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Image containing the title of this article plus an icon of a computer mouse with a fast-forward symbol on it

How to use the Quick Access Toolbar to save yourself hours

Many people haven’t noticed the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). Or don’t make any use of it. But it’s one of the biggest time-savers in PowerPoint (and Excel, Word and Outlook). Once you’ve started using it you won’t look back. 

Why you should be using the QAT

All the commands you use most often are right there all the time. You don’t have to find the right ribbon then find the right button. Even if the command is hidden away in a dropdown. The alignment commands are a perfect example: Home > Arrange > Align > Left align. That’s four clicks - if you put Left Align on your QAT it would only be one.

How to set it up

The real key to making it useful is to put it below the ribbon. There are two key advantages:

All your most-used commands are closer to your slides - so they are quicker to reach and click
You have the full width - so room for even more commands

To do this right-click on the QAT and select Show Quick Access Toolbar below Ribbon.

Screenshot of the option to show the Quick Access Toolbar below the ribbon

What to put on it

In short, all the things you find yourself using frequently. There are two ways to add commands to it:

As you go: right-click on a Ribbon button you use a lot and select Add to Quick Access Toolbar
Screenshot of the option to quickly add a button to the Quick Access Toolbar
Thought-out: right-click on the QAT, select Customise Quick Access Toolbar… and then locate, add and organise as you wish
Screenshot of the toolbar customisation dialog box

That second option takes a bit of time. To speed things up, you can import the QAT that we use and customise it to your needs. 

You will find that you have a core of commands you use all the time. And there will be commands that you want to add for a specific task. Before long, you’ll wonder how you ever managed without it.

Screen recording to show that using the Quick Access Toolbar will save many mouse clickc

Bonus commands

There are commands you can add from the Customise QAT window that don’t even exist on the ribbon. There’s even a filter for them. Try these:

Email: creates a new email with the current document already attached. Which makes forwarding the deck you are working on really quick.
Size and Position and Format Shape: these open the right hand panes that you otherwise have to use the right click menu for
Clipboard: if you are doing a lot of cutting and pasting, then the clipboard is a very handy workspace. Show and Hide it quickly with the Clipboard command.

Take it one step further

If you like having all your most-used commands in easy reach, you can even create your own tab on the Ribbon. Use our favourites as a starting point.

Do you want to learn how to improve the quality of your documents so that they reflect the quality of your thinking? Talk to us to discuss how we can help.
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Published:
February 24, 2021

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