Quick Access Toolbar Usage Survey

Chris Macro at TheSpreadsheetGuru surveyed some Excel users to see what’s on their QAT. Here’s my contribution:

I Don’t Use That Thing!

To my surprise there were a handful of Excel bloggers I reached out to who don’t use the Quick Access Toolbar at all! This includes the likes of Petros Chatzipantazis (Spreadsheet1.com & RibbonCommander.com), Andy Pope (AndyPope.info), Dick Kusleika (DailyDoseOfExcel.com), and Oscar Cronquist (GetDigitalHelp.com). Jon Peltier (PeltierTech.com) even went as far as to state that he “hate, hate, hates the QAT (it ain’t worth squat!).” I found this extremely intriguing and I hope these guys will share their philosophy on not making use of the QAT in the comments section below.

That’s good enough company for me. I don’t hate the QAT, I’m simply indifferent to it. I was at home when I responded to Chris’ request and when I got to work I noticed that I had added


, although I’m sure I’ve never used them. If I have used the speaking thing, I hunted for it on the Ribbon oblivious that I had added it to the QAT.

Incidentally (and uninterestingly) I use it extensively in Outlook. There’s no

so I have to have some way to get at those macros.

Where Are The Macros?

One of the biggest surprises for me was that there were not too many people running macros out of there QAT. I was especially surprised that some people who have dedicated blogs for VBA (cough, cough…Jordan Goldmeier….yeah I’m calling you out!) didn’t have one trace of VBA code hanging out in the QAT. I did get feedback from some stating that most of their macro code used on a regular basis was executed via assigned keyboard shortcuts and that does make sense. About 5 mouths ago I started to shy away from using shortcuts with my macros. Here was my reasoning:

Tell us how you use (or don’t use) the QAT in the comments here or at Chris’ site.

12 thoughts on “Quick Access Toolbar Usage Survey

  1. I have a few things that I actually use on the QAT.

    1 and 2 are reserved for Copy and PasteSpecialValues. I do that a lot, so a quick Alt+1 to copy and Alt+2 to paste (right next to each other, easy to reach and easy to repeat over and over, as opposed to copying with Ctrl+C then trying to find Alt+2)

    I also use Switch windows, Arrange windows, Cell fill color, Refresh All, and the PowerPivot Launcher

  2. I LOVE the QAT! Creating simpler keyboard shortcuts for a variety of tasks is great! I have the format painter all the way to the left, so I can have easy Alt-1 access to it, Alt-3 inserts a row, Alt-4 deletes a row… other keyboard shortcuts for removing hyperlinks, or the quickprint button all make some simple tasks that much faster. The QAT, properly set up, can make mouse-free use of Excel that much easier / better.

  3. I dislike it for 2 reasons – I can’t use the keyboard intuitively, or at least I haven’t figured that out.
    And the effort to create custom icons to describe which macro is being called. I’d much refer text as a descriptor instead of icon.

    So I do use it – a couple of chart macros – zoom, scale 1:1 and Duplicate series. The rest of my macros are in Ron De Bruin’s QAT menu because it’s easy to edit.

  4. I only have a few items in my QAT. One is the Undo button so that I can see its stack. @SamuelMoore’s comment is a good reminder that I can make very efficient keyboard shortcuts via the QAT.

    Instead of using the QAT, I modify my right-click menus a lot. My main PMW generates a 2003-style menu. That way I can add the whole menu, a sub-menu or single command to any right-click menu. For instance I add my PMW’s whole “Tables” menu to the “List Range Popup” right-click menu, or its “Pivots” menu to the “PivotTable Context Menu.” I’ve also modified the Cell menu – that’s the default right-click menu – extensively, losing “Cut”, “Paste”, etc. and adding things like “Select Visible Cells”

    To do this elegantly I use my handy MenuRighter addin. It lets you add items from (almost) any Excel 2003 menu – including right-click menus – to any other one. To check it out, click on my name above this comment.

  5. I have tons of stuff on my QAT
    Many are links to macros
    This also makes it easy to share a standard QAT

  6. I don’t use the QAT. I suppose it could be worth looking into, but I’m always too busy doing (to me) more interesting stuff.

    That said, I’ve just looked up the undo drop down box, which I didn’t know about, and I’ll definitely use that in the future, so thanks Dick and Doug G.

  7. Mostly use it to access tools I most commonly use from my main addin (which has a ribbon tab, so I just right click the item and select “Add to Quick Access Toolbar”). Way too much stuff to assign shortcut keys to, and having them on the QAT saves a few clicks with my….mouse! (dan, dan, dan)

    And Strikethrough. Too lazy or too dumb to remember the shortcut keys. Great when I’m using Excel as a temporary checklist.

  8. I use the QAT a lot – I guess because I am not a keyboard shortcutter – and even though I have been around forever (old school).

    My Excel 2003 was a wonder of productivity – with many many custom toolbars – so the QAT was a real letdown for me – and had a severe productivity impact.

    And now with Excel 2013, the size of each QAT icon has increased (or maybe just the spacing) so now there are fewer QAT items than in 2010 – arghh – I swear Microsoft seems intent on continuing the productivity slide with each new version.

    My QAT items run the gamut – from file commands, to border commands, to cut/paste, to cell formatting, to custom macros – anything that saves me from using the ribbon – another piece of low productivity technology

  9. QAT usage – 2 Macros (Page Format std set up & convert pivot table to classic pivot table layout), Camera tool & Print Preview

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