Where is Toolbar Customization Information Stored in Excel?


Toolbar customization is a crucial aspect of using Microsoft Excel efficiently. The ability to customize toolbars allows users to tailor the Excel interface according to their specific needs, making their tasks faster and more convenient. However, have you ever wondered where this customization information is stored? In this blog post, we will explore where Excel stores toolbar customization information and provide an overview of the topic.

Key Takeaways

  • Toolbar customization is vital for using Microsoft Excel efficiently and tailoring the interface to specific needs.
  • Excel versions before 2010 stored toolbar customization information using specific file formats and storage locations.
  • Excel 2010 and later versions introduced XML-based customization methods and different storage locations.
  • Understanding where toolbar customization information is stored allows for easy backup, troubleshooting, and resolution of customization issues.
  • Windows and Mac operating systems have different storage locations for toolbar customization.

Toolbar Customization in Excel Versions Before 2010

In older versions of Microsoft Excel, toolbar customization allowed users to personalize their workspace by adding, removing, or rearranging commands on the toolbar. This feature was particularly useful for users who frequently used specific functions or macros and wanted quick access to them.

Explanation of toolbar customization in Excel versions before 2010

Toolbar customization in Excel versions before 2010 enabled users to modify the appearance and functionality of the toolbar. By right-clicking on the toolbar and selecting the "Customize" option, users could access a dialog box where they could make changes to the toolbar.

Within the "Customize" dialog box, users had the option to add new buttons, remove existing buttons, move buttons to different locations on the toolbar, and even create their own custom toolbar. These modifications allowed users to tailor Excel's interface to their specific needs and work more efficiently.

Introduction to the toolbar customization file formats used

In Excel versions before 2010, toolbar customization information was stored in files with specific formats. These files contained the settings and preferences related to toolbar customization, allowing users to save and share their personalized toolbar configurations.

The two primary file formats used for toolbar customization in Excel versions before 2010 were:

  • Excel 97-2003 Toolbar (".xlb"): This file format was used in Excel 97, 2000, 2002 (XP), and 2003. It stored toolbar customization information in a binary format and could be easily imported or exported.
  • Workspace (".xlw"): The workspace file format was utilized in Excel 2000, 2002 (XP), and 2003. It not only stored toolbar customization information but also saved information about open workbooks, window positions, and other workspace-related settings.

Discussing the storage location of toolbar customization information

In older versions of Excel, toolbar customization information was stored in specific file locations, depending on the operating system and Excel version being used.

  • Windows XP: The toolbar customization files were typically located in the following directory: C:\Documents and Settings\[username][username]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Excel. Again, the files might have ".xlb" or ".xlw" extensions.

It's worth mentioning that these file locations might vary based on the specific configuration of a user's computer and any customizations they have made. Additionally, if Excel was installed on a network drive, the toolbar customization files might be located in a different location.

Overall, understanding where toolbar customization information was stored in Excel versions before 2010 is essential for retrieving, sharing, or backing up personalized toolbar configurations. By locating and managing these files, users could ensure a consistent and efficient workspace setup across different systems.

Toolbar Customization in Excel 2010 and later versions

Excel, a widely used spreadsheet program developed by Microsoft, offers various customization options to its users. One of the key areas of customization is the toolbar, which allows users to access commonly used functions and commands with ease. In Excel 2010 and later versions, there have been significant changes in toolbar customization options, including the introduction of new XML-based customization methods and a different storage location for toolbar customization information.

Changes in toolbar customization options in Excel 2010 onwards

Prior to Excel 2010, users could customize the toolbar by right-clicking on it and choosing "Customize Quick Access Toolbar". This would open a dialog box where users could add or remove commands from the toolbar. However, in Excel 2010 onwards, Microsoft made changes to the customization options.

Instead of using a dialog box, Excel introduced a more streamlined and flexible customization interface. Users can now click on the drop-down arrow at the end of the toolbar and select "More Commands" to access the customization options. This brings up the "Excel Options" dialog box, where users can add or remove commands, as well as adjust the order of commands on the toolbar.

Introduction to the new XML-based customization methods

With the introduction of Excel 2010, Microsoft also introduced a new XML-based customization method for toolbars. This XML-based customization method allows users to define their own custom toolbars with specific commands and options tailored to their needs.

In the XML-based customization method, users can create a custom UI file in XML format that specifies the desired toolbar layout and commands. This file can then be loaded into Excel to apply the customized toolbar. This allows users to have more control over their toolbar customization and create personalized toolbars that align with their workflow.

Storage location of toolbar customization information in newer versions

In older versions of Excel, toolbar customization information was stored in the Windows registry. However, starting from Excel 2010, the storage location for toolbar customization information has changed.

In newer versions of Excel, toolbar customization information is stored in a file called "ExcelCustomUI.xml". This file is located in a specific folder on the user's computer. The exact location of this folder varies depending on the operating system and Excel version.

On Windows, the default location for the "ExcelCustomUI.xml" file is:

  • Excel 2010: C:\Users\[Username][Username][Username][Username]/Library/Group Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/User Content/Custom Office Templates/Excel/ExcelCustomUI.xml

It is worth noting that these default locations can be changed by the user or by group policies, so the actual location of the "ExcelCustomUI.xml" file may vary.

Benefits of Knowing Toolbar Customization Information Storage

Understanding where toolbar customization information is stored in Excel can provide several benefits, including:

Importance of Understanding Where Toolbar Customization Information is Stored

Knowing the location of toolbar customization information is essential for various reasons:

  • Efficient customization: By understanding where this information is stored, Excel users can easily customize their toolbar to enhance their workflow and increase productivity.
  • Ensuring consistency: When working on multiple computers or collaborating with others, knowing where toolbar customization information is stored allows users to maintain consistent settings across different installations of Excel.
  • Transition between versions: As Excel evolves and new versions are released, knowing where toolbar customization information is stored enables a smooth transition from one version to another, ensuring a seamless user experience.

Easy Access to Backup and Restore Toolbar Settings

Knowing the storage location of toolbar customization information facilitates the process of backup and restore, providing users with greater control over their personalized toolbar settings. Some benefits include:

  • Data protection: By regularly backing up toolbar customization information, users can safeguard their customizations from accidental deletion, system failures, or other unforeseen events.
  • Transferability: Backing up toolbar settings allows users to easily transfer their customizations to another computer or share them with colleagues, saving time and effort.
  • Restoration: In the event of a system crash or accidental deletion, knowing where toolbar customization information is stored enables users to restore their personalized settings quickly and efficiently, minimizing disruptions to their workflow.

Troubleshooting and Resolving Issues Related to Toolbar Customization

Understanding the storage location of toolbar customization information is vital for troubleshooting and resolving issues that may arise. Some advantages include:

  • Identification of conflicts: Knowing where this information is stored helps identify conflicts between different customizations or third-party software, allowing users to resolve conflicts and restore the toolbar's functionality.
  • Recovery from corruption: If the toolbar customization information becomes corrupted, having knowledge of its storage location enables users to repair or recreate the necessary files, restoring the toolbar to its intended state.
  • Efficient support: When seeking technical support for toolbar-related issues, understanding the storage location allows users to provide accurate information to support personnel, enabling faster and more effective assistance.

Different Storage Locations in Windows and Mac Operating Systems

When customizing the toolbar in Microsoft Excel, it is useful to know where the customization information is stored. The location of this information differs depending on whether you are using the Windows or Mac operating system. In this chapter, we will explore the storage locations in both operating systems and highlight the differences between them.

Discussing the storage locations in Windows OS

In Windows, the toolbar customization information in Excel is stored in the Windows Registry. The Windows Registry is a centralized database that contains configuration settings and preferences for various applications and system components. When you customize the toolbar in Excel, the changes are saved in the Registry under a specific key related to Excel.

The exact location of the toolbar customization information in the Windows Registry may vary depending on the version of Excel and the specific user account. Typically, it can be found under the following Registry path:

  • HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\Excel\Addins

This key contains subkeys and values that store information about various Excel add-ins, including the toolbar customization details. By accessing this location in the Windows Registry, you can view or modify the toolbar customization settings.

Highlighting the storage locations in Mac OS

In Mac OS, the storage location for toolbar customization information in Excel is different from that in Windows. Mac OS follows a file-based approach for storing application preferences, including toolbar customizations.

The toolbar customization information in Excel for Mac is stored in a property list (.plist) file. A property list file is a structured XML file that contains key-value pairs for various application settings and preferences. In the case of Excel, the toolbar customization details are stored in a .plist file specific to Excel.

The exact location of the .plist file for Excel toolbar customization may vary depending on the version of Excel and the user account. Generally, it can be found in the following path:

  • ~/Library/Preferences/com.microsoft.Excel.plist

By navigating to this location, you can access the .plist file and examine or modify the toolbar customization settings in Excel for Mac.

Differences between the two operating systems in terms of toolbar customization storage

The storage locations for toolbar customization information in Excel differ between the Windows and Mac operating systems. Windows utilizes the centralized Windows Registry, while Mac OS adopts a file-based approach using property list files.

While the underlying storage mechanisms may differ, both Windows and Mac OS offer ways to access and modify the toolbar customization settings in Excel. It is important to note the specific locations mentioned may vary depending on the version of Excel and the user account, so it is recommended to consult the relevant documentation or resources for accurate information.

Accessing and Modifying Toolbar Customization Information

Toolbar customization in Excel allows users to personalize their toolbar by adding or rearranging buttons and commands. This customization information is stored in specific files within the Excel application. In this chapter, we will explore how to access, understand, and modify toolbar customization information in Excel.

Providing steps to access the toolbar customization files

Accessing the toolbar customization files in Excel is a straightforward process. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Open Excel and click on the "File" tab located at the top-left corner of the application.
  • From the drop-down menu, select "Options."
  • A new window will appear. Click on the "Customize Ribbon" option on the left-hand side.
  • At the bottom of the window, you will find a button labeled "Import/Export." Click on it.
  • Choose the "Export all customizations" option.
  • Save the exported file to a location of your choice. This file contains the toolbar customization information.

Understanding the structure and content of the files

Once you export the toolbar customization file, it is essential to understand its structure and content before making any modifications. These files are typically in XML format and can be opened using a text editor, such as Notepad. The XML structure consists of various elements and attributes that define the customized toolbar.

Take note of the following aspects when examining the content of the file:

  • The CustomUI element contains the entire toolbar customization information.
  • Within the CustomUI element, there are ribbon elements that represent different sections of the toolbar, such as the main ribbon or contextual ribbons.
  • Each ribbon element contains tabs that represent the individual tabs on the toolbar.
  • The tabs element, in turn, contains groups that group related commands together.
  • Commands are represented by button elements within the groups.

Demonstrating how to modify or delete toolbar customization information

Modifying or deleting toolbar customization information requires careful attention to detail. Here's how you can make changes to the toolbar customization file:

  • Open the exported toolbar customization file in a text editor. Make sure to create a backup copy of the original file before making any modifications.
  • To add a new button or command, locate the appropriate group element and add a new button element within it. Assign the required attributes such as label, imageMso, and onAction to define the button's appearance and functionality.
  • To remove a button or command, simply delete the corresponding button element.
  • Save the modified file and import it back into Excel by following the steps mentioned earlier.

Remember to exercise caution when modifying the toolbar customization file, as any incorrect changes can lead to unexpected behavior in Excel. It is advisable to test the changes in a non-production environment before implementing them in a live setting.


In conclusion, understanding where toolbar customization information is stored in Excel is crucial for users who want to personalize their workspace and optimize their productivity. By having access to this information, users can easily customize their toolbars to suit their specific needs and preferences, creating a more efficient and personalized working environment. We encourage Excel users to explore and utilize these powerful customization capabilities, as they can greatly enhance the user experience and streamline daily tasks. Remember, the toolbar customization information is stored in the Excel application file, so feel free to experiment and modify it to tailor Excel to your unique requirements. Happy customizing!

Excel Dashboard

SAVE $698

    Immediate Download

    MAC & PC Compatible

    Free Email Support

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published

Related aticles