Wall Street Prep

QAT Shortcuts for Investment Bankers and Consultants

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QAT Shortcuts: The BEST Setup

In this article, I’ll share with you what I recommend every Investment Banker or Consultant who wants to be the most valuable asset on any project they work on put on their QAT.

If you are not sure what the QAT is, read about the QAT Guide shortcuts.

If you want to build up your shortcut muscle memory with real-world exercises, and download my own customized Quick Access Toolbar, it’s all in my PowerPoint Crash Course.

Below is a picture of my customized QAT and some short explanations of why I recommend each command on it.

Alt, 1 - Align Objects

The Align Objects command is what I call the Million Dollar PowerPoint Shortcut!

Why? Because it’s one of the commands that anyone who uses PowerPoint should be using absolutely all of the time.

The Alignment Tool allows you to quickly align and distribute your objects to ensure that everyone on your slide looks sharp, clean and professional when pitching new clients.

The last thing you want your client to think is that you are not a detailed-oriented person simply because you do not know how to properly align and distribute objects in PowerPoint.

Placing this VIP command in the first position of your QAT guarantees that it takes you almost no time at all to use it. No excuses!

If you missed my video on how to set up the Million Dollar PowerPoint Shortcut, see 5:27 in the video below.

Note: Make sure you understand the difference between the two alignment settings I discuss in my article called Align to Slide vs. Align Selected Objects.

Alt, 2 - Font Color

Changing your Font Color is one of the most repetitive tasks you will perform as you build and edit slides for your clients and bosses to make sure that your presentations are standardized and look professional.

Having it here on your QAT also gives you easy access to the Eyedropper command. That is why I recommend placing it in the second position of your QAT.

Alt, 3 - Shape Fill

Changing the Shape Fill of shapes, tables and charts is another common and repetitive task you’ll be forced to perform when building and editing your slides.

Having the Shape Fill dropdown menu on your QAT also gives you easy access to the Eyedropper, Gradient and Texture options. That is why I recommend putting it in the third position of your QAT.

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Alt, 4 - Shape Outline

In addition to the shape fill, you will also frequently need to change your objects’ Outline Color, Weight and/or style.

By adding the Shape Outline command, you can quickly get access to all its additional options, including the Dash options and the Arrow options (for adding and removing arrow heads to your lines).

The combination of the Font Color, Shape Fill and Shape Outline commands is my famous 2-3-4 Formatting Sequence that that I cover in-depth in my PowerPoint Crash Course.

Alt, 5 - More Options

The More Options command opens your Format Shape dialog box pictured above, giving you easy access to your shape’s autofit and interior margin options.

Trust me when I say that you’ll use this command way more than you think you will and it’s a lifesaver when you make it easy to access in your QAT.

The More Options command does not exist in the Ribbon, but you can add it in the Customize Quick Access Toolbar options that I discuss in my article on QAT Guide Shortcuts.

Alt, 6 - Arrange

Adding the Arrange dropdown menu to your QAT is a great example of thinking strategically about what you place on your QAT, as I discussed in my article on 5 Strategies to Maximize your QAT.

This not only gives you access to the Bring to Front and Send to Back commands, it also gives you easy access to the Rotate options too.

To see why I like to using the Bring to Front and Send to Back commands instead of the Bring Forward and Send Backward command, read my article on Shortcuts to Quickly Send Backward and Bring Forward in PowerPoint.

Alt, 7 - Font Size

Putting the Font Size input box on your QAT makes it easy to see what font size you’re working with, regardless of where you’ve navigated to your PowerPoint ribbon.

While you can see the Font Size on the Home tab in your Ribbon, you lose it as soon as you dig into any of your other Ribbon tabs. Because having consistent font sizes is important to standardizing your presentation, that’s why I have it as Alt, 7 on my QAT.

Alt, 8 - Collapse All (Sections)

Sections are a great way to organize slides in large pitch books.

Having the Collapse All command on your QAT allows you to quickly collapse all the sections within a presentation so that you can see all the chunks you have, and even rearrange them if needed.

Alt, 9 - Expand All (Sections)

The opposite of the Collapse All sections command is the Expand All sections command. As its name indicates, this command allows you to open all your sections in a flash, letting you see all the slides in your presentation.

Alt, 09 - Draw Rectangle

Rectangles are some of the most common objects you will be adding to your PowerPoint slides if you are an Investment Banker or a Consultant. That’s why I’ve included it on my QAT so I can quickly grab a rectangle at any time and draw it onto my slide.

Alt, 08 - Draw Line

Lines are other common objects you will be adding to your presentations, especially if you are building hierarchies and flow processes. That’s why I include the line object class on my QAT, so I can quickly grab and add lines to my presentations.

Alt, 07 - Draw Text Box

You’ll also use text boxes day in and day out when building PowerPoint presentations. Just like having the rectangle and line object classes close at hand, I find it extremely useful to have the text box on my QAT so I can quickly add one without having to dig through my Ribbon.

Alt, 06 - Draw Shapes (dropdown menu)

In addition to rectangles, lines and text boxes, I also recommend including the Shapes dropdown menu to your QAT.

This allows you to quickly access any PowerPoint shape that you want to add to your slide directly from your QAT without having to crawl your way through the Insert tab.

You will probably use this less frequently, but it’s still useful to have here for when you need it.

Alt, 05 - Merge Shapes

The Merge Shapes dropdown menu is a new feature that was added to PowerPoint 2013 – and it’s incredibly handy!

Using these commands inside it, you can create unique objects in PowerPoint with the Union, Combine, Fragment, Intersect and Subtract options.

To be able to use these features, you do need to select two or more objects, otherwise they will remain greyed out.

While you will not be using the Merge Shapes tools every single day in PowerPoint, it’s something you’ll do frequently enough that having it on your QAT makes a lot of sense. Also, accessing it regularly through the Ribbon is neither fast nor easy, since it depends on a contextual tab (Shape Format).

Alt, 04 - Draw Border (Tables)

Tables in PowerPoint are one of the most difficult object classes as they behave differently than all of the others.

For example, you cannot directly format a cell’s outline. Instead, it’s a two-step process where you (1) set up all of the formatting you want for your cell and then (2) apply that formatting to your cell.

The Draw Border dropdown menu gives you access to all the table formatting options that you need to set up before you actually apply them to your tables.

Alt, 03 - Apply Border (Tables)

After determining the formatting styles you want for your table borders (see the previous section), then you need to apply them to your table.

That’s exactly what the Apply Border dropdown menu allows you to do conveniently from your QAT instead of having to dig through the PowerPoint Ribbon to find it.

As an Investment Banker or consultant, you will be frequently adding tables to your pitch books and presentations. That’s why I recommend having the Draw Border and Apply Border dropdown menus on your QAT.

Conclusion

So those are the commands I recommend adding to your Quick Access Toolbar, and the exact order in which I recommend adding them (especially if you’re an Investment Banker or Consultant).

If you missed my article on how your QAT shortcuts work, read my article on QAT Guide Shortcuts.

If you are interested in downloading and installing the exact Quick Access Toolbar that I use, and also get real-world experience using it to build your slides as fast as humanly possible, then I recommend joining my PowerPoint Crash Course.

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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