allows you to enter or view a complete row of information in a specific range or table. But the Form button isn't on the Excel 2007 Ribbon. If you frequently use data forms, add the Form button to the QAT.

10: Document Location in Excel

The Document Location control displays the path and filename for the current workbook. It provides an easy way to copy the entire path into an e-mail, Word document, or Access table. It's not on the Excel 2007 Ribbon either.

Your turn...

What commands have you found elusive or indispensable enough to earn a spot on your Quick Access Toolbar? Share your suggestions in the discussion thread.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

13 comments
uptownguy98
uptownguy98

I'm running an old version of MS. What would happen to be the maximum number of commands I would be able to add? thanks very much.

lockhaca
lockhaca

In Word, the Change Text Case, Insert and Delete Rows and Columns, and Document Properties commands. In Excel, Lock Cells, Format Cells and Protect Sheet and Workbook. In Outlook, Delayed Delivery and Copy to Folder.

Ron_007
Ron_007

Funny, most of the commands you suggest are available via old "standard" shortcut keys. I've removed all of the default buttons in added the "Style" command so that now I can always see which format is applied to the paragraph that the cursor is sitting in. I also add the "Document Map" button

SheRex
SheRex

In Excel the first thing I added was the Hide/Unhide rows & columns.

guy
guy

Word Commands that I find useful are Close All, Save As.., and Quick Print. I also have a few macros that I use often. In Excel I also have Print Preview, View Macros as well as Delete Sheet Rows and Inser Sheet Rows.

jsn2092
jsn2092

One thing I would like to see is the ability to modify and add/remove commands to the floating format toolbar, in particular any macros one may have written to deal with formatting. With that ability, I wouldn't have to move back to the quick access toolbar to execute my macros.

Ron_007
Ron_007

There you,go, perpetuating the M$ myth that shortcut keys are not worth learning. I've invested 17 years in learning the menu system and it's associated shortcuts, now M$ has decided to throw away MY investment. Sure some of the old key combinations work, but many don't. I've been trialing 2007, for the second time, and I still hate it. M$ has finally forced me into using the mouse to access the menu. When I am "writing"/typing words, I am using the keyboard for input. Forcing me to take my hand off the keyboard to mouse is slowing me down! Many of functions you suggested for inclusion on the QAT have shortcuts that were established in Word, Windows and even DOS back in the early and mid 80's... Open = Save = Print = Spell = Clear Format = Format Painter = To name just a few. That being said, I have added a couple of items to the QAT: The Paragraph Style Drop-Down Window. I depend on being able to see what style is applied to the current paragraph without having to always go back to the Home tab (and without wasting screen realestate on the style area) The Zoom button, because I have some frequently used docs that refuse to open in a reasonable zoom (and don't save the zoom I was using) Hidden text format, because the shortcut has been hijacked by "crapware" installed on my new PC which I haven't been able to find the Icon where the shortcut was assigned. The Ribbon is programmable, too bad M$ decided to not include the required tool in Office. A really handy addon is the "Getting Started" Tab from M$ They key item on that tab is the "Word 2003 to Word 2007 interactive command reference guide". It is a flash applet that lets you select a 2003 menu command then shows you the equivalent location in the 2007 ribbon. You can get it at: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?familyid=9044790B-4E24-4277-B714-66D7B18D0AA1&displaylang=en (there are links for the guides to the other 2007 apps there too). By downloading it you don't have to wait for internet delays in response time. Here is the link for the Word Getting Started tab addin: https://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?FamilyId=F587370C-FDAE-4EDE-B528-AC58031A5DFF&displaylang=en The "Getting Started" tab(s) also have links to M$ provided Office 2007 tutorials and videos. I also saw at least a couple of different addons that provided a tab in the Ribbon with the 2003 menu recreated. (I saw the first within a month of the release of Office 2007!)

durretjd
durretjd

In Excel: Calculate Full Calculate Now Calculate Sheet Paste Special Paste Formatting Paste Formulas Paste Values Group UnGroup Protect Sheet (Unprotect Sheet) Hide & UnHide Format Insert Hide Window UnHide Window

nicholas_hamlin
nicholas_hamlin

I hate when I select text from the web and paste it into either Excel or Word and have the formatting go along with it, so I have a button to paste values. It's a lot faster than Paste Special... > Paste as Values > Ok, or even pulling down the paste menu and selecting "paste values".

ssharkins
ssharkins

I believe I read that they're actually working on that!

ssharkins
ssharkins

This change has been a huge impasse for many users. However, keyboard shortcuts aren't completely gone. Hold down the [Alt] key to display 2007's version, called Key tips. It's not the same, but it's something...

realvannewkirk
realvannewkirk

best button to add to office 2007 would be an Open with option to reload the file you are working with in Open Office :) As far as copying text from a website, i always just drop it into notepad for that completely unformatted look.

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