Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
The Ribbon is the primary UI component in Excel. Replacing the traditional menu and most toolbars common
in previous versions, its introduction in Excel 2007 was a significant departure from the interfaces of most
Windows-based applications.
Microsoft felt that the commands contained in the old menu and toolbar system were becoming so numerous
that a new paradigm was necessary. One of the main goals for developing the Ribbon was to provide the user
with a single place to look for a particular feature. Every commonly used command available in Excel would be
contained in the Ribbon (or in a dialog box or task pane accessed via the Ribbon). Although Microsoft suc-
ceeded in putting most of the available commands on the Ribbon, it's still a pretty big place.
When introduced in Office 2007, the Ribbon received mixed reviews. Some people hated it, and others loved it.
For some, the hatred was so severe that they sought Excel 2007 add-ins that restored the old menus. Others set
up online petitions, asking Microsoft to restore the old menus for Office. Fact is, the Ribbon is here to stay.
After you get used to the Ribbon, it really is easier to use than the convoluted menu system that it replaced.
A few commands failed to make the cut and do not appear on the Ribbon, but they are
still available if you know where to look for them. Right-click the Quick Access toolbar
and choose Customize Quick Access Toolbar. Excel displays a dialog box with a list of
commands that you can add to your Quick Access toolbar. Some of these commands
aren't available elsewhere in the UI. You can also add new commands to the Ribbon:
Right-click the Ribbon and select Customize The Ribbon.
Tabs, groups, and tools
The Ribbon is a band of tools that stretches across the top of the Excel window. About the vertical size of three
of the old-style toolbars, the Ribbon sports a number of tabs, including Home, Insert, Page Layout, and others.
On each tab are groups that contain related tools. On the Home tab, for example, you find the Clipboard group,
the Font group, the Alignment group, and others.
Within the groups are tools, which are similar to the tools that existed on the old-style toolbars with one major
difference: their different sizes. Tools that you use most often are larger than less-frequently used tools. For ex-
ample, nearly one-half of the Clipboard group is consumed by the large Paste tool; the Cut, Copy, and Format
Painter tools are much smaller. Microsoft determined that the Paste tool is the most used tool and thus sized it
accordingly.
The Ribbon and all its components resize dynamically as you resize the Excel window horizontally. Smaller Ex-
cel windows collapse the tools on compressed tabs and groups, and maximized Excel windows on large monit-
ors show everything that's available. Even in a small window, all Ribbon commands remain available. You just
may need to click a few extra times to access them.
Figure 1-1 shows three sizes of the Ribbon when the Home tab is displayed, using an increasingly smaller hori-
zontal window size.
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