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This page last revised: 03 Oct 2017 14:18:58 -0500 .

 

Modifying the QAT in Word 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016

See also Modifying the QAT and Ribbon in Microsoft Word. The Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) provides for easy addition of commands to every editing screen in Word. QAT customizations can be stored in any template or document using Word itself or in a special file.

Last modified Tuesday, October 03, 2017.

Changing the Quick Access Toolbar

The Quick Access Toolbar lets you make changes and store those changes in any template (or document) or globally. If in a document template, those changes will apply to documents based on the template as well, even if the document no longer remains "Attached" to that template! In this way, it is like text in a document template. (Note, if the QAT modification is for a macro stored in the template, the template must remain attached for the macro to run.)

How to change -- Files that Hold Changes -- Storing Changes -- Modifying QAT Text and Icons

You can do this customization by right-clicking on the Ribbon and picking the choice of Customize Quick Access Toolbar. (You can also use the drop-down at the right end of the QAT and choose "more commands.")

If you do that, the default is to store the customization in the application (all documents). This change is not stored in the normal template but in a separate file. There is only one such template per user on a computer. If you replace it, you replace all customizations to the QAT.

If you wish to store in a particular document or template, you must designate that storage location. This is done in a window in the top right of the modification dialog. You will have two choices: "For all documents" or whatever the currently active template or document is. Note, one of the choices is not the template attached to the currently open document. Neither can you choose currently loaded global templates which are not open for editing nor other open documents; only the currently active document or template (the one you would be typing in if you were not modifying the QAT).

 

Word 2010 QAT Modification Right-Click Menu (shown above)

Storing Ribbon Commands on the QAT directly

If, instead of just right-clicking on the Ribbon, you right-click on a particular command or button on the Ribbon, you get an option to Add that Command to the QAT. The dialog below is from Word 2010 with a custom Ribbon tab.

The option to Customize the Ribbon... does not appear in Word 2007. If you choose to Add to the Quick Access Toolbar the command will be placed in the next available spot and stored in the general QAT customizations. If you choose Customize the Quick Access Toolbar, you will have the ability to position the command you are adding and choose where to store the customizations. For a simple demonstration of the power and limitations of adding a button to the QAT in a template/document, see Send as PDF button in Word Body.

Using Custom Images on the QAT

Generally there are limited images available for the icons on the QAT. If you copy a command from the Ribbon, it will come with an image; that image generally cannot be modified from within Word. If you choose a command not on the Ribbon or a macro, you can usually modify the icon by choosing from a limited set. If you want more than that, you are going to have to do some XML modification of the Ribbon. This is going to take either a customization of the QAT modification file or creating custom ribbon tab(s) with the images as noted above.

If you want to customize QAT images, I recommend starting with Greg Maxey's page: Modify QAT\Ribbon Button Images\Labels. Note that you can use these techniques on the files that hold customizations directly. That is, they are already xml files. You just need to change the extension to .txt to edit them.

Note that the as far as I know, if you add a building blocks gallery to the QAT, nothing about it can be modified.

Adding Macros to the QAT

Important note: If you are adding macros to your QAT, the QAT modification for that macro should be stored in the same template that has the macro.

You can choose macros in "Choose Commands from" in the upper left of the customize dialog. Recorded macros are always in the NewMacros module, but that is probably not where you actually want to keep them. If you are going to put the macro you want on your QAT in a different module, do that before adding it to the QAT.

Macros stored in the normal template (default storage location for recorded macros) will be in the "Normal" project. Those stored in other templates will be in the "Template" or "TemplateProject" module. I try to rename these modules to more meaningful names before putting macros on the QAT.

When displayed in the QAT modification dialog, macros are shown by their project, module, and name, in that order. This can make for long names. For instance a macro that you record with the name MyMacro and save in the default location will show up in the list as Normal.NewMacros.MyMacro. Note that you can resize the dialog itself. You may need to make it wider to find your macros.

Here are screenshots from the (resized) dialog to modify the QAT and from the VBA Editor (Alt+F11) for the corresponding macros.

Note in the lower left of the VBA Editor screenshot the "Property" Name. This is where you change the names of projects or modules in VBA.

 

 

Files that hold QAT customizations

Unless QAT customizations are stored in a particular document or template, they are stored in the Word.qat (Word 2007) or Word.OfficeUI (Office 2010-16) files. These are the default storage files. Note these customizations are not stored in the Normal template. Word 2010 and Word 2013 will use the same file but using both versions has been reported to scramble the order in which QAT modifications are displayed. While you can store QAT modifications elsewhere, you cannot change the default storage locations.

These default files are stored in the following location:

bulletIn Windows XP C:\Documents and Settings\ user name \Application Data\Microsoft\Office
bulletIn Windows Vista or in Windows 7/8/10 C:\Users\ user name \AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office
bulletOn a Mac, I suspect it is ~/Library/Application Support/Microsoft/Office
bulletOffice 2013-2016/365 shares the QAT file with Office 2010 (same name and location).

Where to Store QAT customizations

Default QAT Files: If the modification is only for your personal use and you do not care if you can move it to another computer or a new version of Word, you can store it in the default location. This is certainly the easiest place to store a modification, short term. I will sometimes store modifications there if I make them for a single Word session. I also remove the standard QAT entries from the default files and put them in a  custom global template instead so they are there, in the same place, on all systems that use that global, without duplication.

Document or Template: My preference is to store QAT additions in a template. To store a QAT addition in a template, that template must be open for editing. One might assume that you can also store modifications in the attached template for an open document; that assumption would be wrong, though. The template, itself, must be open for editing. This means storing the modifications in a template generally requires the extra step of opening the template itself.

Global Template in Startup Folder: If it is to be used in all documents, I will store it in a Global Template that is placed in the Word Startup Folder. If the template contains macros it must be a .dotm file in the Startup Folder. If it contains no macros it may be a .dotx file. Again, if you want to change QAT modifications stored in such a template, it must be open for editing.

QAT Links to Macros: If the modifications have to do with macros, the macros and the QAT modifications should be stored in the same .dotm template. (In earlier versions of Word, this would be toolbars rather than QAT modifications.)

QAT Links to Galleries Stored in Templates: If the QAT modification has to do with a gallery stored in a custom template (global or document) the QAT modification should be stored in the same template.

Document Template: If the modification is for use with a particular document template and its attached documents, the modifications should be stored in that template.

Document: In rare cases, I put a QAT modification in a document. I generally do this if the modification is for use only with that document or if I intend to share the document with someone who would not have the template that contains the QAT modification and I want that someone to be able to use the modification. Again, this is rare; I mention it because it is possible to do.

Removing QAT entries: If multiple files are used to hold Quick Access Toolbar modifications, those modifications are cumulative. If a QAT entry is in any file, especially the Word.qat or Word.OfficeUI file, it cannot be removed from the QAT in a different file, at least not through the Word Interface. That is, if you want to remove a standard QAT entry, that change must be stored in the storage location where the entry is kept. You can do this with the default storage locations from any document. For entries stored elsewhere, the storage location must be open for editing and the "active document."

 

Modifying Text and Icons in the QAT

The Word Interface gives limited ability to modify icons and the text displayed when you hover the mouse pointer over the icon. This comes from the Modify button which is active when you have selected QAT item. The selection of icons is limited and some commands cannot be modified using this method.

 

Greg Maxey has an excellent page on this which shows methods that have much more power and flexibility than is available directly in the Word interface. That modification is not done through the user interface directly; modification involves writing XML without the need for also writing vba callbacks.

Modify Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) Button Image or Text

Again, to modify QAT customizations stored in a document or template you must follow the steps outlined to unpack the XML of the document or template. There are directions given in the last link on how to do that. To modify customizations stored in Word.qat, Word.OfficeUI, or Word14.CustomUI you need to change the extension to .txt. My recommendation would be to append the .txt extension (Word.qat.txt, Word.OfficeUI.txt, Word14.CustomUI.txt) to make it easy to change back. I always work on a copy or with a copy so that if I make an error, I can return to my starting point.

You can also do this through full-blown ribbon modification with vba callbacks but the QAT is one of the more difficult areas to modify in a full ribbon modification and is one of the easier areas to make flexible modifications through the UI. (Your author has not attempted the latter, being faint-of-heart.)

Order of Icons on the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT)

When you add something to your QAT, by default it will be placed on the right end of the toolbar. In the Modify the QAT dialog that would be the bottom of the list. You can move things up and down in that list, which moves them to the right or left on the toolbar. If you have more icons than fit on your screen in one row, a more button with two triangles appears at the far right. When you press that button, a second row of icons may appear. If that does not hold all of the icons in your QAT, the second row can be scrolled right and left when active.

If you use the default file as your storage location and use both Word 2010 and 2013, they use the same file and Word 2013 likes to scramble the icons. It does not do this if you store the toolbar modifications in a separate template. I have not noticed this with Word 2016 and 2010.

If you have modifications stored in multiple files they will be loaded onto the toolbar in groups by file. Those in the default file will be on the far left, followed by those in other files according to the alphabetical order of the holding Add-In files.

For example:A

bulletDefault file holds icons A, B, X, Z in that order.
bulletHolder file SomeIcons.dotx holds icons E, P, U, M in  that order.
bulletHolder file MyIcons.dotx holds icons F, H, L, C in that order.

The icons will appear on the toolbar as:

A, B, X, Z, F, H, L, C, E, P, U, M

This is true even if MyIcons.dotx is loaded as an Add-In after SomeIcons.dotx.

If you use multiple files to hold icons, the separator character can be especially helpful in marking groups of icons on the toolbar. This is available on the dialog as <Separator>.

Again, if both Word 2010 and 2013 are active on the same computer, use of Word 2013 can scramble the order of icons in the default file Word.OfficeUI. I've noticed this when Word 2013 is used to modify the QAT. I do not know whether Word 2016 does this.

If in the above example, you also had icons D, R, and N stored in a document template named ATemplate.dotx (rather than an Add-In) and that template is attached to the active document, the order would be:

A, B, X, Z, F, H, L, C, E, P, U, M, D, R, N

The icons get added to the right end of the toolbar without regard to the name of the containing document template. That is, if an icon is added to a document or a document's attached template, it will appear on the far right end of the QAT, behind those stored in global templates.

Adding Ribbon Commands to the QAT

Ouick Way - Right Click on a Ribbon Command

I do not recommend this because it stores your modification in the general file rather than in a specific customization template. Nevertheless, if you are just doing it for yourself, it works.

Right-click on any command on the Ribbon and tell Word to put it on the QAT.

This will copy both the command and the related icon to the QAT. This is true whether it is a Ribbon Tab command built into Word or on a customized Ribbon Tab. Again, it will store it in the general store for QAT customizations.

Better Way - Use the More Commands method and store it in a custom template.

This is especially true if you are talking about customized commands that are already in a template like macros. You want to store those commands in the same template that holds your other customizations. To do this, you must have that template open for editing on your screen.

See Modifying Text and Icons above. Once you have the Customize the Quick Access Toolbar dialog open, you can select any available ribbon tabs and copy commands from that tab onto the QAT attached to the open template.

The screenshot above is for a custom tab. Note that this is storing the modifications in the file that holds the custom tab. If you only want commands on the QAT, it is possible to modify the custom tab in XML to make it not visible. The QAT icons will remain active and available.

Word 2016 for the Mac

See Customize the Ribbon and Quick Access Toolbar

I do not know whether or not modifications to the QAT on the Mac can be assigned to specific documents or templates as they can in Windows. In Windows, you can.

Modify the Quick Action Toolbar - QAT - Mac

I do not know what happens on the Mac if you open a document that has a customized QAT created in Windows. I suspect that it will work, at least with Word's built in commands.

 

As you may be able to tell, this is a work in progress. As I learn more, I'll share it here, time allowing.

Charles Kenyon 03 October 2017. 

 

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