The Quick Access Toolbar (QAT), is a super fast way to access often-used features in PowerPoint, without navigating endless menus or switching tabs in the ribbon. Here at BrightCarbon we all have our favourite tools, and we’ve created a customised toolbar packed full of them that you can download and use for free. It’s been available for a while, but we often get requests to make it available for PowerPoint users on Mac. Well, things are a little more complicated for the Mac but we don’t back down from a challenge!

The video below explains how to customise your QAT for PowerPoint on a Mac. The customisation file is available to download at the end of this page. Not on a Mac? Hop on over to the Windows version.

As I mentioned above, things are a little different on Microsoft 365 for the Mac (PowerPoint 2016 or higher). There are three main differences:

  1. The QAT is automatically displayed above the ribbon and you can’t move it. This is a pity as the whole point of the QAT is to minimise mouse movement so you can get to the features you use most often in the shortest possible time.
  2. There is no built-in interface to export or import any QAT or ribbon customisation you might want to share or load. Don’t panic, we have a solution, read on…
  3. Some command controls (buttons, menus, galleries etc.) are not available on the Mac.

Since only Microsoft can address the first limitation, let’s deal quickly with the last one.

Not all of the command controls you can add to the QAT in PowerPoint for Windows can be added to a QAT in PowerPoint for Mac. This is either because the feature doesn’t exist on a Mac or the type of ‘control’ isn’t supported. For example, there is no animation motion path command on Mac and some text box entry controls aren’t supported, such as the animation delay control that’s in our QAT for a Windows PC.

Now all that gobbledygook is out of the way, how do we load a QAT customisation on Mac? You may know that if you open the QAT customisation dialog by clicking PowerPoint > Preferences > Ribbon & Toolbar > Quick Access Toolbar, there is no equivalent of the Import/Export feature available to Windows users. You can only reset it to the default using the gear icon:

screenshot of PowerPoint Mac QAT customisation

Back over on Windows PCs, there are actually two types of file that provide the QAT customisation experience. The first is a user-generated file ending with the extension .exportedUI and it’s this file that’s created when you export a customisation, and the one to use when importing the Windows customisation we’ve created for you. When importing a user interface (UI) customisation, this file overwrites the QAT (and ribbon) customisation file that PowerPoint loads each time it starts. This system-generated file has an app-specific .officeUI extension which in the case of PowerPoint is cunningly named PowerPoint.officeUI

You can create and maintain multiple files of the first type, enabling you to switch between several customisations for different projects and workflows.

You can only ever have one file of the second type and you’ll find both types on a Windows PC in the folder %UserProfile%\Documents which usually points to C:\Users\username\Documents

On a Mac, the first type (exportedUI) doesn’t exist, hence there is no support for the Import/Export feature. However, the second type (officeUI) does exist and you can manually replace the one for PowerPoint with our carefully-crafted QAT customisation file for Mac.

Warning: Don’t simply take the PowerPoint.officeUI file from a Windows PC and put it on your Mac as there are subtle differences in the internal XML encoding of the customisation which can cause PowerPoint Mac to ignore the customisation or even crash every time you start PowerPoint!

If you’ve never made any customisation changes to your QAT or ribbon, the PowerPoint.officeUI file won’t exist on your system and you’ll see the default Microsoft configuration with just five controls above your ribbon. These are AutoSave (for files saved on OneDrive or SharePoint), Home, Save, Undo and Repeat/Redo:

animated screenshot of the PowerPoint Mac default QAT

If you have made changes using the drop down arrow at the end of the QAT or in the PowerPoint Preferences window then the steps below will replace those customisations made to your PowerPoint ribbon and/or QAT. If needed, you can create a backup of your customisation file between steps 5 and 6.

  1. Download and unzip the PowerPoint.officeUI customisation file
  2. Quit PowerPoint
  3. Open Finder
  4. Click Go from the menu bar and select Go to Folder…
  5. Copy and Paste the following location, and then press the Go button:
    ~/Library/Containers/com.microsoft.Powerpoint/Data/Library/Preferences
  6. Move the PowerPoint.officeUI customisation file to this folder

You’re all done! You can now restart PowerPoint and use your shiny new Quick Access Toolbar.

Once you’ve followed the steps above, your QAT will look like this, with the best tools available at your fingertips (albeit above the ribbon), regardless of which tab is active:

Screenshot of PowerPoint Mac with the BrightCarbon QAT

Feel free to make it your own and customise it further by clicking PowerPoint in the OSX menu bar followed by Preferences / Ribbon & Toolbar and selecting the Quick Access Toolbar tab.

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Written by

Jamie Garroch

Senior technical consultant

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  1. Image of Gio Gio says:

    This was so unbelievably useful. It worked perfectly. Thank you for your detailed step by step.

    • Image of Jamie Garroch Jamie Garroch says:

      Thank you so much for the kind feedback Gio and I’m glad it’s proven useful for you.

  2. Image of Pauline le Rutte Pauline le Rutte says:

    Thank you so much for making the QAT available for Mac!

  3. Image of Alan Lomer Alan Lomer says:

    Great article Jamie. The differences between Mac and Windows versions are odd to say the least and I wish Microsoft would at least make the interface the same.

    One of the best features of the Quick Access Toolbar (on Windows) is the option ‘Show Below the Ribbon’ as this makes everything much quicker to actually get to. I have no idea why Microsoft didn’t include this option for Mac.

  4. Image of Antoinette Antoinette says:

    Great instructions and very easy to install for Mac. I appreciate it so much!

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