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A tour of the Excel Ribbon

A tour of the Excel Ribbon

Prominent at the top of the Excel window, the ribbon is a kind of super toolbar. The ribbon contains every command you'll ever need in Excel, grouped by logical function into tabs. It's a great way to explore what Excel can do.

Let's take a look.

The ribbon is divided into tabs. Each tab contains logically grouped commands, further sub-divided into Groups. In some cases, there are more commands than available space, and you'll see a small arrow in the lower right. Clicking this arrow brings up more related commands.

Almost every item in the ribbon contains useful help information that appears when you hover the cursor over the item.

The first tab is called File. The file tab allows you to go "backstage", in Microsoft's parlance. We'll look at this tab in more detail in an upcoming lesson.

The next tab is Home. Home contains commonly used commands - copying and pasting, formatting, sorting and filtering, and commands for finding things.

The Insert tab allows you to add things to your workbook like tables, charts, graphics, hyperlinks, and symbols.

The Page Layout tab allows you to control theme settings, page setup and print options, and gives you tools to arrange and align objects.

The Formulas tab provides tools for inserting functions. It also contains commands for naming ranges and tools for troubleshooting formulas and calculating worksheets.

The Data tab contains tools for importing external data. It also contains commands for sorting and filtering data, manipulating data, and outlining.

The Review tab provides access to the spell checker and language tools, controls for comments, and options for protecting, sharing, and tracking changes.

The View tab allows you to switch views, turn off and on certain view options, and organize and arrange multiple windows.

The ribbon also has context sensitive tabs that only appear when you select certain items. For example, if you select a graphic, you'll see a Drawing tools ribbon appear, with a Format tab with commands for inserting shapes, controlling styles and formatting, and arranging items.  If you select a Smart Art object, you'll see two new tabs appear, one with controls for Designing, and one with tools for Formatting smart art.

And if you select a chart, you'll see new tabs for Design, Layout, and Format.

Finally, you can hide and show the ribbon by clicking the toggle button at the right, next to the help icon.  Click once to hide the ribbon. Click again to show the ribbon.

Dave Bruns

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