Write and Edit Efficiently with Word’s Quick Access Toolbar

by C.K. MacLeod

For editing projects, I work in Word on two gargantuan computer screens. The upside: I can have many documents open at once, while feeling a little like an air-traffic controller.

The downside: I’m a terrible air-traffic controller. With two big screens, it often takes a lot of mousing to get my cursor to its destination.

While in Word, I am always looking for ways to reduce the amount of searching, clicking, and mousing that I do. Word’s Quick Access toolbar (QAT) — a sort of customized instrumentation panel for the writer or editor — can help with that. When you open Word, you’ll find the QAT in the top left corner of your screen. Look for the Save, Undo, and Redo buttons. They are on the QAT.

Why the QAT?

The QAT will allow you to do two important things:

  • create a customized toolbar of the commands that you use most
  • prevent you from clicking through Word’s ribbon to find oft-used commands that are buried

What's on my QAT?

Image of CK's Quick Access Toolbar

  • Accept this Change
  • Delete this Change
  • Insert Page Break
  • Show-Hide button
  • Styles
  • Text Highlight Colors
  • Track Changes
  • View Macros

Not convinced of the utility of the QAT? Try this: count the clicks you have to make to find each of the above listed items in the ribbon. Multiply those clicks by the number of times you execute those commands each day. Aha!

How to I set up my QAT?

Your QAT doesn’t have to look like mine. To add the features that you use most often, go to File, Options, Quick Access Toolbar to select the commands that you want displayed on your QAT.

And my final tip: move your QAT from the top left so that it’s closer to the middle of the screen where all the action is. My aching wrists tell me that those inches matter. Here’s how to do it:

Click on the down-arrow to the right of the QAT. Select Show Below the Ribbon.

Word’s QAT will save you time, clicks, and potential injury from too many repetitive wrist movements. Those seconds and moves add up!

Do you use the QAT? What do you have on on your QAT? If you use a Mac, how do you add command buto to your QAT?

Photo credit: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Savannah District on VisualHunt / CC BY