Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Exploring the ribbon
Understanding contextual tool sets
Microsoft has been dancing with context sensitivity for several releases now. In Office 2000,
Excel shipped with default “learning” menus and toolbars that modified themselves based
on usage patterns, which turned out to be somewhat unpopular because commands would
tend to “disappear” with lack of use. Some of this functionality carried through to Excel
2003, with a somewhat better implementation. Since the 2007 release, context sensitivity is
smarter and, best of all, does not take little-used items away like the previous approaches—
in fact, the ribbon and its normal contents remain steadfast, while additional
contexttriggered tools appear on ribbon tabs that are displayed only when needed. Figure 2-10
shows what happens when you click a chart object.
Figure 2-10 When you select an object, tabs appear containing tools that apply only to that
object. Here, two tabs of chart tools appear on the ribbon when you select a chart.
Not only do two new tabs appear on the ribbon in Figure 2-10—Design and Format—but
a higher-level heading, entitled Chart Tools, is displayed above the new tabs. Headings like
this appear over sets of contextually triggered tabs to define their overall function. Chart
objects are complex enough that clicking one triggers several tabs’ worth of contextual
tools; other objects might generate only one tab. This functionality helps reduce clutter in
the interface, taking groups of task-specific tools out of the way until you need them.