Excel Ribbon; Definition, Function, and How to Use It - Compute Expert

Excel Ribbon; Definition, Function, and How to Use It


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In this tutorial, we will discuss completely what is excel ribbon, its function, and how to use it.

If you often use excel, then the ribbon is an essential component that can make your work in excel much easier. Let’s know deeper about it so you can optimize its use further!

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What is an Excel Ribbon?

What do you mean by a ribbon in excel?

Generally, a ribbon is a group of command buttons that we can use to run certain functions depending on our needs.

This ribbon is located in the top part of your excel file. You can see its exact location and interface in excel in the screenshot below (the one in the red box).

Excel Ribbon; Definition, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of the Excel Ribbon



Excel Ribbon Functions

What are the functions of the ribbon feature in excel?

Some things ribbon does can help us in our excel work. They are:
  • Making the access to a command we want to activate in excel easier
  • Grouping the excel command buttons logically and in a way that is easy to understand
  • Display excel command buttons intuitively so we can use their functions easier

You might have often used some command buttons provided by the ribbon when you do your excel work. With ribbon, you can do your work in excel much faster.



Excel Ribbon Parts

What are the parts of an excel ribbon? Here is a screenshot that shows them and a bit explanation for each of the parts.

Excel Ribbon; Definition, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of the Excel Ribbon Parts

  • Tab: The division of command buttons in ribbon based on their general functions
  • Group: The groupings of the command buttons in the tabs based on their more specific functions
  • Command Buttons: The part we can click in the ribbon to run certain functions. Sometimes, they also have a dropdown to run other functions which correlate with the button’s main function



Excel Ribbon Tabs

There are 8 main tabs we usually use and show in an excel file ribbon. They are the Home, Insert, Page Layout, Formulas, Data, Review, View, and Developer tabs.



You can see a bit of explanation for each of those tabs below.
  • Home: The default excel tab that contains the command buttons we often use. Some functions of the buttons in this tab are data copy, font modification, cell formatting, and insert/remove column/row/cell
  • Insert: The tab that contains command buttons which insert an object into your excel worksheet. The examples of the objects we can insert are table, chart, image, link, and cell comment
  • Page Layout: The tab that contains the command buttons which manage the excel interface when it is printed. Using this tab’s command buttons, you can set the margin, paper size, print area, and other things similar to those functions
  • Formulas: The tab that contains command buttons with functions which relate to excel formulas. You can insert formulas, define names you can use in excel formulas, recalculate formulas results, etc
  • Data: The tab that contains command buttons you can use to get, filter, sort, and group your data in excel
  • Review: The tab that contains command buttons you can use to reevaluate and manage the data protection in your worksheet. Here, you can evaluate text spelling, see cell comments, translate text, and protect/unprotect data
  • View: The tab that contains command buttons which manage the interface of your worksheet
  • Developer: The tab that excel hides by default (you must unhide it yourself). It is created for the users who understand macros/VBA programming. The tab contains the command buttons you can use to manage the programming of your excel file



How to Hide Excel Ribbon

Feel distracted or think there is no need for the ribbon feature in excel currently? Want to hide the ribbon display? You can click the up arrow on the top right of your excel file to hide it.

Can’t find the arrow? You can see its exact location in the screenshot below.

Excel Ribbon; Definition, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of the Up Arrow Location in an Excel File to Hide the Excel Ribbon

The result after clicking the up arrow.

Excel Ribbon; Definition, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of the Result from Hiding the Excel Ribbon

As an alternative, you can also press the Ctrl + F1 (Command + Option + R in Mac) buttons to hide the ribbon in your excel file.



How to Unhide Excel Ribbon

If you hide your excel ribbon before and you want to unhide it, the method is quite similar to hiding it.

Click the down arrow which replaces the up arrow when your ribbon is hidden. The location of the down arrow is the same, on the top right of your excel file.

Excel Ribbon; Definition, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of the Down Arrow Location in an Excel File to Unhide the Excel Ribbon

The result after you click the down arrow.

Excel Ribbon; Definition, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of the Result from Unhiding the Excel Ribbon

As an alternative, you can press the Ctrl + F1 (Command + Option + R in Mac) shortcut buttons to unhide your hidden ribbon.



How to Customize the Ribbon in Excel

Probably, you want to display a command button that isn’t there in your excel ribbon currently. How to do that?

In excel, you can customize your ribbon display through the Customize Ribbon dialog box.



The way to access the dialog box is by clicking File and then choose Options. Then, choose Customize Ribbon in the dialog box that shows up. You can also right-click your excel ribbon and choose Customize the Ribbon (For Mac, click the Excel text on the top left of your Mac screen and choose Preferences…. After that, click Ribbon & Toolbar on the dialog box that shows up).

In the Customize Ribbon dialog box, you can create/hide the tabs, groups, or command buttons in your excel ribbon. Choose the command buttons you want to show from the left box of the dialog box. Then, move them to the right box.

Excel Ribbon; Definition, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of the Customize Ribbon Dialog Box in Excel

Want to go back to the default display of your ribbon? You can click the Reset All Customizations… choice in the dialog box.

Excel Ribbon; Definition, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of the Reset All Customizations... Chice in the Customize Ribbon Dialog Box



How to Show the Developer Tab

Do you understand the excel macro/VBA programming language? If yes, then you might want to show the developer tab in your excel file to utilize those features in it.

The way to show the developer tab in excel is pretty easy. Just go to the Customize Ribbon dialog box by using the method we just discussed. Then, make sure the checkbox on the Developer tab in the right box of the dialog box is checked.

Excel Ribbon; Definition, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of the Developer Tab Checkbox in the Excel Customize Ribbon Dialog Box

Click Save/OK in the dialog box. The Developer tab will immediately show up in your ribbon!

Excel Ribbon; Definition, Function, and How to Use It - Screenshot of the Developer Tab in the Excel Ribbon



Ribbon Access Shortcut

If you use Windows, then you can use shortcuts to access the tabs and command buttons in your excel ribbon. Just press Alt on your keyboard and there will be letter notes show up below your ribbon tabs. The letter note is the button you must press to access the tab in the ribbon.

When you press a tab letter button, there will be letter notes also for each command button in the tab. Press the letter button of the command button you want to use!



Additional Note

The ribbon feature is first available in excel 2007. You can start to customize it since the 2010 version of this software.



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