The Quick Access Toolbar is one of the most under-utilized features of Excel that I see from both beginner and experienced excel users alike. Unfortunately, for those under-utilizers, the Quick Access Toolbar is also one of the easiest ways to increase your workflow efficiency with just a few clicks.
Let’s go over the Pros and Cons of the Quick Access Toolbar.
- Increased workflow efficiency
- Quick Access to most often utilized commands
- Customizable options
So now that we agree there is really no reason to NOT be using the Quick Access Toolbar, let’s talk a bit about what the Quick Access Toolbar actually is.
Outlined above in red is my Quick Access Toolbar (or QAT from now on). Yours will probably look differently from mine, especially if you’ve never customized it, but you should have a few icons by default (i.e. the Save and Undo icon). The QAT allows you to quickly access (imagine that) often used functions and commands. In my case, I am often manually sorting data and creating a lot of Pivot Tables, so I added those functions to my QAT so I don’t have to click through the Toolbar Ribbons and Groups to find what I’m looking for every time I want to perform that action. Instead, I just have to move my cursor up to my QAT, click the function I want, and move on with my life.
So without further ado, let’s set yours up how you want it!
Start by navigating to the QAT screen by clicking File -> Options -> Quick Access Toolbar. That should bring you to a screen that looks like this:
On the left you will see all of the available commands you can add to your QAT. Box 1 is a dropdown filter where you can select the category you want to view in the box below (Box 2). This will help you narrow down your search, since there are so many options available to you.
It’s best to start with the Popular Commands to get your basic QAT put together; this is where you will find commands like the Sort function that I have as part of my QAT. If you want to add a function to your Quick Access Toolbar, just click the function once, then click Add (from Box 3) to place it on your QAT. You can change the order in which they will appear on your screen (from left to write) by clicking each command and using the Up and Down arrows (on the right side of the screen in Box 4) to put them in place. The order in which they appear in Box 4 (from top to bottom) is how they will appear on your toolbar (from left to right).
The dropdown in Box 4 of the image above will allow you to choose wether these changes will be saved system-wide (default) or for just a specific workbook.
Once you’ve set up your Quick Access Toolbar the way you want it, just click Ok at the bottom-right of your screen and your changes will be saved!
To Reset your Quick Access Toolbar to system defaults, just click the Reset option (near the bottom of Box 4, near marker 5). Careful, there is no undo option once you reset; you will have to rebuild your toolbar from scratch.
If you want to save your Quick Access Toolbar (to share with a friend, perhaps, or to set it up on another computer with basically one click) select the Import/Export dropdown at the bottom of Box 4 (near marker 5) and choose Export all customizations. This will save your toolbar settings to the path of your choice as an Exported Office UI file. You can then email this file to a friend or put it on a USB drive to place on another device.
And that’s that! Enjoy your new and efficient Excel setup!