Unlock the power of the Quick Access Toolbar

Fred langa By Fred Langa

In just minutes, you can transform Word 2010 and other Office apps from general-purpose tools to custom software with exactly the features and functions you need.

Microsoft Word 2010, and all the Office 2010 and Office 2007 mainline applications, share a common interface that’s amazingly configurable, once you know the tricks.

That’s a good and necessary thing, because Word has come a long way since its launch in 1983 as “Multi-Tool Word” for Xenix and DOS. First as a standalone product and later as part of the Microsoft Office offerings, Word piled feature upon feature through a dozen major version releases.

By the time the 2003 version shipped, Word offered an incredible 1,070 separate commands and functions. It had become an enormously powerful tool, but it also had a complex menu structure that ran many layers deep. Most users understood Word only superficially and used only a fraction of its power.

So, for the 2007 release of Word (and Office as a whole), Microsoft rethought the way features and functions were displayed. Eventually, they developed an elegant idea with a clumsy name: the Microsoft Office Fluent user interface. Instead of a traditional menu and toolbar, the Microsoft Office Fluent UI uses a complementary pair of aids: a tabbed Ribbon (see Figure 1) and a Quick Access Toolbar, or QAT (see Figure 2).

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All Windows Secrets articles posted on 2011-02-10:

Fred Langa

About Fred Langa

Fred Langa is senior editor. His LangaList Newsletter merged with Windows Secrets on Nov. 16, 2006. Prior to that, Fred was editor of Byte Magazine (1987 to 1991) and editorial director of CMP Media (1991 to 1996), overseeing Windows Magazine and others.