How to Customize the Quick Access Toolbar in Excel

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  • 0:01 What Is the Quick…
  • 1:06 Uses of the Quick…
  • 1:48 Customizing the Toolbar
  • 2:32 Achieving Balance
  • 3:24 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Kevin Newton

Kevin has edited encyclopedias, taught middle and high school history, and has a master's degree in Islamic law.

If you're new to Excel, you may be somewhat bewildered by the power of this program. However, Excel does have a very quick way to do basic operations, such as saving, undoing, and printing--the Quick Access Toolbar.

What Is the Quick Access Toolbar?

Let's say that you've been using Excel for a while, but still doing things very much by the book. That means whenever you want to start a new document, you go to the file menu and select new. Likewise, if you want to insert a simple formula to find the sum of a set of cells, you go to the formula tab of the ribbon and find it under arithmetic formulas. Then I've got good news--there is a faster way! The quick access toolbar is located just below the ribbon. For those of you using older versions of Excel, it is located below the menus, and is one of the most useful aspects of Excel. Some users will have moved the toolbar to the highest part of the Excel Window, at the same level as the options to close, maximize, or minimize the window.

Regardless of where you chose to put the toolbar, it is incredibly useful. In this lesson, we'll assume that you know where the toolbar is, mainly because I just told you. We'll also assume that you know how to use some of the functions on it. However, what we will largely focus on is the ability to customize the toolbar to make your own interactions with Excel that much more efficient.

Uses of the Quick Access Toolbar

First of all, let's discuss what the Quick Access Toolbar cannot do, even with the best of customization. The Quick Access Toolbar cannot magically save you from having to enter all of the data you have to. Nor can it be used to easily produce complicated formulas based off cells from all over a sheet. However, it can serve as a quick access point for very common functions so you don't have to change ribbons while performing. For example, if you were going to add a complicated formula, you would probably want to save your work before you proceeded. This urge may hit you in the middle of you setting up the formula within the ribbon. Due to the quick access toolbar, you can hit the disk icon, and it will be instantly saved.

Customizing the Quick Access Toolbar

Different versions of Excel ship with different functionalities already on the Quick Access Toolbar. For you, that means that you may not immediately have a summation button, represented by the Greek letter Sigma, or a quick print button. However, that's exactly the sort of thing that can be added quickly. To add buttons to the Quick Access Toolbar, click the arrow pointing down to the right of the toolbar. A drop-down menu will offer a variety of options that can become part of your customized toolbar. Likewise, if you don't see something you like, you can click the option to select more commands at the bottom. Just the same, if you prefer for the quick access toolbar to be lower on the screen, you can select the option to place it below the ribbon.

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