Backing Up Quick Access Toolbars

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 29, 2017)

Kym normally sets up a personalized Quick Access Toolbar when using Excel. Recently his PC crashed and Excel had to be reinstalled. This meant that he had to recreate the Quick Access Toolbar manually. Kym wonders if there is a way to save the Quick Access Toolbar layout to a backup file.

The answer is an unequivocal "yes." The first way is applicable if you are using Excel 2010 or a later version. Follow these steps:

  1. Click the File tab on the ribbon.
  2. Click Options. Excel displays the Excel Options dialog box.
  3. At the left side of the dialog box click Quick Access Toolbar. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Quick Access Toolbar options of the Excel Options dialog box.

  5. Click the Import/Export drop-down list at the bottom-right corner of the dialog box. Excel displays two options.
  6. Choose Export All Customizations. Excel displays the File Save dialog box.
  7. Using the controls in the dialog box, select a location where you want the backup file saved.
  8. Click Save. Excel saves the customization file where you specified in step 6.
  9. Click on Cancel to dismiss the Excel Options dialog box.

The file created in step 7 is your backup file. You can store it where you store your other backups, and then reuse it by following the above steps but choosing to import in step 5.

The second method of backing up your QAT is required if you are using Excel 2007, but will also work with later versions of Excel. All you need to do is to look for files (in Windows) that end with the .QAT file extension. Where they are normally located depends on the version of Windows you are using. The following are two common areas for the files to be stored:

C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Office
C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Office

In each instance, "username" should be replaced with the name of your user account. Note that these are default locations; depending on how Excel was installed, the files could be elsewhere. For this reason it is a good idea to simply do a file search to locate any files that end in .QAT.

The Quick Access Toolbar files are plain text files and can be copied to a separate location for backup. There will be one for each Office application that has a Quick Access Toolbar defined. If you are simply interested in the file for Excel, then look for the file Excel.qat.

Microsoft MVP Ron de Bruin has some wonderful resources on Quick Access Toolbar files, including how to find all of the icon images built into Office and how to add custom images, on his site:

http://www.rondebruin.nl/tips.htm

On the page, look for the section entitled "Ribbon and Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) Pages."

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (5824) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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