How to get Excel 2003 Toolbars in Excel 2007 [productivity hack]



In our recent poll, I have asked you to tell me which buttons you have on the quick access toolbar?

Finnur, one of our readers has configured the Excel 2007 quick access toolbar to make it look like Excel 2003 toolbar. See it below,

Excel 2003 Toolbars in Excel 2007

I think this is a very cool way to max up your productivity, it takes 5 minutes to make your quick access bar look like Excel 2003 toolbar and you could save countless hours of “searching-for-that-command-in-ribbon” time.

All you need to do for this is,

  1. Right click on “quick access toolbar” and select “customize” option.
  2. Add the all the commands required to make the your quick access toolbar look like Excel 2003 toolbar
  3. That is all.

See this video to understand how I did this for my Excel 2007 quick access toolbar.

Check out the video on youtube if you are not able to see it here.

Also, see how m-b, another reader, has implemented it here.

And if you are still bummed with Ribbon, check out our free excel ribbon learning guide.


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20 Responses to “How to get Excel 2003 Toolbars in Excel 2007 [productivity hack]”

  1. Jon Peltier says:

    My custom Excel 2003 toolbars have 108 controls showing all the time, with room to squeeze the Pivot Table or Formula Auditing toolbar up with the rest. That's in three rows.
    The QAT has but a single row, so it maxes out at around 45 or so buttons. You can add more, but then you'll have to scroll the QAT to see them all.
    The QAT is a lame excuse for a toolbar. The approach described in this past is good as far as it goes, but to me it merely underscores the severe UI limitations imposed by Office 2007.

  2. Andrew says:

    That's a lot of buttons Jon 🙂

    One good thing about the QAT is that you can copy it to different computers and people. The paths to find your qat files are here (replace "Andrew" with your user name).

    C:\Documents and Settings\Andrew\Local Settings\Application Data\Microsoft\Office\Excel.qat


    Windows 7
    Don't know yet... anybody?

    You can do the same for Word and PowerPoint, perhaps other Office apps but I've not tried looking.

  3. Jon Peltier says:

    Andrew -
    Windows 7 should be the same path as Vista.
    I know it's a lot of buttons, but it should be my choice, right? Nobody in Redmond has any idea how I work, so they should let me customize my own environment.
    And my toolbars are portable. I only need to bring my personal macro add-in with me, and I can store it where I want, not where Microsoft dictates and where an overzealous IT department might restrict my access.

  4. Jeff Weir says:

    I've solved this problem...I've memorised every keyboard shortcut there is.

    Unfortunately this has taken up so much room in my limited memory taht i've forgortted haw two spell properrly

  5. Andrew says:

    Jon, I agree with what you say on choice. I made toolbars that I wanted to be visible all the time. I can still use them by clicking the Add-Ins tab, the problem is I select other tabs too so it's more clicking back and forth and that can be tedious.

    Now I use a modeless userform instead but it does not look the same. Toolbars were better. There, I've said it 🙂

  6. Andrew says:

    Jeff, ewe two huh? 🙂

  7. Chandoo says:

    @Andrew, that is a beautiful tip, I didnt know the QAT was portable. Btw, the path is same in Windows 7.

    @Jeff... Select your memory and press ALT+HEA I am sure it is meant for storing much more valuable things (like my blog url and may be few sepllings 😛 )

    @Jon, despite various user comments on this blog and several other excel websites (and forums) on web, MS somehow has been very keen on the ribbon UI. So much so that they are recommending it to commercial app developers using .NET framework (and WPF). I guess there is no turning back ?!?

    May be they will make the QAT (or something else) much more robust so that power users can feel at home.

  8. Richard says:

    I find the following software of the Swiss UBit very useful to get started with Office 2007 and have a smooth transition from Office 2003. I regularly use it to add commands which I'm unable to quickly find in the Quick Ribbon to the QAT.

  9. Richard says:

    Additional explanations: The software is called UBitMenu and installs the Office 2003 toolbar as an additional Menu. The hyperlink to their website is under my name.

  10. sam says:


    Thats close to 126 controls in the 3 rows + 1 row of menus in 2007
    Many of them(around 40) are split buttons so each button does more.

    No tear away pallets...but its better than the Ribbon for sure.

    Downloadable form Codematic.net

  11. Finnur says:

    It is an honour to be mentioned in your blog, mr. Chandoo. This is my favorite blog, by far.

  12. Ninad Pradhan says:

    Try this http://www.ubit.ch/software/ubitmenu-languages/ . It's free (Personal use) and extremely useful when in dire straits. Also http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/excel/HA101491511033.aspx gives an interactive solution.


  13. Christine says:

    I wish there was something like this for the other programs, like Word etc.


  14. Kelly says:

    An Office add-in of Classic Menu for Office 2007 is able to bring back the old toolbars and menus into the Ribbon. This add-ins is released by Addintools.com, and it is very useful and easy-to-use.

  15. Pankaj says:

    Dear Chnadoo,

    There is one option in the ribbon "Look like" in excel 2007 which on being clicked shows the 2003 UI .Could you please let me know if that can be customized through file->options( i didnt see any customization) or do we need to install compatability pack 2007 , so as to see that options .The reason of asking this is that i have 2 system, in both excel 2007 is installed , but in one system i could see "look like " option in ribbon but in another i do not see it


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