Get faster: set up a Quick Access Toolbar in PowerPoint

One of the bugbears as a PowerPoint user is having to click between tabs to access the commands that you use frequently – it can slow the process of creating your slides. One way to speed things up is to set up the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). The QAT is a customizable toolbar to which you can add your most frequently-used commands so that they are permanently displayed.

Useful commands to add

Here at Presented we all have our own preferences for which commands we like easy access to, but there are some which we have all added, such as some alignment tools, arrange (e.g. Bring to Front), undo and redo, and the various copy and paste options. Here are a few examples from the Presented team:


quick access toolbar in PowerPoint

How to customise your QAT

Go to the ribbon and click the relevant tab (or group) to display the command that you want. Right-click the command, and then select Add to Quick Access Toolbar from the shortcut menu. You aren’t restricted to commands that are on the ribbon either, to add commands that aren’t on the ribbon, click the Customize the Quick Access Toolbar dropdown, and go to More Commands.

In the Choose commands from: dropdown, select Commands Not in the Ribbon. Find the command in the list, and then click Add >>, when you Ok this dialog box it will be added to the QAT. You can equally remove a command from the QAT by right clicking on the command button and selecting Remove from Quick Access Toolbar from the shortcut menu.

A handy add-in!

On a side note, there are many add-ins available for PowerPoint, and one we use here at Presented is i-Slide. There is a free version available here: Once installed you will have an i-Slide tab, where you will find lots of useful tools all in one place.

Reordering commands on the Quick Access Toolbar in PowerPoint

You might want to group similar commands together on the toolbar (e.g. all alignment tools). To do this, right-click the Quick Access Toolbar in PowerPoint, then select Customize the Quick Access Toolbar from the dropdown menu. Find the command you want to move and click on it, then use the Move Up or Move Down arrows to get it where you want it.

How to move the QAT

The QAT can either be displayed in the upper left corner (on the title bar) or below the ribbon. If you want to move it click on Customize Quick Access Toolbar (on the far right of the QAT). From the dropdown select Show Below the Ribbon or Show Above the Ribbon.

Another way to customize the QAT

You can also add, remove, and change the order of the commands on your QAT by using the Options command. First, click on the File tab and under Help, select Options. If you then click Quick Access Toolbar you can make the changes you want.

How to reset the Quick Access Toolbar to the default settings

If you get in a pickle and would like to reset the QAT to the default settings, right-click on it and Customize the Quick Access Toolbar from the dropdown. This opens the Customize the Quick Access Toolbar window, click on Reset Defaults, and then select Reset only Quick Access Toolbar.

Three things the Quick Access Toolbar in PowerPoint cannot do

Annoyingly you cannot make the buttons in the QAT any larger and they are quite small. The only way to do this is to lower your screen resolution, and that’s not ideal. Another niggle is that the QAT can only run on one line so you may not be able to add everything you want to it. Also, you can only add actual commands to the QAT so other formatting options, such as indenting and line spacing (which show on the ribbon), cannot be added.

quick access toolbar powerpoint


Good luck!

If you need more speed hacks for PowerPoint, you might want to check this blog out