The settings for the QAT are located under File, Options, Quick Access Toolbar. You can also right-click the toolbar and choose “Customize Quick Access Toolbar” or click on the down-arrow at the far-right of the QAT, as shown in Figure 1, and choose “More Commands…” from the menu. This opens the Access Options dialog box, displaying two list boxes. On the left is the list of available commands you can add. On the right is the list of commands already in the QAT.

Above the left-hand list is a dropdown menu to display different sets of commands. Set it to “All Commands” to see the hundreds of commands you can add to the QAT. The first option that appears is a separator, which is a nice way to add visual groupings to the QAT and keep related commands together. If you type a letter when the left list is selected, the list jumps to commands that begin with that letter.

As you double-click commands from the left list, they’re added to the list on the right. Items will appear in the order they’re selected. You can use the up and down arrows to the right of the list to rearrange the order.

In the lower-right of the dialog box is a drop-down menu to import/export customizations from or to a file. This is nice for sharing your QAT customizations with others. Download a sample Quick Access Toolbar customization file you can import to save time customizing your QAT: SF2005_QAT_Customization.

There’s a checkbox to “Show the Quick Access Toolbar below the Ribbon” under the left list. You can also choose this option when you click the down-arrow at the end of the QAT. Once your QAT is customized, you might want to collapse the ribbon by double-clicking on one of the ribbon tabs.


Figure 2 shows some of the commands you may want to have available on your QAT.

Save As prompts you for a name of an object you have open. This is especially convenient when you’re changing a query and want to give it a new name.

The Relationships command displays the relationships diagram, which is used often while you’re building tables.

The commands to switch and tile windows are helpful for navigating the database when multiple objects are open. By default, Access shows you tabbed documents so you can only see one object at a time. You’ll need to change that setting to show overlapping windows before these commands are useful.

Commands to hide and unhide columns let you focus on particular data when in Datasheet view. You can freeze columns so they’re always visible and unfreeze to make them normal again. The icon for some of these is a green filled circle because that’s the default for commands that don’t have a specific picture.

The next set of commands is for changing views. These can be useful when you’re designing a query or viewing its results or if you want to switch views for forms and reports. The same Design View command is used for queries, forms, and reports.

Commands related to alignment and design are beneficial when you’re developing forms and reports. If more than one control is selected, you can align them to each other on the left, right, top, or bottom. You can distribute the horizontal or vertical space between them, and size them to the narrowest, widest, shortest, or tallest. You can also group controls so they move together or ungroup them to move them independently. When you have controls that share the same space, Bring to Front or Send to Back commands will help manipulate them. Control Special Effect determines how control borders will appear. They can be flat, raised, sunken, etched, shadowed, or chiseled. Finally, when forms are created using the wizard, the controls are grouped in a layout. The Remove Layout command lets you size and position individual controls.

The About command tells you what version of Access you’re using, whether it’s 32-bit or 64-bit, and other information.

If you have embedded macros, you can Convert Macros to Visual Basic for the active object. This puts all the VBA code behind the form or report in one place so that it’s easier to see what’s going on.

Everyone likely has their own preferences for which particular commands will be most helpful to have available on the QAT. It could be the commands you use most often, ones that don’t have keyboard shortcuts, or commands that you use on occasion and always have difficulty finding on the ribbon. Whatever you choose, it’s a good idea to keep them organized in groups and not include so many that you have to search through the QAT each time you need to use something.


The Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) gives you a handy way to access the commands you use the most, saving time and mouse clicks.

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