Making Ribbon Customizations Apply to All Workbooks

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated October 5, 2019)

Tom customized the ribbon, but Excel only holds the customization for the workbook on which he is working. He wonders how he can make sure his ribbon customizations work for all the workbooks on his system.

There are two things that can be customized on the ribbon (well, technically, near the ribbon), and it is possible that Tom is confusing those two things. In order to cover all the bases, however, I'll address both areas.

Changes to the Quick Access Toolbar

The Quick Access Toolbar, or QAT, generally appears right above the ribbon, so many people think it is actually a part of the ribbon. You can make changes to the QAT in the following manner:

  1. Display the File tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click Options at the bottom of the left side of the window. Excel displays the Excel Options dialog box.
  3. At the left side of the dialog box click Quick Access Toolbar. Excel changes what is displayed at the right side of the dialog box. (See Figure 1.)
  4. Figure 1. The Quick Access Toolbar option in the Excel Options dialog box.

Before you make any changes, note the Customize Quick Access Toolbar drop-down list at the upper-right corner of the dialog box. In order to have your QAT changes be available in all workbooks on your system, you want to make sure that this drop-down list is set to For All Documents. It should be set to this, by default, but if it is set to a specific workbook (for any reason), then the QAT customizations will be available only in that single workbook.

Changes to the Ribbon Itself

If you are using Excel 2010 or a later version of the program, you can display the customization area for the ribbon itself in much the same way as you do for the Quick Access Toolbar. Only the last step is different:

  1. Display the File tab of the ribbon.
  2. Click Options at the bottom of the left side of the window. Excel displays the Excel Options dialog box.
  3. At the left side of the dialog box click Customize Ribbon. Excel changes what is displayed at the right side of the dialog box. (See Figure 2.)
  4. Figure 2. The Customize Ribbon option in the Excel Options dialog box.

There is one huge difference between this dialog box and the dialog box for customizing the QAT—there is no drop-down list at the upper-right corner of the dialog box. This means that, by default, all the customizations you make to the ribbon should be available for all your workbooks.

There is one possible exception to this. If your ribbon customizations include assigning macros to your new ribbon options, then it is possible that those customizations won't work properly if the macros aren't in the Personal workbook. Why? Because if the workbook containing the macros isn't open and you try to click a ribbon button that tries to access that macro, it will fail if it cannot locate that macro.

Moving macros from a specific workbook to the Personal workbook is beyond the scope of this tip, but it isn't particularly difficult using the Visual Basic Editor. Here's a page on one of Microsoft's sites that may be of help in this regard:

https://support.office.com/en-us/article/copy-your-macros-to-a-personal-macro-workbook-aa439b90-f836-4381-97f0-6e4c3f5ee566

Remember that if you do move your macros to the Personal workbook, you'll want to double-check your ribbon customizations to make sure that they point to the proper macro in its new home.

ExcelTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Excel training. This tip (13684) applies to Microsoft Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Excel in Office 365.

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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