Windows From the Keyboard Tips, Ribbons and the Quick Access Tool Bar, May 20, 2020

Hello. This is Gerry Chevalier from the GTT Edmonton Chapter. This weekly blog provides tips that I find useful as a keyboard user of Windows. The information is for Windows10 and Office 365, although many tips still apply to older versions. The tips do not require a screen reader unless specifically noted. Thus, the tips apply whether you are a keyboard user or low vision mouse user. Here is this week’s tip.

Microsoft Office – Ribbons and the Quick Access Tool Bar

Navigating the ribbon commands with the keyboard or trying to remember many Key Tip sequences can be frustrating especially for commands that you use frequently. The Quick Access tool bar can mitigate this frustration. You can place frequently used ribbon commands on the Quick Access tool bar where they can be found quickly and easily.

For example, a common command I use in Excel is to auto adjust the column width to fit the cell contents. This command is on the Home ribbon in the cells group and its key tip sequence is:
This is difficult to remember to say the least. You can add this ribbon command to the Quick Access Tool Bar as follows:
• While in your Excel workbook, press ALT+H, O, I to select the auto adjust column width command or, press Alt+H to open the Home ribbon and then Tab repeatedly to reach the Auto Adjust Column Width command. However, don’t press Enter to activate the command.
• Instead, press the Applications key to open a context menu, and arrow down to find the “Add to Quick Access Tool Bar” and then press Enter.
• This command is now on the Quick Access Tool Bar.
The next time you need to use the command, follow these simpler steps:
• Press Alt to focus on the main ribbon.
• Press up arrow to reach the Quick Access Tool Bar.
• Arrow left or right on the tool bar to find the Auto fit column width function and press Enter. No memorizing of long shortcuts!
• You can add many ribbon commands to the Quick Access Tool Bar in the same manner. You can also find the command using the Alt+Q command search described in the previous tip, and when the command appears in the search results, press the Applications key to find the option to add it to the Quick Access tool bar.
• If you can remember the order of your Quick Access items, then you can activate them more quickly. For example, press ALT+1 to activate the first Quick Access Tool Bar item, press ALT+2 to activate the second item and so on.
• If you decide to remove a command from the Quick Access Tool Bar, just navigate to the command and then press the Applications key to open the context menu. On my computer the Applications key does not open the context menu on the Quick Access Tool Bar but Shift+F10 does. From the context menu select the item, Remove from the Quick Access Tool Bar, and press Enter. You may find it useful to remove some default commands that Microsoft puts on the tool bar, such as Undo, Redo, Save, which already have simple shortcuts namely, Control+Z, Control+Y, and Control+S, so they tend to just clutter the Quick Access tool bar.
Each Office program e.g. Excel, Word, Outlook and Power Point have their own Quick Access Tool bar and the process for adding commands and using the tool bar is the same.