In a previous tip, I explained how you can sign in with a Microsoft account, and choose an Office theme and Office background to personalize your Office 2013 experience. But there many other ways to personalize Office. And for those that don’t wish to display the full ribbon or spend time navigating between multiple ribbon tabs, you can place your most frequently-used commands in the Quick Access Toolbar, which is always visible.

Note: Please refer to Office 2013 Tip: Personalize the Office Applications for information about the other Office customizations listed above, and to Office 2013 Feature Focus: Ribbon Display Options for information about customizing the ribbon. Customizing the Quick Access Toolbar is particularly useful if you plan to hide the ribbon normally.

The Quick Access Toolbar is a mini-toolbar that sits at the very top left of Office applications, just to the right of the window button, which is represented by the application’s icon. For example, the Word 2013 Quick Access Toolbar looks like the following by default:

Here, you see three pinned commands, Save, Undo, and Redo (from left to right). You can hover over each to see a balloon help window listing the name of the command and its keyboard shortcut.

To add a command to the Quick Access Toolbar directly from the ribbon, simply right-click the command you wish to add and choose Add to Quick Access Toolbar.

Of course, not all commands are available from the ribbon, while others are hard to find. (Print is a good example.) So you can further customize this toolbar by clicking the Customize Quick Access Toolbar button, which is the small chevron-like button at the right edge of the toolbar. When you do, a menu appears. 

This menu includes a list of frequently-used commands (that will vary from application to application) so you can select and deselect them quickly and easily, a link for More Commands, so you can access every possible command available to the application, and a Show Below the Ribbon link that will change the position of the Quick Access Toolbar.

Choose More Commands if the command you wish to add is not available from the list, or if you wish to reorder the commands in the Quick Access Toolbar. An Options window for the current Office application appears, with an impressive set of commands that you can add to the toolbar.

By default, Quick Access Toolbar Options displays popular commands in the left pane, and you can choose one and then click the Add button to add it to the toolbar, which is represented by the right pane. But if the command you want is available, click the Choose commands from drop-down to filter the left pane and choose from any command available to the application, whether it’s in one of the ribbon tabs or not.

You can also use the Remove button to remove Quick Access Toolbar commands.

When you’re done adding and removing commands, you can use the Move Up and Move Down buttons on the right side of this window to arrange the commands in the order you prefer.

If you make a mess of things, you can rest the Quick Access Toolbar back to its default set of commands. To do so, display Quick Access Toolbar Options and select Customizations and then Reset only Quick Access Toolbar in the bottom right of the window.