2. Add a Quick Access Toolbar

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Many of Powerpoint's most useful commands can be quite difficult to find. Let's solve this problem by creating our own toolbar which will contain these commands.


Quick access toolbar

The quick access toolbar provides us with fast access to the most helpful commands in Powerpoint.

Here are the commands I recommend adding to the quick access toolbar:
Align Objects Bottom
Align Objects Center
Align Objects Left
Align Objects Middle
Align Objects Right
Align Objects Top
Distribute horizontally
Distribute vertically
Align Text Left
Align Text Right
Bring Forward
Bring to Front
Send to Back
Send Backward
Shape fill
Shape outline
Elbow arrow connector
Elbow connector


Microsoft applications are not known for being user friendly. In this regard, PowerPoint is no exception. It turns out that many of the most useful commands for manipulating shapes, lines and images can be quite difficult to find. To solve this problem, today we're going to create our own toolbar which will contain all of these useful commands. The toolbar that will help us to do this is called the Quick Access Toolbar and is located at the very top of the page. We'll start by making the Quick Access Toolbar more prominent and moving it below the ribbon. Click on the dropdown arrow, and select Show Below Ribbon.

Next, we're gonna add some commands to the Quick Access Toolbar. So, click on the dropdown arrow again and then select More Commands.

Set the list on the left to All Commands and now we can add these commands using the Add button to our customized Quick Access Toolbar on the right. The first command I'm going to add to our Quick Access Toolbar is called Align Objects Bottom, so we'll select it, click Add. I'll also add Align Objects Center, Align Objects Left, Align Objects Middle and you get the idea.

To save some time, I've included all the commands I recommend adding to the Quick Access Toolbar in the show notes below this video. What I would like you to do is pause the video, add all of these commands to the Quick Access Toolbar and click OK, press Play and we'll continue.

Your Quick Access Toolbar should now be populated with all of these commands. Before we finish this lesson, let's walk through some of these commands and understand what they do.

The first five commands we've added to the Quick Access Toolbar are alignment commands and are used to align multiple objects with each other. The next two commands are often used together with the alignment commands to distribute objects evenly across a slide. We'll be using the alignment and distribution commands extensively when building our organization chart in the coming lessons.

The next three commands serve to align text within a text box. Let's see this in action by selecting our heading on the title page and let's click on this button to align text left, this button to align text right and the middle button to align text center again. The next four commands relate to positioning objects in front of or behind other objects. To see this in action, let's first draw a rectangle, and let's draw it in front of the current title of our slide. To move the rectangle behind the text, simply select Send to Back. If we'd like to move the rectangle in front of the text again, we can select Bring to Front.

The next two commands relate to drawing lines in PowerPoint and to see these in action, we'll draw a line by clicking on it in the Drawing tab of the ribbon, and drawing a line right across.

To change this line to dashes, we'll simply click on the dashes dropdown arrow and select the dash that we want. And you can see that the line changes its form. We can also adjust the thickness by clicking down on this arrow and we'll change it to three points.

And lastly, we can actually change the color of this line by using the Shape Outline dropdown.

And we'll make it red.

And you can see that lines can be easily formatted with these commands in the Quick Access Toolbar.

To change the color of a shape, we use the Shape Fill command. First, let's select the shape, then we'll click on the dropdown arrow of this command and find our desired color. I'm going to select red.

We can also change the outline of this shape using the Shape Outline dropdown, so let's click on this arrow and I'll select green.

Next the Shape Outline command, we have elbow connectors which connect shapes with vertical and horizontal lines. Again we'll be using these extensively when building our organization chart.

The next two commands I'm going to cover in the Quick Access Toolbar are grouping and ungrouping.

Grouping converts multiple objects into one larger object and is very useful when you need to move multiple objects around a page. To see it in action, let's select the rectangle, hold shift and select the line so that we've two objects selected at the same time. Then select Group and we can see that these have now been converted to one larger object.

This larger object can now be moved around the page like so.

To ungroup these two objects, simply select Ungroup and we now have a separate line object and a shape again. The remaining commands in this lesson all relate to the text box and will be covered in a later course. One exception is the crop tool which is used to remove parts of images. I'll show you how to use the crop tool to adjust photographs in lesson four. Unfortunately this lesson could only provide a whistle-stop tour of the Quick Access Toolbar but in the coming lessons, I'll show you how to really capture its power to create great looking slides.