Customizing Microsoft Excel

When Microsoft Excel was first released, many new users struggled to come to terms with the new Ribbon style of navigation. One aspect which baffled people the most was simply how to open and save documents. There appeared to be no way to carry out these simple acts as there was no longer a ‘File’ menu option. Unbeknown to many, these options were now to all intents and purposes hidden way behind the so-called ‘Office Button’. The issue was that many people thought that the Office Button as just the Microsoft logo and so didn’t even think to click it! This concern has been addressed by Microsoft in the latest version of Excel, by replacing the button with the familiar ‘File’ menu. Seems like Microsoft listened this time! In this article, we shall look at the various options for customizing Excel in order to get the best out of the software.

The Quick Access Toolbar
The Quick Access Toolbar is the small menu which is situated by default above the main Ribbon menu. When the software is first loaded it only features 3 buttons: Save, Undo and Redo. However, the range of tools can be very easily be extended by clicking the small black drop-down arrow which is situated at the right of the menu. Selecting this reveals a shortlist of extra tools which can be added to the toolbar by clicking alongside, which has the effect of ‘ticking’ the selection and adding it to the toolbar. Further tools can be added by clicking ‘More Commands’ at the bottom of the menu and selecting from a large range of tool options. Finally, the position of the Quick Access Toolbar itself can be changed by clicking the menu and selecting ‘Show Below the Ribbon’. My personal view is that this isn’t a particularly good position for it as it takes up extra room. In its default position, It shares the same space as the document name across the top and represents a more logical place for it to be.

The Recent Documents & Folders List
The recent documents list was around in the 2013version of Excel, but the recent folders facility is new to Excel 2019. They both feature small grey ‘pins’ which when clicked have the effect of ‘pinning’ your documents and folders onto the shortlist of recent files. This is a very useful function and stops your most used documents from dropping off the bottom of the list. It doesn’t actually pin them to the same spot and you will find that they will move around the list, but at least they won’t be lost for good as you open more documents…source

The Ribbon
Last but not least, the Ribbon itself can be customized by adding tool buttons which you use frequently. To do this, first, click the File menu and select Options. Now select ‘Customise Ribbon’ and then click ‘New Group’. It is necessary to create a new group in order to extra buttons to the Ribbon toolbar. Tool buttons can now be added to this custom group by selecting from the menu on the left and then clicking ‘Add’. Finally, the custom group can be given a user-friendly name by clicking the ‘Rename’ button.

Once we’ve become familiar with the new Ribbon style of navigation in Excel, most users do seem to prefer the system. Coupled with the facility to easily customize the Ribbon to suit your personal requirements, Excel 2019 would appear to be the most powerful version yet offered by Microsoft.

John Abrams a Microsoft Office expert has been working in the technology industry from the last 7 year. As a technical expert, he has written technical blogs, white papers, and reviews for many websites.