A few of my favorite icons to add to the QAT (Word 2007/2010)

November 29, 2011 at 12:19 pm

As I have mentioned elsewhere, the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) is one of the few customizable screen elements of Word 2007 and Word 2010.  (Unlike Word 2007, Word 2010 also gives users the ability to customize the Ribbon in a number of important respects.)

Customizing the QAT — moving it below the Ribbon and adding icons for tasks you perform frequently — is a great way to make the newer versions of Word more user-friendly.  The main advantage of doing so is that the QAT is stationary.  It remains in place, and visible, regardless of which tab is at the forefront at any given time.  That fact makes it easy to find features / commands, even if you forget where a specific icon is located  (as even experienced users do from time to time).   Plus, it’s just more convenient having your most frequently used commands available at all times, without having to switch back and forth between tabs.

Individuals work differently.  As a result, everyone will develop his or her own preferences about which commands to add to the QAT.  But because the list of available icons is so lengthy as to be somewhat daunting, legal staff often ask me for suggestions — just to get them started.

Below you will find a list of some of my favorite icons / commands to add to the QAT.  As extensive as my list is, it’s not all-inclusive, and what works for me might not work for you.  With those caveats in mind, here goes:

  • Open (yes, if you prefer you can use Ctrl O or the Office Button, Open / File, Open, but having an Open button on the QAT is incredibly convenient)
  • Close (or you can use one of the alternatives: Alt F, C or the Office Button, Close / File, Close)
  • Open Recent File (in Word 2010, this icon takes you to the Recent menu in the Backstage View, which can be very handy)
  • New Document or Template (opens the New dialog)
  • Font (use the first command in the list)
  • Font Size
  • Style (use the first command in the list; this command adds the classic Style Gallery drop-down to the QAT, which people who have upgraded from Word 2000/2002/2003 will appreciate)
  • Print current document
  • Print Preview Edit Mode (not available in Word 2007; clicking this icon opens an editable Print Preview screen, which can be useful since you can’t edit documents directly from within the new “Print Place” in the Backstage View in Word 2010)
  • Print current page
  • Create Envelopes
  • Paste and Keep Text Only (i.e., Paste Special, Unformatted Text)
  • Reveal Formatting
  • Para Keep With Next
  • Insert Section Break
  • Close Header and Footer (this icon comes in very handy, especially if you are in the habit of noodling around and making changes to headers / footers that require you to click a tab other than the context-sensitive Header and Footer Tools tab)
  • Insert Symbol
  • Style Separator
  • Style Inspector
  • Insert Rows (clicking this icon will insert a table row above the cursor position)
  • Switch Windows (again, very handy — you don’t have to click the View tab just to go to a different open document)

You’ll undoubtedly discover other useful icons you can add to the QAT.

It is fairly simple to customize the QAT.  First, move it below the Ribbon so that it expands into a full-sized toolbar.  To do so, either (1) click the drop-down, then click “Show Quick Access Toolbar Below the Ribbon” or (2) right-click within the QAT and then click “Show Quick Access Toolbar Below the Ribbon.”  To add a command, start by either (1) clicking the drop-down, then clicking “More Commands” or (2) right-clicking within the QAT and then clicking “Customize the Quick Access Toolbar.”  The Word Options screen will open to the Customize Quick Access Toolbar category.

Before proceeding, change the “Choose commands from:” drop-down at the top left side of the screen from “Popular commands” to “All commands.”  Next, scroll down through the extensive list and locate the command you want to add.  TIP:  Sometimes there are several different commands that use the same label, or similar ones (such as “Style”).  To determine which is the one you are looking for, point the mouse at a command name and hover for a few seconds.  You should see a pop-up that provides a more detailed description.  If the description isn’t sufficient, just add the icon temporarily so that you can test to see what it does.  You can remove it later if you like.

Click to select / highlight a command, then click the “Add” button in the center.  Continue in this fashion until you have added all the icons you wish.  (Note that you can move individual icons up or down, which will position the icons farther to the left or right on the QAT, respectively.)  When you’re finished, click “OK” to save your changes.

Once you have moved and customized the QAT, you’ll wonder how you managed without it!

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