How to Manage the Excel Ribbon: 4 Key Tips You Should Know
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The Microsoft Excel ribbon was introduced in Office 2007, The ability to customize the ribbon arrived in Office 2010.

You can hide and show the ribbon, add commands to the tabs on the ribbon, and even create your own tabs. Read on to learn how.

What Is the Excel Ribbon?

The Excel ribbon is the strip of icons above the worksheet area. It looks like a complex toolbar, which it essentially is. It replaces the menus and toolbars found in Excel 2003 and earlier.

Above the ribbon are tabs, like Home, Insert, and Page Layout. Clicking a tab activates that “toolbar” containing groups of icons for various commands. For example, when Excel opens, the Home tab displays with common commands grouped by function, like Clipboard tools and Font formatting.

Microsoft Excel ribbon

Some buttons open a menu with additional options. For example, the bottom half of the Paste button in the Clipboard group, opens a menu with additional pasting options.

Paste Special option on the Home tab on the Excel ribbon

Each group has a button in the lower-right corner of the group that opens a dialog box containing additional options related to that group. For example, the dialog box button on the Font group opens the Font Settings dialog box.

Group dialog box button on the Home tab on the Excel ribbon

1. How to Hide and Show the Ribbon in Excel

You can hide and show the Excel ribbon (also called collapsing the ribbon) to maximize the space available for your worksheet. This is especially useful if you have a laptop with a small screen.

Hide the Excel Ribbon

To hide the ribbon, click the up arrow button on the lower-right corner of the ribbon.

You can also double-click one of the tabs on the ribbon or press Ctrl + F1 to hide the ribbon.

Collapse the ribbon using the up arrow button on the right side of the Excel ribbon

Another way to collapse or hide the ribbon is to right-click on the ribbon and select Collapse the Ribbon. A check mark next to the Collapse the Ribbon option indicates the ribbon collapses when you’re not using it.

Collapse the Ribbon option on Excel ribbon right-click menu

When the ribbon is hidden, only the tabs are visible.

Click a tab to temporarily show the ribbon. Once you click on a button or command on a tab, the ribbon is hidden again.

Collapsed Excel ribbon with tabs showing

Show the Excel Ribbon

To permanently show the ribbon again, double-click a tab or press Ctrl + F1 again.

You can also click a tab to temporarily show the ribbon. Then, click the thumbtack icon in the lower-right corner of the ribbon.

Another way to permanently show the ribbon is to right-click on the tab bar and select Collapse the Ribbon again to uncheck the option.

Pin the Excel ribbon so it permanently shows

Automatically Hide the Ribbon

If you’re short on screen space, you can automatically hide the entire ribbon, including the tabs.

To automatically hide the ribbon and the tabs, click the Ribbon Display Options button in the upper-right corner of the Excel window and select Auto-hide Ribbon.

The Show Tabs option hides the ribbons but shows the tabs.

To show the tabs and the ribbon again, select Show Tabs and Commands.

Ribbon Display Options menu on the Excel ribbon

To show the ribbon when it’s automatically hidden, move your mouse to the top of the Excel window until you see a green bar and click on the bar.

Excel ribbon automatically hidden

The ribbon drops down over the worksheet. Click a tab and then click on a command.

The ribbon automatically hides again.

Again, to permanently show the ribbon and the tabs, select Show Tabs and Commands from the Ribbon Display Options button.

Excel ribbon dropped down over worksheet

2. What to Do If the Excel Ribbon Is Missing

If your Excel ribbon disappears, it’s most likely just hidden.

You can unhide the ribbon in Excel as described in the Show the Excel Ribbon section above if you only see the tab names.

If your worksheet takes up the whole screen and you don’t see the ribbon or the tabs, the ribbon is in Auto-hide mode. See the Automatically Hide the Ribbon section above to learn how to get the ribbon back.

3. Customizing the Excel Ribbon

Microsoft added the ability to customize the ribbon in Excel 2010. You can do things like:

  • Rename and reorder tabs and groups on tabs
  • Hide tabs
  • Add and remove groups on existing tabs
  • Add custom tabs and groups containing commands you want easy access to

But you can’t make changes to the default commands, like changing their names or icons, removing default commands, or changing the order of the default commands.

To customize the ribbon, right-click on the ribbon and select Customize the Ribbon. You can also go to File > Options > Customize Ribbon.

Select Customize the Ribbon on the Excel ribbon right-click menu

Add a New Group to a Tab on the Ribbon

All commands on the ribbon must be in a group. To add commands to an existing, built-in tab, you must first create a new group on that tab. You can also add commands to groups on your own custom tabs and we’ll show you how to do that in a bit.

On the Customize the Ribbon screen on the Excel Options dialog box, select Commands Not in the Ribbon from the Choose commands from dropdown list. There may be some commands in this list you want available on the ribbon.

Select Commands Not in the Ribbon on the Excel Options dialog box

Make sure Main Tabs is selected in the Customize the Ribbon dropdown list on the right.

To add a command to an existing tab, you must first create a new group on that tab. You can’t add commands to existing groups on the Main Tabs. For example, we’re going to add a command to the Home tab. So, we select the Home tab in the list on the right and then click New Group below the list.

Click New Group on the Excel Options dialog box

The new group is added at the bottom of the list of groups on the Home tab with the default name New Group. The word Custom is added to the end of the new group’s name to help you keep track of custom groups you’ve created. But Custom won’t display on the tab.

To rename the new group, select it and click Rename.

Click Rename to rename a group on the Excel ribbon

Enter a name for the new group in the Display name box on the Rename dialog box.

When the Excel window is too narrow to display the names of the groups on the ribbon, only symbols are displayed. You can choose the symbol that displays for your new group from the Symbol box.

Click OK.

Rename dialog box for renaming a group on the Excel ribbon

Add a Command to a New Group

Now you can add commands to your new group.

Make sure your new group is selected on the right. Then, click on the command you want to add in the list of commands on the left.

Click Add.

Add a command to a new group on the Excel ribbon

The command is added to the tab in the new group you created.

Click OK to close the Excel Options dialog box.

Close the Excel Options dialog box

Because we added our new group at the bottom of the list of groups on the Home tab, it displays on the far right end of the tab.

You can add new groups anywhere on a tab and we’ll show you how. But first, we’ll show you how to add a new, custom tab to the ribbon.

Command added to a custom group on the Home tab on the Excel ribbon

Add Your Own Custom Tabs

In addition to adding groups and commands to the existing, built-in tabs, you can create your own custom tabs. For example, if you’ve created some macros you use often, you can create a custom tab for your macros to make them easily accessible.

See our article about building a custom excel toolbar of VBA macros How to Build a Custom Excel Toolbar of VBA Macros How to Build a Custom Excel Toolbar of VBA Macros Ready to supercharge your Microsoft Excel productivity? A custom toolbar can do just that. We'll show you how to put all your Excel macros within reach. Read More to learn how to add a new tab to the Excel ribbon in addition to creating some useful macros.

Custom tab with macros on the Excel ribbon

You can also use a custom tab to collect commands you use often in one place.

Custom tab with commands on the Excel ribbon

Rearrange Tabs, Groups, and Commands

You can arrange tabs and groups in any order you want. Commands already on the built-in tabs can’t be rearranged. But you can rearrange any commands you’ve added to custom groups on built-in or custom tabs.

To move a tab, group, or command, access the Customize the Ribbon screen on the Excel Options dialog box.

In the list on the right, select the tab, group, or command in a custom group that you want to move. Then, click the up arrow or down arrow to the right of the list to move it either way. The tab at the top of the list is displayed on the far left side of the ribbon, and the tab at the bottom on the far right.

Rearrange tabs on the Excel ribbon

You can put your custom tab in the most convenient place for you on the ribbon.

Custom tab moved on the Excel ribbon

Hide Tabs on the Excel Ribbon

If there are some tabs you don’t use, you can hide them.

Right-click on the ribbon and select Customize the Ribbon.

On the right, uncheck the boxes for any tabs you want to hide. Then, click OK.

Hide tabs on the Excel ribbon

Rename the Items on the Ribbon

In addition to giving custom tabs and groups your own names, you can also rename existing groups on built-in tabs. You can’t rename existing commands on the ribbon.

On the right side of the Customize the Ribbon screen on the Excel Options dialog box, select the group you want to rename and click Rename below the list.

On the Rename dialog box, enter the name you want and click OK.

Rename a group on the Excel ribbon

Now the group displays with the name you chose.

Built-in group renamed on the Excel ribbon

Use Icons Instead of Text on the Ribbon

If you’re using a laptop with a small screen, you can save some room on the ribbon tabs by removing the text from the commands you add to custom groups and using only icons. You can’t remove the text from built-in commands on the main tabs. Also, you must remove the text from all the icons in a custom group, not just some of them.

On the Customize the Ribbon screen on the Excel Options dialog box, right-click on the group you want to change and select Hide Command Labels.

Select Hide Command Labels for the Excel ribbon on the Excel Options dialog box

The commands in your custom group now display without text.

Labels hidden on commands in a group on the Excel ribbon

4. Resetting Customizations in Excel

If you’ve made a lot of customizations to the Excel ribbon, and you want to go back to the default setup, you can reset your customizations.

To reset one tab, select that tab in the list on the right on the Customize the Ribbon screen on the Excel Options dialog box. Then, click Reset and select Reset only selected Ribbon tab.

To reset all tabs on the ribbon, click Reset and select Reset all customizations. Note that this option also resets the Quick Access Toolbar How to Customize Microsoft Office 2016 to Your Needs How to Customize Microsoft Office 2016 to Your Needs Default settings rarely meet the needs of every user. Here we present five easy tweaks that allow you to adapt Microsoft Office 2016 to your preferences. Read More .

Reset all customizations on the Excel ribbon

Click Yes on the confirmation dialog box.

Delete all customizations confirmation dialog box for the Excel ribbon

Save Time With a Customized Excel Ribbon

Customizing the Excel ribbon helps save time and make you more productive. But it’s just one of the simpler paths to productivity. We also have more tips to save you time when using Excel 14 Tips to Save Time in Microsoft Excel 14 Tips to Save Time in Microsoft Excel If Microsoft Excel has consumed a lot of your time in the past, let us show you how to get some of it back. These simple tips are easy to remember. Read More .

Explore more about: Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Office 2016, Microsoft Office 2019, Microsoft Office 365, Microsoft Office Tips, Spreadsheet.

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  1. AD
    July 25, 2019 at 10:06 am

    Hi;
    Thank you for this topic that helped me find solutions for some workbooks.
    Is it possible to have in the same workbook two different sheets organized in horizontal display one with the displayed ribbon and the other without ribbon displayed as it existed in Excel 2010.
    A single ribbon for 2 sheets displayed at the same time.
    Thx a lot