Ribbon and Tabs in Excel

Excel ribbon is the row of tabs and icons at the top of the Excel window that allows you to find, understand and use commands for completing a certain task. Excel ribbon is the primary interface that contains every command and feature. The Ribbon has multiple display options according to your preferences.

In Excel Ribbon, the buttons and icons are grouped into different tabs based on the category of their functionalities. It contains seven tabs: Home, Insert, Page Layout, Formulas, Data, Review, and View.

Each tab has its specific groups of related commands. These groups have several additional commands that can view by clicking the arrow at the right bottom corner of any group.

The Ribbon first appeared in Excel 2007, replacing the traditional toolbars and pull-down menus found in previous versions. In Excel 2010, Microsoft added the ability to personalize the Ribbon.

Ribbon and Tabs in Excel

In Excel, the Ribbon is made up of these four basic components, such as:

  1. Ribbon tab: It contains multiple commands logically subdivided into groups.
  2. Ribbon group: A set of closely related commands normally performed as part of a larger task.
  3. Dialog launcher: A small arrow in the lower-right corner of a group brings up more related commands. Dialog launchers appear in groups that contain more commands than available space.
  4. Command button: It is the button you click to perform a particular action.

Excel Ribbon Tabs

The standard Excel ribbon contains the following tabs, from left to right:

  • File: It allows you to jump into the backstage view that contains the essential file-related commands and Excel options. This tab was introduced in Excel 2010 as replacing the Office button in Excel 2007 and the File menu in earlier versions.
  • Home: It contains the most frequently used commands such as copying and pasting, sorting and filtering, formatting, etc.
  • Insert: It is used for adding different objects in a worksheet such as images, charts, PivotTables, hyperlinks, special symbols, equations, headers, and footers.
  • Draw: It depends on the device type you’re using. It lets you draw with a digital pen, mouse, or finger. This tab is available in Excel 2013 and later, but the Developer tab is not visible by default.
  • Page Layout: It provides tools to manage the worksheet appearance, both onscreen and printed. These tools control theme settings, gridlines, page margins, object aligning, and print area.
  • Formulas: It contains tools for inserting functions, defining names, and controlling the calculation options.
  • Data: It holds the commands for managing the worksheet data as well as connecting to external data.
  • Review: It allows you to check spelling, track changes, add comments and notes, protect worksheets and workbooks.
  • View: It provides commands for switching between worksheet views, freezing panes, viewing, and arranging multiple windows.
  • Help: It only appears in Excel 2019 and Office 365. This tab provides quick access to the Help Task Pane and allows you to contact Microsoft support, send feedback, suggest a feature, and get quick access to training videos.
  • Developer: It provides access to advanced features such as VBA macros, ActiveX and Form controls, and XML commands. This tab is hidden by default, and you have to enable it first.
  • Add-ins: It appears when you open an older workbook or load an add-in that customizes the toolbars or menu.

How to Hide Ribbon in Excel

If you want to use as much space as possible for your worksheet data, you can minimize the Ribbon by pressing the Ctrl + F1 shortcut key. It mostly happens when you are using a laptop with a small screen.

Or you can hide the Ribbon completely by clicking the Ribbon Display Options button at the upper-right corner of the Excel window and then select Minimize the Ribbon.

Ribbon and Tabs in Excel

How to Unhide Ribbon in Excel

If all commands disappeared from your Excel ribbon and only tab names are visible, then you need to press Ctrl + F1 to get everything back.

If the entire Ribbon is missing, then click the Ribbon Display Options button and unselect Minimize the Ribbon.

Ribbon and Tabs in Excel

How to Customize Excel Ribbon

If you want to personalize the Ribbon according to your requirements to know exactly where everything is located, you can easily access them.

You can enter the most customizations through the Customize Ribbon window under Excel Options. And the shortest path is:

  • Right-click on the Ribbon,
  • And select Customize the Ribbon button from the context menu,
  • Then it shows you customize the excel options window.

Ribbon and Tabs in Excel

From there, you can add your tabs with any commands you choose, change the order of tabs and groups, show, hide, rename tabs, and a lot more.

Contextual Ribbon Tabs

In addition to the constant tabs described above, the Excel ribbon also has context-sensitive tabs, aka Tool Tabs, which show up only when you select a certain item such as a table, chart, shape, or picture.

For example, if you select a chart, the Design and Format tabs will appear under Chart Tools.

Ribbon and Tabs in Excel

NOTE: If you are starting in Excel, Ribbon Hero might come in handy. It’s a game created by Office Labs to help people explore the most useful features of the Office ribbon. Although this project is not actively developed or supported further, it is still available for download on the Microsoft website.

How to Show Developer Tab

The Developer tab is a very useful addition to the Excel ribbon that allows you to access advanced features such as VBA macros, ActiveX and Form controls, XML commands, and more.

The problem is that the Developer tab is hidden by default. But it’s very easy to enable it. Follow the following steps to enable this tab, such as:

  • Right-click on the Ribbon,
  • Click on the Customize the Ribbon tab,
  • Select the Developerunder Main Tabs, and click on the OK

Ribbon and Tabs in Excel

Similarly, you can activate other tabs available in Excel but not visible on the Ribbon, e.g., the Draw tab.

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