Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Figure 1-1: The Ribbon sizes dynamically, depending on the horizontal size of Excel's window.
Navigation
Using the Ribbon is fairly easy with a mouse. You click a tab and then click a tool. If you prefer to use the key-
board, Microsoft has a feature just for you. Pressing Alt displays tiny squares with shortcut letters in them that
hover over their respective tab or tool. Each shortcut letter that you press either executes its command or drills
down to another level of shortcut letters. Pressing Esc cancels the letters or moves up to the previous level.
For example, a keystroke sequence of Alt+HBB adds a double border to the bottom of the selection. The Alt
key activates the shortcut letters, the H shortcut activates the Home tab, the B shortcut activates the Borders tool
menu, and the second B shortcut executes the Bottom Double Border command. Note that you don't have to
keep the Alt key depressed while you press the other keys.
Contextual tabs
The Ribbon contains tabs that are visible only when they are needed. Generally, when a hidden tab appears, it's
because you selected an object or a range with special characteristics (like a chart or a pivot table). A typical ex-
ample is the Drawing Tools contextual tab. When you select a shape or WordArt object, the Drawing Tools tab
is made visible and active. It contains many tools that are applicable only to shapes, such as shape-formatting
tools.
Dialog box launchers
At the bottom of many of the Ribbon groups is a small box icon (a dialog box launcher) that opens a dialog box
related to that group. Some of the icons open the same dialog boxes but to different areas. For instance, the Font
group icon opens the Format Cells dialog box with the Font tab activated. The Alignment group opens the same
dialog box, but activates the Alignment tab. The Ribbon makes using dialog boxes a far less–frequent activity
than in the past because most of the commonly used operations can be done directly from the Ribbon.
Galleries and Live Preview
A gallery is a large collection of tools that look like the choice they represent. The Styles gallery, for example,
does not just list the name of the style but also displays it in the same formatting that will be applied to the cell.
Although galleries help to give you an idea of what your object will look like when an option is selected, Live
Preview takes it to the next level. Live Preview displays your object or data as it will look right on the work-
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