Putting Style buttons on Word's Quick Access Toolbar

You can quickly apply some Word styles from the Quick Access Toolbar we’ll show how to add the classic Style menu, buttons for Headings and Normal style.  And we’ll explain a better alternative.

The Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) can have a more useful Style menu than the one Microsoft puts on the ribbon.  It’s the menu we always have on our QAT.

Heading styles and Normal style can get buttons on the QAT.

Any other style can also get a QAT button with a bit of extra work.

Finally, we’ll explain why we don’t bother with style buttons on the QAT and the faster alternative.

Style Menu

We much prefer the older Style menu over the fancy Style gallery for the simple reason that ‘classic’ style menu shows the style used for the current selection.

Microsoft’s ‘great for demonstrations’ Style Gallery on the ribbon only lets you select a style. You can’t see ‘at a glance’ what style is currently used unless it happens to be one of the few in the currently displayed row.

Happily the classic Style menu is available on the Quick Access Toolbar.  UNhappily, it’s hidden among other command choices with the same or similar names!

Go to Quick Access Toolbar customization and choose either ‘All Commands’ or ‘Commands not in the ribbon’.  Scroll down to the Style section and you’ll find many entries, enough to confuse anyone.

The trick is to hover the mouse over a command and look at the tooltip.  In this case you want ‘StyleGalleryClassic’.

Click Add to copy the command to your Quick Access Toolbar (either the global QAT or for that document/template).  Make a custom Quick Access Toolbar for special documents in Word

Apply Heading Styles

There are in-built commands to apply some heading styles directly. Frankly they are of limited use and we’re almost embarrassed to mention them.  We’ll explain why in a moment

Under ‘All Commands’ or ‘Commands not on the ribbon’ look for Apply Heading 1, Apply Heading 2 and Apply Heading 3 and click add to your QAT.

Why bother?

As we said, these Heading buttons are quite lame.  We’ve mentioned them for the sake of completeness not because they are much practical use.  Why?

The top three Heading styles have in-built keyboard shortcuts.   Ctrl + Alt + 1, 2 or 3 for the Headings.

There are only buttons for the top three Heading styles, Heading 4 and below are forgotten.

All the ‘Apply …’ command have the same icon, so they look the same on the QAT.  Here’s the five Apply … style buttons … you have to take our word that’s what they are.  Hover with a mouse for a tooltip.  Without clear and obvious buttons, they are a waste of time and space.

Apply Normal Style

Similar to the Heading style buttons, the option for a Normal style button on the QAT is little use.

And you won’t find the command where you’d expect, near the other ‘Apply ….’ commands.

From Commands Not in the ribbon, scroll down to ‘Normal Style (StyleNormal)’

Normal Style command has the same icon as the Apply Headings commands so it’s as obvious on the QAT as the proverbial polar bear in a snowstorm.

Instead, use the Ctrl + Shift + N shortcut for Normal style or change to another Word style keyboard shortcut.

Apply other styles

What about other styles?  How can you add them to the Quick Access Toolbar?

The QAT customization doesn’t include a pull-down list of Styles.  You have to make your own command macro that applies the style then put that macro on the toolbar.

Making a macro has consequences.  You’ll have to convert the document to a macro-enabled .docm which might raise concerns with anyone you share the document with.

Open the VBA editor (enable the ribbon Developer tab) and add the code to the current document or template.

Here’s the simple code.  Change the SUB name and style name in the double-quotes for whatever style you want.

Sub ApplyHeading4()
    Selection.Style = ActiveDocument.Styles("Heading 4")
End Sub

Then go back to Customize Quick Access Toolbar and choose command from: Macros

Add the macro to the QAT just like any other command.

Better than the Quick Access Toolbar

Having explained all that, we don’t bother with QAT buttons for any style.  Only the classic Style menu menu is on our daily QAT.

Keyboard shortcuts are a faster way to apply Word styles.  Use the in-built shortcuts or add your own.

If QAT customization was better, with easily changeable icons and labels, maybe style buttons would be good.  For the moment, a series of icons all the same isn’t a lot of help.

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