I have a confession. I like Excel quite a bit. On my third date with my other half, he asked me up not to ‘look at his etchings’, but to see his formulae.

Recently, after cooking a romantic meal, we found ourselves watching Excel Is Fun videos on YouTube over coffee.  Really.

If you love Excel as much as I do, you’ll have already clicked that link and be writing Mike Girvin a fan letter, but seeing as you’re still reading, I’ll presume that you just want Excel to do sensible useful things.

And one of the sensible things I’ve learnt it can do recently, is giving you…

… the Quick Access Toolbar.

If you’re in Excel 2007, your menu is really thick. And lots of the buttons you use every day, are buried in it at random.  See?

But through the Quick Access Toolbar (or QAT – a Scrabble word if ever there was one) you can customise that little bit at the top to always show the things you use all the time!

Here’s a quick guide:

See the top most toolbar? With Save, Undo and Redo on it? That’s your QAT, looking a bit paltry. Click the little drop down. It gives a few options right there but I’m going to choose ‘more commands’ to get my list just right.

(The thick toolbar is called the ‘ribbon’ by the way; you can also use this menu to show and hide it.  You can also move where your QAT sits – above or below the ribbon.)

This happy little window opens. I’ve clicked the drop down arrow under ‘choose commands from’ to be able to choose the ‘All commands’ list – the complete collection from which to pick.  Add all the stuff that you love, put it in the order that you want with the up and down arrows on the right hand side.  There’s some little known stuff on there, including the great ‘Speak on Enter’ which will say back to you, in a computery voice, anything you type into a cell, which occasionally might be handy for accessibility. But also gives you a chance to check it can pronounce ‘Siobhan’. (It can’t.)

Click OK and… ta dah!

As you can see, I’ve clicked the ‘show below the ribbon’ option we saw on the second picture to move my QAT to below the thick toolbar. I think it reminds me more of the previous version of Excel there. Which, I’ve just realised, is nostalgia for Excel 2003, and final evidence that I should go seek help…. But before I do, another tantalising time waster – there’s a QAT on Word too. Use exactly the same method to find handy buttons like ‘portrait/landscape’ and ‘change case’, and many, many more…

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