red-fox-1006541_1280There are many things I point out to people attending my training classes to help them use Microsoft Project more efficiently. Usually, the first thing I’ll show students is how to adjust the Quick Access Toolbar. In this brief article I’ll show you three ways to update your toolbar to speed up your Project work.

First, however, exactly what is the Quick Access Toolbar? It allows a user to add the most frequently used buttons from the ribbon interface to the top left side of the screen for easy accessibility. This figure shows what the Quick Access Toolbar looks like:

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Now, let’s go to my suggested additions.

First, I recommend you add anything that you find yourself using daily or that you’re constantly searching for in the ribbon interface. During training classes I typically recommend adding the following:

Scroll to Task

This button lets a user select a task. Once you click the “Scroll to Task” button, the Gantt Chart will automatically scroll to the selected task, bringing it into view. However, this button is normally located in the Editing section of the task ribbon, making for a lot of clicks. Because I use this button all the time, it’s my number one item to add to the quick access toolbar. In fact, I rely on this button so much, I put it to the far right of the toolbar for even faster access.

Cleanup Cache

When using Project, you should clean out your cache from time to time. Unless you’ve done this a few times, you may have trouble remembering the process (File | Options | Save tab | Clean up Cache). Adding the button saves you the hassle.

Publish

It’s also important in Project to publish your updates once you’ve made significant changes, such as adjusting durations of assigning resources so that these changes are reflected within Project Web App. To encourage this behavior, make it easy by adding the Publish button to your Quick Access Toolbar. Also, I advise you to place this button next to the save button so that you get into the habit of clicking “Save,” waiting for the save to complete, then clicking “Publish.”

How to Modify the Quick Access Toolbar

Adding items is simple. Just right click on any button in the ribbon and select “Add to Quick Access Toolbar”:

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Or you can click on the Quick Access Toolbar drop down and select “More Commands…”

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From this menu you can select any command — even those not found in the ribbon, such as “Cleanup Cache.” (You’ll need to select “All commands” to find the Cleanup Cache button since it’s not listed in the “Popular Commands”).

Below you can see the modifications that I have made to my Quick Access Toolbar:

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There you have it, a simple technique for optimizing your every-day activities with your favorite project management software.

Got your own Quick Access Toolbar favorites? Tell us in the comments below.

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