Do you ever find that you have to keep changing tabs on the ribbon to find the same commands countless times during the same project?
Before we get to these great tips, let’s make sure you know what I’m even talking about.
At the top of any application in Microsoft Office – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc. – there are two key components of the screen.
First (and biggest) is the Ribbon. It looks something like this (the appearance will vary depending on the width of your screen and which application you are using – this sample is from Word 2013):
The ribbon is made up of “tabs” – File, Home, Insert, Design, etc (again, depending on the application).
The biggest part of the ribbon contains the “commands” (the buttons you actually click to perform specific actions) which are broken up into “groups” (Clipboard, Font, Paragraph, etc.).
Above the ribbon is the Quick Access Toolbar. The first button indicates what program you are using and has specific (non-customizable) functions. The default Quick Access Toolbar includes Save, Undo and Redo buttons. The last button is the “Customize Quick Access Toolbar” button.
Customizing the Quick Access Toolbar
When you click the Customize Quick Access Toolbar button , you are given a list of the most popular commands to add to the toolbar. To add any of these commands to your toolbar, click them. If you want to add other commands, click More Commands. More Commands also lets you rearrange the commands on the toolbar to suit your preferences.
For example, I always have “Quick Print” and “Print Preview and Print” on my toolbar, along with a couple of others. Recently, I also decided to add “Show/Hide Marks” to my toolbar because I turn it on and off frequently as I’m writing a document. To do that, click More Commands. In the first drop-down list, click All Commands. In the next drop-down list, scroll way down to Show All.
Click the icon , then click Add. It will appear in the list on the right side of the window.
To rearrange the commands on the toolbar, click the command you want to move in the right-hand list and click the up and down arrows to the right.
Adding the buttons I’ve mentioned above (and a couple of others I like) leaves me with a Quick Access Toolbar that looks like this:
Customizing the Ribbon
Customizing the Ribbon takes the same steps, but there is no “customize” button like on the Quick Access Toolbar. Instead, right-click on a blank area of the ribbon and click Customize the Ribbon….
The best part is that when you make these changes, they will appear in any new or existing file you open in that application. Remember though, that changes to the Quick Access Toolbar or Ribbon in Word won’t carry over to Excel, PowerPoint or other programs, and vice versa.
Why do this?
Customizing the Quick Access Toolbar and Ribbon to your liking should make it easier to work quickly and efficiently in Microsoft Office because your most frequently-used commands are readily available without having to search through all the tabs on the ribbon.
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