How-to use the Ribbon in the Microsoft Office 2010 suite

November 9, 2010, By Fouad Bajwa

If you are making the switch from MS Office 2007 to MS Office 2010, the first major change you will encounter is the Office ribbon feature that was included in select Office 2007 applications (as Command Bars) like MS Word, MS Access, MS Excel and MS PowerPoint and now throughout the MS Office 2010 suite.

It may actually be a bit of a learning curve to get around using this new toolbar throughout the productivity suite as well as getting to speed with its associated features.

Microsoft Office 2010

The Ribbon was designed to facilitate users and help them to work with Office applications in an easier fashion while discover the rich features and capabilities of what MS Office provides. As one goes about using these menu features, the menus and toolbars usually expand over the Years making it difficult to find the commands users require quickly and easily.

As the people at Micrsoft call it, “This is your Ribbon!”, it is considered to be a new Ribbon customization feature available throughout Office 2010 client applications that allow users to create a personalized Ribbon optimized to the way they work or interact with the application.

Customization is the ability to add, remove and relocate commands within an application that originally began with the Command Bars in Office 97, then the Quick Access Toolbar in Office 2007, and today is the Ribbon customization with Office 2010.

How does the Microsoft Office 2010 Ribbon help you work more productively?

  1. In Office 2007, the Office Button and in Office 2010, the File tab provides a centralized location for all the things you want to do with office such as if you are working with a file, you can share, print, or send.
  2. Whenever you access any Office 2010 application, the ribbon is the wide bar across which is a set of tabs and by clicking any tab, an associated set of commands is displayed.
  3. The Ribbon feature provides a Quick Access Toolbar which is a customizable toolbar that displays the commands you may be using the most.
  4. You also have Contextual Tabs that display in the Ribbon only when they are relevant to the task at hand you may be performing, for example, formatting a certain table or an image.
  5. The Galleries option provides you the facility to select from an array of preformatted themes, styles, effects, shapes and templates that can make your documents and presentations look and feel great.
  6. The Live Preview feature allows you to view formatting changes right before you apply them to your document.

Dwelling a bit further:

  • You will notice that on each tab, the command buttons are organized into named groups.
  • Based on the size of the application window open while also depending on your screen resolution, the commands in a group might be displayed as labeled buttons, as unlabeled icons, or as one or more large buttons that can be clicked to further display the commands within that group.
  • It is useful to play around with the with the screen resolution and width of the application window by dragging it into various screen in order to understand the effects on the appearance of the content in the tabs.
  • The quickest way to learn about any command button is either reading its label or if a button label is not displayed then you can make it visible by placing your mouse cursor over the button and a description of its function, and its keyboard short-cut (should there be any) are displayed in a small ScreenTip.
  • Note: In order to control ScreenTips display as well as any feature descriptions, you can enable go in to backstage and click on Options to open the application specific Options dialog box. Then simply click the ScreenTip setting you want in the User Interface Options area of the General page.
  • We will be looking at the ribbon feature in more detail in the next how-to!
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