Office 2013 Tips: Quick Access Toolbar

Last week we brought you a tutorial on one of the coolest new features in Office 2013. This week, we’ve put together a tutorial on another Office feature; the Quick Access Toolbar. This is not a new feature, but it’s one of the handiest features to master as it can really change the way you work in your Office applications.

One of the most common complaints from Office users when they first start using the ribbon is, well, the ribbon! It can take some getting used to and if you’re working on a laptop or tablet PC it can take up a lot of screen real-estate.

The Quick Access Toolbar allows you to add icons for all your most used functions and saves you having to dig through the various tabs in the ribbon to find them. The commands you use frequently in Word are different to those you use in Excel or PowerPoint and you configure the Toolbar in each application to suit.

How it works:

Quick Access ToolbarThe Quick Access Toolbar is the row of icons (known as commands) across the top of the ribbon. When you first open any of the Office applications, this is populated with just a few of the most common commands.

If you click on the little arrow at the end of the Toolbar, it drops down more commands. To add them to the ribbon, click on them; the arrow will appear on the list and the icon will appear in the Toolbar.

You’re not restricted to just the commands that appear in this drop down list. You can add virtually any command that exists in the program! If you click on “More Commands…” you are presented with more options.

QuickAccessToolbar02The trick to amplifying the usefulness of your Toolbar is to go exploring here. Don’t stop at the popular commands, which is what you’re first presented with. Drop that list down and you’ve got access to every command that sits across all the tabs on the ribbon and more importantly, those that aren’t.

Regularly do mail merges? Align objects often? Need to calculate numbers in a table? Add your go-to commands to the Toolbar. In particular, add the ones you can never seem to find in the ribbon!

With a fully populated Quick Access Toolbar, you’ll be able to minimise (collapse) the ribbon when you’re working on a small screen and quickly jump to any command you need, as they’ll stay easily accessible.

Do you have an Office tip you can’t live without and would like to share via our blog? Email your suggestions to

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