The Quick Access Toolbar in Windows 11 2024 (Complete How-To Guide)

The quick access toolbar is overlooked by most of the users in Windows 11. This is not good as the feature is subtle, practical, and easy to use. The best thing is that it is simple and can be customized to include buttons and options that can access favorite tools and manage the file explorer items quite easily. Learn how to show it, remove it or even fix it if it is not showing for you. We have your back!

If you are not a big fan of keyboard shortcuts or mostly rely on your mouse, this is quite an impressive tool in Microsoft Windows 11. With this, you can replace the ribbon thus providing more space on the screen and also saving a lot of time that is spent going through all the tabs and menus to access commands.

Where to find the Quick Access Toolbar in Windows 11

Where to find the Quick Access Toolbar in Windows 11

You can find this in the extreme left of the file explorer title bar. Just open this up and have a look.

Please don’t confuse this with the quick access location from its navigation pane.

Show and Customize Quick Access Toolbar With Your Buttons

We can configure this to have many options and commands that we want from File Explorer’s tab. Anything added shall be shown all the time no matter which tab is displayed on the ribbon we can click on the button to use the corresponding action from the toolbar easily. By default, it carries only two buttons and an arrow that opens the drop-down menu.

The “Customize Quick Access Toolbar” shows all default commands. You can see the checked commands while others are hidden. Clicking on commands from the list can check or uncheck it and selected options can be seen in the toolbar. It has the following 6 default commands available:

  1. Undo: Goes back to the last change made to the active window.
  2. Redo: Redoes the last undone action.
  3. Delete: It sends items to the recycle bin.
  4. Properties: This opens up files or folder property windows, enabled by default and first displayed on this.
  5. New Folder: It makes a new folder inactive file explorer window. This by default is the second option available.
  6. Rename: It is used to highlight the name of the selected option thus allowing us to replace it.

The best thing about this one is that we can add anything from the file explorers tab to this easily and have fast access to certain commands which are used regularly. As users need to make selections on different files on Windows we can use the select-all option to see how this works. You need to click right or press and hold the “select all” button from its ribbon to open a contextual menu. After this, you need to click on “Add to Quick Access Toolbar”.

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The button is added last to it. Moreover, you can click on this anytime to select the contents of your active File Explorer window immediately.

Use this method to add anything we want even a special button from certain tabs such as the “open settings” button from the “computer tab” available when you access this system.

Now, you can also open the “Recycle Bin” and click right or press and hold the “empty recycle bin” option. Once done, you need to click “Add to Quick Access Toolbar” and see the button attached to the toolbar immediately.

Do you need to switch between different views for your folders in File Explorer? Well, you don’t need to worry go ahead and add in the whole views gallery by clicking right or pressing and holding on it and then clicking on “Add gallery to Quick Access Toolbar”.

The best thing is that customization options are endless and whole sections of tabs can be added similarly. But this means more clicks to reach the button we want. If you wish to boost your productivity with it, we suggest you add certain commands you want.

Now, if the option to add command is greyed out, the corresponding button is added to it already.

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The button can be removed in two different ways; for the default set of commands mentioned earlier access the “Customize Quick Access Toolbar” menu and uncheck all the options, you wish to eliminate. Moreover, you can also remove any command you want by clicking right or pressing and holding on its icon in and then clicking the “Remove from Quick Access Toolbar” option.

We suggest you take your time and experiment on it, add and remove buttons unless and until the commands used are shown to make sense. Now you can add as many options as you want but they cannot be displayed on different lines. If there is no more option then this shall show a double arrow. To access the last buttons, click on them.

You can also maximize the File Explorer Window to get more space on its bar if you wish to fit in more options. A better way is to move this

Change the position of the quick-access toolbar

Well, it does not carry that much flexibility as to the position of this toolbar and you can only select one of two possible locations. As by default it is present in the top left corner this can be moved below the ribbon. You can use the down menu arrow on it and then select “show below ribbon”.

As an alternate, you can also click right or press and hold any button on the ribbon or toolbar to access the “Show Quick Access Toolbar below the Ribbon” button.

The new position places it under the ribbon on the left side of the window thus providing more room for the buttons. The lower position however makes sense if you are using the mouse and wish to bar close to files to minimize the movement needed between clicks.

Now, if you wish to place it above the ribbon, you can configure it to display in its original position similarly. In one way, you can open the “Customize Quick Access Toolbar” menu and then hit “Show above the Ribbon”. As an alternate, you can click right or press and hold any button there from the toolbar or the ribbon in order to “show the Quick Access Toolbar above the Ribbon”.

FEATURED: Fix Windows 11 Snipping Tool Not Working.

Quick Access Toolbar Not Showing in Windows 11 (Reliable Fix)

Quick Access Toolbar Not Showing Windows 11

Now, using this might make the File Explorer’s ribbon obsolete therefore you might wish to get rid of it as it takes a lot of space. This can be done from the “Customize Quick Access Toolbar” menu. Just click the arrow on it followed by “Minimize the Ribbon”.

As an alternate in the last chapter, you may have noticed one thing this option is available there in the right-click menu of buttons on both ribbon and quick access toolbar.

The ribbon recedes in itself thus making room which is handy if you are working on a laptop or tablet despite the big screen.

Do not worry about completely losing the ribbon while it is minimized as still, you shall be able to access it. When you click the tab name the ribbon extends showing its options in File Explorer. However, if you click on the option you wish to use then the tab is once again minimized. Still, if you are not attracted to this and want the ribbon interface to be open you need to follow the steps mentioned in this chapter to have access to either menu. Once done, click the “Minimize the Ribbon” option to uncheck it and maximize the option.

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How To Delete Your Quick Access History in File Explorer

Delete Quick Access History

  1. Open “control panel”.
  2. As this opens, you need to look for a small drop list at the top right corner by the name “View By”. Select small icons from here. You need to find and click on “File Explorer Options” from the options listed below.
  3. A new window by the name “File Explorer Options” opens. Under the Privacy section, you shall see two checkboxes corresponding to options “show recently used files” and “Show frequently used folders”. After this, you need to uncheck both of these. As you are done, click “apply” at the bottom.
  4. Once done, check both the boxes and click the “apply” option.

You might want to remove certain files or folders from quick access history. In such a case you need to launch File Explorer and remove an item from the history. You need to click on the file you wish to remove and then hit the option “remove from quick access” and you are done.

ALSO CHECK: Disable Hibernation in Windows 11 via CMD or File.


The Quick Access Toolbar is a lifesaver and productivity hack every PC or Laptop user has. It makes it much quicker to access files and makes you do your work faster and also keeps track of your recently access files. However, because of the complexity and hidden nature of this feature, we have created a full guide and also showed how to fix the Quick Access Toolbar if it is not showing.

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Lee White
Lee is currently a full-time writer at DekiSoft that is eager to discover new and exciting advancements in Technology, Software, Linux and Cyber Security. Lee has spent the past 18 years working as an Systems Engineer providing support for various operating systems and networks. When not at his desk or writing, you will find him tinkering with retro tech.

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