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This page last revised: 06 Jan 2024 23:47:34 -0500 .


Modifying the User Interface (Ribbon and QAT) in Word 2007, 2010, 2013 and 2016

The Ribbon user interface (UI) has its own customizable features - the Ribbon itself and the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). Of these, only the QAT customizations can be stored in a template using Word itself. See also Modifying the QAT in Microsoft Word

Last modified Tuesday, January 03, 2023.

Changing the Ribbon

Word 2007 provides no method within Word for changing the Ribbon. Word 2010 and later allow changes to the Ribbon from within Word, but only for the entire program, not storing them within individual templates. For the Ribbon, the easiest entry point for customization within Word is to right-click on the ribbon. (You can also get to these dialogs from the Word Options, but I know of no reason to do so.) Choose modify the ribbon.

Word 2010 and later allow customization through the user interface of Word. However, these modifications are limited and not easily shared. Ribbon changes in Word 2007, and Ribbon modifications that you intend to share in any version of Word are best done using an XML editor. See Customize the Ribbon (It doesn't take rocket science) by Greg Maxey as a starting point on how to do this.

The changes made to a Word 2010 ribbon through the interface are stored in the file Word14.CustomUI. Those made to a Word 2013(365) ribbon would be stored in a file named Word15.CustomUI and for Word 2016 in a file named Word16.CustomUI. Again, these are changes made through Word's interface, not by coding the XML directly. If this file is renamed, Word will start without the customizations and will form a new file when any new customizations are made through the interface. This file is for saving customizations, not for sharing, copying or moving them.

This file name changed to Word.OfficeUI some time in 2018 for all versions that have ribbon modifiction through Word itself (Word 2010-2019). In Windows 10, this file will be found in the folder:


Remember, this file is not for exporting or sharing. If you have more than one version of Word that uses this file, they will share. This can cause conflicts.

Exported ribbon files from the Interface (Word 2010-2016) are named Word Customizations.exportedUI. You must use the Word interface to import these as well to export them. Simply renaming them will not work. See this support page for details on the XML structures. Again, importing one of these files overwrites any existing modifications. These export files as well as the native files can be modified using a simple XML editor to provide different icons or labels. See Modify QAT \ Ribbon Button Icon \ Text. Much more flexibility is gained by doing full ribbon customization as described in the Rocket Science page.

See Deploying a Customized Ribbon and Quick Access Toolbar in Office 2010 on the Microsoft Office site. Although I do not think distributing the customizations to the Ribbon made in the Interface is a worthwhile way to distribute customizations, Microsoft does provide instructions. Just keep in mind that any customizations distributed this way will overwrite any existing customizations in the Microsoft Ribbon and QAT files.

Custom Images

If you modify the Ribbon using Word itself (the user interface) you are stuck with the images that Word assigns to commands. The one for macros is the same for all macros and not very appealing. These cannot be modified through Word.

To use different images as icons you need to go outside of Word and change the XML. Greg Maxey shows how this is done in his pages beginning with Ribbon Images & Labels Part I. You can use Icons from other Office programs or add your own images. Instructions for modifying icons in the ribbon customizations made through Word, itself, are given at the bottom of the page Modify QAT \ Ribbon Button Icon \ Text. Here is a downloadable document from Microsoft that gives the names of available icons.

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

Again, I strongly recommend going to Greg Maxey's page on Customizing the Ribbon.

Here are links to two free Office UI editors.

bulletCustom Office UI Editor - no longer available from original source. You can download from these pages:
bulletGreg Maxey's Customize the Ribbon page
bulletRon deBruin's Ribbon Customization Page
bulletThe Open Source Office RibbonX Editor (updated November 23, 2019)

Charles Kenyon 03 January 2023. 


Old Links (QAT)

Note, this page used to include information on modification of the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). That information was moved to another page. The headings below are kept in case there were links about QAT modifications into this page. The link below each heading goes to the place in that page.


Changing the QAT

Changing the QAT

Using Custom Images on the QAT

Using Custom Images on the QAT

Adding Macros to the QAT

Adding Macros to the Quick Access Toolbar

Files that Can Hold QAT Modifications

Files that can hold QAT modifications

 Where Can QAT Modifications be Stored?

Where can QAT modifications be stored?

 Modifying the QAT in Microsoft Word   

Modifying the QAT in Microsoft Word

Order of Icons on the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT)

Order of icons on the Quick Access Toolbar


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