How to Move and Customize the Quick Access Toolbar in Microsoft Word 2010

If you were dismayed to discover that in Microsoft Office 2010 all the menus you’d memorized were gone, you are not alone.  And if you also miss having the ability to add custom buttons to your toolbar, I understand and feel your pain.  But, all is not lost.  This post will show you how to build a Quick Access Toolbar in Microsoft Word 2010.  The same techniques work in Microsoft Excel, and can even be used to put buried options easily within reach in Microsoft Access.  But let’s start with Microsoft Word.

The first thing you need to do is open Word and go to the File Ribbon (Click the File tab).  You do not need to have a document open to do this.  Go to Options and choose Quick Access Toolbar.

File_Tab_Options

The first thing you’ll want to do, is override the default placement of the Quick Access Toolbar above the Ribbon.  Leaving the toolbar there makes it difficult to see (it almost hides) and difficult to get to (the Ribbon is in the way).  Unless you intend to hide the ribbon entirely, simply click “Show the Quick Access Toolbar below the Ribbon”.  A checkmark will appear next to the statement.  Click “OK” to save (to apply the change).

 

Move Quick access Toolbar Below Ribbon

Next, after again going to File → Options → Quick Access Toolbar to re-open the dialogue, in the Choose Commands From section,  use the pull-down menu to select, All Commands.  This will give you a very long alphabetical list of all Word commands.  The list is long, but it’s the easiest way to find the commands you want to place on your toolbar.

Choose All Commands

Next, decide what commands you want on your toolbar.  I suggest commands that not only you use frequently but that are buried in obscure places – making them difficult to get to.  I’ll talk more about commands you might want to add, later.  The illustration below shows how to add the Insert Hyperlink Command.  Simply click the command in the command list on the left, click ADD, then click OK.  Several commands can be added, to build your custom Quick Access Toolbar.  The up and down arrows actually control where the commands are on the toolbar from left to right.  So, in the illustration below, Open is to the left, followed by Save, followed by Save As, and so on to the right.  When done, click OK to save all your changes.

Adding Insert Hyperlink

 

And there you have it – a custom toolbar, containing your most used commands, and/or commands that can be difficult to find or get to in Word 2010.  Here is an example of how the Quick Access Toolbar looks (highlighted in yellow – additional commands can be reached by click the arrows circles in red).

Toolbar

 

Items that it can be handy to include:

  • Save As – The new Word really buries this one.  If, like me, you often re-name files right in Word, so you can keep a previous version intact – this is a must-have.  I always had a custom button for it in older versions of Word.
  • Insert Symbol – Why going poking around the insert page, trying to find this?  Especially when you need it in the middle of document to correctly spell a name that uses accent marks of some sort?  The Omega Sign is used for the Insert Symbol button – and besides letters with accent marks, it allows using the degree symbol (as in degrees Fahrenheit), copyright, registered trademark, and trademark symbols, arrows – to delineate steps or directions, etc.
  • Table shortcuts – I often work with tables, and I actually got used to using the shortcut buttons in Excel.  When I began to need to update and edit tables in Word I found having the shortcuts accessible helped tremendously.  I realize it may be hard to see, but the ones on the toolbar allow the insertion and deletion of rows and columns.

However, the point is to add to the Quick Access Toolbar commands you use constantly.  And secondly, to add useful commands that are difficult to locate on the ribbons or that are buried in second and third level dialogues.

 

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