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Customize the Microsoft Office Ribbon

Office 2010 Offers More Personalization Options

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Ribbon became an ugly word for many long-time Office users when Microsoft released Office 2007—so much so that several users actually reverted back to Office 2003 or refused to upgrade and learn how the Office ribbon worked.

Office developers explained why they had to incorporate the ribbon panel, stating that the amount of menus and commands had become unmanageable in their previous arrangement. So if users wanted to continue to see advanced features added to their applications, they’d also have to accept the ribbon.

But what if you didn’t want all those extra features? What if you just wanted to use a standard set of commands to quickly format reports, spreadsheets, and presentations the same way you always did? Thankfully, Office 2010 makes the process of personalization much easier—even if you do have to accept the ribbon as a permanent decoration.

Let Excel 2010 Make Work Easier

Not surprisingly, many of the complaints regarding Office 2007’s introduction of the ribbon were from Excel power users who reported a substantial decrease in productivity after having to familiarize themselves with a drastically changed interface.

Becoming familiar with the ribbon in Excel can be a difficult adjustment, but if you use Excel 2010’s customizable tools to your advantage, getting your productivity back on track again will make the process worthwhile. (For an explanation of Excel’s ribbon, see “Office Ribbon in Excel.”)

For more details about Excel’s customizable ribbon, see “Hide the Ribbon in Excel 2007 and 2010.”

And for information about how to make Excel 2010 work better for you, see “What's New in Excel 2010,” “Excel 2010 Functions,” and “Basic Excel 2010 Spreadsheet Tutorial.”

Illustrated Ribbon Changes in PowerPoint 2010

If you’re more of a visual learner, we have some PowerPoint examples of Office 2010’s ribbon changes for you.

For example, to see an overview of the various PowerPoint commands on the ribbon, go to “Parts of the PowerPoint 2010 Screen.” This graphic and its accompanying text covers all the basics related to PowerPoint 2010’s layout changes.

For more specifics regarding the ribbon and its components, see “New File Tab Replaces the Office Button in PowerPoint 2010” and HREF="http://presentationsoft.about.com/od/powerpoint2010/ss/091204-whats-new-powerpoint-2010_6.htm">“Minimize the PowerPoint 2010 Ribbon.” Together, these graphics—and other information linked to them—explain how PowerPoint 2010’s changes compare to previous versions and how you can use these changes to your advantage.

Graphics and detailed instructions about using various PowerPoint features via its ribbon’s tabs and commands are also available to help you learn more. For instance, see “PowerPoint 2010 Background Colors and Graphics” to learn how to use the Design tab’s components to add or change a slide’s background.

Or, even better, see “PowerPoint 2010 Animation Painter” to find out why the Animation Painter is one of PowerPoint 2010’s top additions and discover how easy it is to use the ribbon’s Animations tab to apply various settings to your projects.

Personalize Your Ribbon Space in Word 2010

Make the most of ribbon in Word by letting it reflect only what’s necessary for the task (or tasks) at hand. You can do this by displaying tabs of your favorite tools, showing only commands you frequently use, or maybe even collapsing the ribbon altogether to present more screen space.

For a few quick tips about how to customize Word 2010’s ribbon with your favorite tabs and commands or share the same ribbon layout on all your computers, see “Changing the Ribbon Layout and Tools.”

For even more tips about how to personalize Word 2010, see “What’s New in Word 2010?” and “Customizing Microsoft Word.”

Making the Leap From Office 2003

If you’re totally new to this ribbon environment because you’ve been using Office 2003 up until now, Microsoft designed its Transition To The Office Ribbon site just for you. It includes learning tools and games to help users find commands, discover new shortcuts, and learn how to customize the ribbon.

Other useful learning tools are the migration guides Microsoft developed for users of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Access, and OneNote. Visit Microsoft’s Office 2010 Migration Guides site and click one of the images on the page to find out how to perform the same functions in Office 2010 that you previously used in Office 2003.

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