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5 Strategies to Maximize Your QAT Workflow

Last Updated October 24, 2022

Complete PowerPoint Training

QAT Setup Strategies

Now that you know how to use your QAT to create easy-to-use shortcuts to your hardest-to-reach (and more frequently used commands), now let’s talk strategy.

To see the 5 ways to get the most out of your QAT workflow, watch the short video below.

To download my own custom QAT and get step-by-step training on reap the most benefits from it when building pitch decks and presentations, check out my PowerPoint Crash Course.

Below are quick summaries of the 5 strategy points discussed in more depth in the video above.

#1. Put your QAT below your Ribbon

The QAT works best (and is the easiest to use) when it sits below your PowerPoint Ribbon.

To change the position of your QAT, simply:

  1. Select the downward facing arrow at the end of your QAT
  2. Choose Show Below Ribbon or Show Above Ribbon, depending on where yours currently is

Your QAT can only be in one of these two places. You cannot hide your QAT either, so if you are on a PC, your QAT is in one of these two places.

The main reason the QAT works better when it is below your Ribbon, is that it makes it easier to access some of its commands with your mouse (as you will learn more about when we talk about strategically arranging your QAT in a minute).

For two other reasons why I recommend always having your QAT below your Ribbon, watch the video at the top of the page.


Get our Top 25 PowerPoint Shortcut Cheat Sheet


#2. Focus on commands that don’t already have shortcuts

While you can put any command or feature on your QAT, I recommend only putting those that do not already have easy-to-use shortcuts associated with them.

That is why I do not recommend the default QAT that PowerPoint gives you, as pictured below.

Why? Because while the Save, Undo, Redo and Slide Show shortcuts are all extremely useful in PowerPoint, they all already have simple and familiar Hold Shortcuts.

In my opinion, there are two classic mistakes Investment Bankers and Consultants make when setting up their QAT.

Mistake #1: They never set up their QATs

Mistake #2: They overload it with a bunch of stuff they never use

#3. Think strategically about your QAT

Another way to maximize the space on your QAT is to add dropdown menus or command groups, instead of all of the individual commands.

For example, if you add the Arrange drop down to your QAT, it only takes up one place. And when you open it (as pictured below) you get access to all of the commands and features within that dropdown menu. No need to add each command individually (clogging up valuable real estate).

Notice in the picture above that by using the QAT Guides to open the Arrange dropdown menu, all of the commands within the it are populated with letters to access them with your keyboard.

#4. Focus on commands that are 4 or 5 guides deep

The Alignment Tool is the perfect example of a command that you use all of the time but that doesn’t have a shortcut associated with it. On top of that, it’s buried 5 keystrokes deep into the Ribbon.

To see why I call this the Million Dollar PowerPoint shortcut and how to set it up, watch the video at the top of the page.

#5. Strategically arrange your QAT

If you really want to get the most out of your QAT, it’s best to think of it in two different sections of commands.

#1. The Keyboard section for common commands and features (like formatting options) you use all the time that do not require you to do anything with your mouse.

#2. The Mouse section for commands and features (like shapes and objects), that require you to draw them into your slide once you’ve selected them.

In the next article, you will learn an important distinction to make when using the Alignment Tool in PowerPoint, and I’ll explain why it will mess you up if you aren’t sure how this works.


When you first learn how to properly use the QAT it’s easy to get overzealous and load it up with too many commands and features without first thinking through.

Keeping in mind the five strategy points above will help you add the right commands to your QAT in the correct order, to help you save the most amount of time working in PowerPoint.

To download my own personalized QAT and get practice using it to build real-world slides for the investment banking and consulting fields, simply join my PowerPoint Crash Course.

In the next article, I’ll explain the two critical options you have when aligning and distributing objects in PowerPoint.

Up Next …

In the next lesson I’ll show you when to use Align to Slide vs. Align to Objects

By Taylor Croonquist
I’ve had millions of dollars of funding riding on PowerPoint pitch books and proposals that needed to be perfect, and I was sick of working on them until 3AM in the morning only to have a boss or client decide to change 90% of it when they reviewed it the next morning. So I geeked out on PowerPoint: I joined groups, bought books, went to conferences and worked backwards through everything I thought I knew. I took the most time intensive tasks that waste your time and figured out how to get PowerPoint to do them for you. After more than a decade of pursuing PowerPoint proficiency, I’m excited to teach it to you!
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Jonathan Jackson
November 28, 2021 11:34 am

For people unfamiliar, QAT means Quick Access Toolbar.

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