Backing Up Quick Access Toolbars

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 23, 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." You can back up the Quick Access Toolbar for Excel by simply looking 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:


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:

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, and 2013.

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. ...


Replacing and Converting in a Macro

When you use a macro to process data you always run the risk of making that data unusable by Excel. This is especially true ...

Discover More

Formatting Text in Comment Boxes

Want to make your worksheet comments appear a certain way? It's easy to do using techniques you already are familiar with.

Discover More

Displaying Shortcut Keys in ScreenTips

ScreenTips can appear with or without shortcut keys displayed in them. Here's how to control whether they appear or not.

Discover More

Solve Real Business Problems Master business modeling and analysis techniques with Excel and transform data into bottom-line results. This hands-on, scenario-focused guide shows you how to use the latest Excel tools to integrate data from multiple tables. Check out Microsoft Excel 2013 Data Analysis and Business Modeling today!

More ExcelTips (ribbon)

Adding a Macro to the Quick Access Toolbar

The Quick Access Toolbar is a great place to put anything for which you want quick access. (Duh!) Here's how you can add your ...

Discover More

Enlarging Icons on the Quick Access Toolbar

Tired of squinting when you look at icons on the Quick Access toolbar? It seems there is no relief from the eye strain, short ...

Discover More

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

View most recent newsletter.


If you would like to add an image to your comment (not an avatar, but an image to help in making the point of your comment), include the characters [{fig}] in your comment text. You’ll be prompted to upload your image when you submit the comment. Images larger than 600px wide or 1000px tall will be reduced. Up to three images may be included in a comment. All images are subject to review. Commenting privileges may be curtailed if inappropriate images are posted.

What is 2 + 1?

2017-05-25 09:07:13


Willy, you're right; and I don't remember what I used to do with Excel 2007 and earlier! It's still funny that for the similar chore of backing up and transferring macros, Microsoft and all the rest still advise finding the Module.bat files and doing crazy things to transfer them to a newly installed Excel--when it's so much easier to copy the macros themselves as plain text, then paste into Word or Notepad, then paste the text all at once into the new Excel's Module 1. I have over a hundred macros in my single Module, with no need for other modules. Just back up to a text file on the LAN every so often, before the hard drive crashes.

2017-05-25 04:23:17


How about Excel for Mac ? Where do I find those "qat" files ?

2017-05-24 11:05:26

Willy Vanhaelen

The first sentence of Neil's comment starts with: "In Excel 2010 onwards you can..." .
For Excel 2007 you can only use Allen's tip.

2017-05-23 10:08:57


Allen, I've backed up QAT in Excel, PowerPoint, and Word for years as Neil does. The doc should be saved on the network or other media. This tip should be rewritten to teach that instead of the Microsoft rigamarole. Similarly, it's so much easier to save one's macros as text files in a word doc or Notepad (I don't mean CSV) instead of transferring the macros the way Microsoft advises, which takes forever and is a mess. Thanks.

2017-05-23 03:43:12


Thanks Neil. Our PC's in work are heavily "locked down" by the IT guys. We have no access to the C Drive at all! Very useful to have an alternative means to save a backup.

2017-05-23 02:46:08


In Excel 2010 onwards you can also do this more easily by:

1. Right click on the Quick Access Toolbar and select "Customise Quick Access Tollbar .."
2. Click on "Import/Export" button and then "Export all customisations". You will then be asked to give the file a name and location in the usual manner.

This also saves any customisations to the ribbon in the same file.

To reload the process is the same except that in step choose the "Import customization file" option.

Exactly the same processes also works for Outlook, Word and PowerPoint.

This Site

Got a version of Excel that uses the ribbon interface (Excel 2007 or later)? This site is for you! If you use an earlier version of Excel, visit our ExcelTips site focusing on the menu interface.

Newest Tips

FREE SERVICE: Get tips like this every week in ExcelTips, a free productivity newsletter. Enter your address and click "Subscribe."

(Your e-mail address is not shared with anyone, ever.)

View the most recent newsletter.