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The Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) in Microsoft Office is a handy place to store your favorite commands and features. Unlike the Ribbon, the QAT stays the same no matter where you are or what you’re doing in any Office application so you can populate it with frequently-used commands that you need to access at any time. Customizing the QAT isn’t difficult, but there are a few tricks you’ll want to keep in mind as you tweak it. You can add and remove icons and commands from the QAT. You can also reset it if you don’t like your changes, or export your customizations if you wish to apply them to Office on another computer.

For the steps here, I’m using Word from an Office 365 subscription, but the QAT works the same in all the Office applications, both the current and past few versions of Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook.

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Launch Word or whichever Office application you wish to use. You can open a document or just nestle in with a blank screen. Word starts you off with a default QAT with icons for AutoSave, Save, Undo, Repeat, and Touch/Mouse Mode. Let’s say you use Save, Undo, and Repeat a lot but not AutoSave or Touch/Mouse Mode–you can easily remove them from the QAT. Right-click the icon for AutoSave and select Remove From Quick Access Toolbar at the popup menu. Do the same for the icon for Touch/Mouse Mode (Figure A).

Figure A

You can add icons for commands that you frequently use to the QAT. Right-click anywhere on the QAT and select the option to Customize Quick Access Toolbar. The Word Options window to Customize The Quick Access Toolbar lists your current commands in the right pane and potential commands to add in the left pane (Figure B).

Figure B

By default, the left pane shows only popular commands, which is a small subset of all the available commands. To change the view, click the dropdown window under Choose Commands From. You can opt to see commands not in the Ribbon, all commands, macros, and commands from specific Ribbon tabs and other sections (Figure C). Let’s go with All Commands to see everything available.

Figure C

When deciding which commands to add to the Quick Access Toolbar, think about the function of the QAT. Unlike each Ribbon in Office, the QAT commands and icons stay the same and are always available to you so choose commands that you regularly use no matter what you’re doing in the application. One example might be printing. Rather than have to access the File menu to print a document, you can more easily print from the right commands on the QAT. And you can add more than one type of print icon to the toolbar. Scroll down the alphabetical list of all commands to the ones for print–you’ll see commands for Print, Print Layout, Print Preview, Print, and more. There’s also a handy Quick Print option in the Q section (Figure D).

Figure D

One challenge here is knowing exactly what each command does–all you have are the names, which are often too short or too generic to provide any detail. Your best bet is trial and error. Pick the icons for commands that interest you or that you want to see in action. To continue with the example of printing, I add the commands for Quick Print, Print Preview And Print, and sometimes Print Setup if I’m working with different printers. To add these and other commands, select the command in the left and click the Add button (Figure E).

Click OK to close the customizations window. Now, run each command once from the QAT. Then remove the ones that don’t do what you expected or need.

Figure E

Next, you can change the order of the commands you’ve added. Go back to the QAT customizations window and, in the right pane, click a command you want to move and click the Up or Down arrow to move it up or down in the list (Figure F).

Figure F

Let’s say you’re unhappy with the changes you made to the QAT and want to reset it to the default. Click the Reset button in the right pane. Be sure to choose the option to Reset Only Quick Access Toolbar; otherwise, any tweaks you’ve made to the Ribbon will also be reset (Figure G).

Figure G

But let’s say you like the changes you’ve made and want to apply them to Word or whichever program you used to another computer. In the right pane, click the Import/Export button and choose the option to Export All Customizations. A File Explorer window pops up with a default name for the customizations file–choose a convenient location in which to save the file (Figure H).

Figure H

Click OK to close the Quick Access Toolbar customizations window. On your other computer, open Word or the corresponding Office program. Open the customization window for the QAT. Click the Import/Export button and choose Import All Customizations. Browse to and click on the customizations file that you saved (Figure I). Click OK to close the QAT customizations window, and you’ll see the toolbar populated with your changes.

Figure I