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Setup the Excel Quick Access Toolbar (QAT)

The Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) in Excel 2007 is a great option for shortcuts to your most used commands.  It’s faster to click on an icon in the QAT (one click) versus clicking on the ribbon tab and then the command (two clicks + mouse navigation).  And you can use keyboard shortcuts for the QAT to make things even easier.

The Setup

Setting up the QAT is simple and consists of two steps:  Adding commands and arranging the icons.

The easiest way to add commands to the toolbar is to:

  1. Navigate to the command you want to add in the ribbon.
  2. Right click on the icon and select Add to Quick Access Toolbar from the drop down menu.

QAT Add Item

The command icon will be added to the end of the QAT.

To arrange the icons:

  1. Right click anywhere on the QAT and select Customize the Quick Access Toolbar… from the drop down menu.Customize QAT drop down
  2. The Excel Options menu opens and you can move your icons to the left or right by selecting the icon in the right box and pressing the up or down arrows.
QAT Options

Click Image to Zoom

The order of the icons becomes important when you are using keyboard shortcuts to access the commands.  And I highly recommend this as a much faster way to execute commands in Excel, versus using the mouse.  You can also use the Options window (above) to add and remove commands from the toolbar.

So what icons should I add to the Quick Access Toolbar?

This will depend on what you use Excel for and which commands you use most often.  If you are doing lots of data entry and manipulation you might want to have the “Paste Values” and “Format Painter” commands at the top of your list.  Reporting and analyzing, you may want some charting and page layout commands.  The key is to have the commands you use most often located closest to the left because the keyboard shortcuts are easier to press with your thumb and index finger.

Move the QAT

The toolbar can be place above or below the ribbon by clicking the down arrow to the right of the QAT and selecting Show Below the Ribbon or Show Above the Ribbon.

Move QAT

I prefer to have it above because it reduces the total vertical height of the top toolbars, which gives you more spreadsheet real estate.  But you may find that you have so many icons that it fits better below the ribbon.  If you are a heavy mouse user (vs. keyboard shortcuts) then it is also easier to navigate to the QAT if it is below the ribbon.

Checkout my recommendations on commonly used commands for the Quick Access Toolbar.

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