Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Maximizing Ribbon Efficiency
Maximizing Ribbon Efficiency
Beginning with Excel 2007, Microsoft made some very significant changes to the user interface in
its Office products. Since the beginning of time, all Windows programs have had a similar user
interface that consists of menus and toolbars. The Office 2007 designers went out on a limb and
came up with a radically different user interface: the Ribbon.
The words along the top (Home, Insert, and Page Layout, for example) are known as tabs . Click a
tab, and the Ribbon changes to display a new set of commands, arranged in groups. (For
example, the Home tab has groups labeled Clipboard, Font, Alignment, and more.)
Using the Ribbon is straightforward enough. Somewhat ironically, new users will adapt much
more quickly to the Ribbon than experienced users will. Long-time Excel users will spend a
considerable amount of time scratching their heads and trying to figure out where their favorite
commands now live.
The following tips help you get the most out of the Ribbon user interface:
h Don’t be afraid to click on the stuff you find on the Ribbon. This advice applies especially
if you’re an experienced user who is trying to adapt to the new user interface. You can
undo just about everything you do by clicking Undo (located on the Quick Access
toolbar, which is on the left side of the Excel title bar by default). Or, use the Ctrl+Z shortcut
key to undo your work.
h To get more screen real estate, enter Hide the Ribbon mode. You can hide the Ribbon by
double-clicking any of the tabs. When you need to access a command, just click the tab,
and the Ribbon comes back to life. The Ribbon disappears again when you finish. To
leave this mode and return to normal, just double-click a tab. You can also enable and
disable Hide the Ribbon mode by pressing Ctrl+F1 or clicking the icon next to the Help
icon, to the right of the tabs.
h Access the Ribbon from the keyboard. Although the Ribbon appears to be mouse-centric,
it’s quite functional from the keyboard. See Tip 13 for some keyboard access tips.
h Note that the appearance of the commands on the Ribbon varies, depending on the
width of the Excel window. When the window is too narrow to display the entire Ribbon,
the commands adapt and may seem to be missing. But the commands are still available.
Figure 2-1 shows the Home tab of the Ribbon when the Excel window is at three different
widths. In the first view, all controls are fully visible. When the Excel window is made
narrower, some descriptive text disappears, but the icons remain. When the window is made
very narrow, some groups display a single icon. However, if you click the icon, all the
group commands are available to you.
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