Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Tab Talk
Figure 1–8. The traditional Excel Open file button
which would have done the same thing. Again, the commands on the menu bar were more or less
emulated by the toolbar buttons, giving users two ways of bringing about whatever it was they wanted
to do. (In fact, there were and are often more than two ways, because a welter of keyboard equivalents
for these commands were and are likewise available; but we’re confining our introduction to the
commands you’d actually be viewing onscreen).
Because this command structure remained in place for years in the Office programs, users learned
it and grew at home with it. But according to Microsoft’s own literature, there were problems. As new
command options proliferated across successive Excel releases, and as these were assigned their
places on the dr op-downs and/or toolbar buttons, the job of actually finding commands became rather
a burdensome task—in part because a lengthy array of additional toolbars also lay in waiting in the
backg r oun d, to be ushe r e d on scr e e n at the use r ’ s di scr e ti on .
And there was another problem, one I’ve encountered more than once in the course of my
instructional stints. Some newcomers to the older Office programs assumed, understandably, that the
menu bar commands—again, those topmost names such as File, Edit, View, etc., you see on the upper
tier—were merely captions describing the toolbar buttons nestled immediately below them. But they
ar e n ’ t. An d so Mi cr osoft de ci de d that a r e thi n k was i n or de r .
Tab Talk
The result was embodied in a new interface that first made itself known to users with release 2007,
an d wi th i t came a n e w v ocabul ar y : T abs, Ri bbon s, G r oups, an d the Qui ck Acce ss tool bar. Tabs are the
headings, eight by default, that hold down the upper part of the interface, and that bear a genetic
resemblance to the nine menu bar command headings topping the older interface. Indeed four Tab
names—File, Insert, Data, and View—reproduce four menu bar names, as shown in Figure 1–9:
Figure 1–9. The new-look tabs
And what do the tabs do? With the exception of the green-hued File, each tab, when clicked, sports a
collection of buttons that are more-or-less coordinated around a general spreadsheet objective (what
the buttons actually do will be detailed in the later chapters). The Home tab, for example, the one
whose con te n ts a r e a utoma ti ca l l y di spl a y e d whe n y ou e n te r Exce l , compr i se s a col l e cti on of button s
that in very large (but not exclusive) measure reprise buttons you’ll see on the old Standard and
Formatting toolbars in previous Excel releases. Buttons that help you change the appearance and
position of text and numbers, and that copy and paste data—all staples of those two earlier toolbars—
a ppe a r he r e .
Moreover, the contents of each tab are further organized into titled groups , clusters of buttons
which are even more closely themed, for example, the Font group within the Home tab is shown in
Figure 1–10:
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