How to use ribbon in Microsoft Word

The ribbon is the toolbar at the top of Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, as well as other Microsoft applications. The ribbon is composed of tabs that retain the associated tools. This makes all the tools easily accessible, no matter what type of project or device you are working on.

The ribbon can be completely hidden or shown in different ways and can be personalized to suit everyone’s needs. The ribbon became available in Microsoft Word 2007 and continues to be part of Microsoft Word 2013 and Microsoft Word 2016.

Explore Ribbon Display Options

Depending on your current settings, the ribbon will come in one of three forms. You could see nothing at all; this is the Auto-hide ribbon setting. You can only see the tabs (File, Home, Insert, Draw, Design, Layout, References, Mail Merge, Review and View); this is the Display Tabs parameter. Finally, you can see the tabs and commands underneath; this is the Display Tabs and Commands parameter.

To move among these views:

If the ribbon:

  • Not available, click the three dots in the upper right corner of the Word window.
  • Show only the tabs, click the square icon with the up arrow in the upper right corner of the Word window.
  • Display tabs and commands, click the square icon with the up arrow in the upper right corner of the Word window.

Click on the view you want to see:

  • Automatically hide the ribbon – to hide the ribbon until you need it. Click or drag your mouse in the ribbon area to display it.
  • Show tabs only – to show only ribbon tabs.
  • View tabs and controls – to view tabs and ribbon commands at any time.

Note: To use the ribbon, you must be able to access at least the tabs. If you can see the orders too, it’s even better. If you do not know the ribbon, consider changing the display settings described above to display the tabs and controls.

Use the ribbon

Each of the tabs in the Word Ribbon has commands and tools underneath them. If you have changed the display to show tabs and controls, you will see them. If your ribbon view is set to Show Tabs, you will need to click the tab itself to see the associated commands.

To use a command, you first find the desired command, and then click it. Sometimes you will have to do something else, but not always. If you do not know what an icon on the ribbon is, just hover over it.

Here are some examples:

  • To insert an image into your Word document, click the Insert tab, and then click Images. Navigate to the image you want to insert and click Open.
  • To start a bulleted list, click the Home tab, and then click the Bullets icon.
  • To start a numbered list, click the Home tab, and then click the Numbering icon.
  • To choose a design for the entire document, click the Design tab, and then click the design you want to use.
  • To check the spelling and grammar, click the Review tab, and then click Spelling And Grammar.

Many tools work differently if you have selected text (or another item). You can select text by dragging your mouse over it. When text is selected, applying a text-related tool (such as Bold, Italic, Underline, Text Highlight Color, or Font Color) applies only to the selected text. Also, if you apply these tools without text being selected, these attributes will be applied only to the next text that you type.

Customize the Quick Access Toolbar

You can customize the ribbon in several ways. One option is to add or remove items on the Quick Access Toolbar at the very top of the ribbon interface. The quick bar provides shortcuts to the most used commands.

By default, Save is there, as well as Undo and Redo. You can delete these and/or add others, including New (to create a new document), Print, Email, etc.

To add items to the Quick Access Toolbar:

  1. Click the down arrow to the right of the last item on the Quick Access Toolbar.
  2. Click a command without a checkmark to add it.
  3. Click a command that has a checkmark next to it to remove it.
  4. To see more orders and add the
  5. Click More orders.
  6. In the left pane, click the command that you want to add.
  7. Click Add.
  8. Click OK.
  9. Repeat as you wish.

Customize the ribbon

You can add or remove ribbon items to customize to suit your needs. You can add or remove tabs and add or remove items that you see on these tabs. While this may seem like a good idea at first, it’s best not to make too many changes here, at least until you’re fully familiar with the default ribbon configuration.

You can remove the tools you will need later and not remember how to find them or recover them. In addition, if you need to ask a friend or technical support for help, they will not be able to solve your problem quickly if the tools are not.

That said, you can make changes if you wish. Advanced users may want to add the Developer tab, and other users to streamline Word so that it displays only what they know they will use and need.

To access ribbon customization options:

  1. Click File, and then click Options.
  2. Click Customize Ribbon.
  3. To remove a tab, deselect it in the right pane.
  4. To remove command on a tab: Expand the tab in the right pane, locate the command (you may need to expand a section again to find it), click the command, click Delete.
  5. To add a tab, select it in the right pane.

You can also add commands to existing tabs or create new tabs and add commands to them. It’s a little complicated and beyond our possibilities here. However, if you wish to try, you must first create a new tab or group from the options available on the right. This is where your new orders will live. After that, you can start adding these commands.

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