How to Customize your Ribbon Toolbar in Microsoft Office Apps

Want to customize your productivity applications to suit your own workflows? Start with the ribbon toolbar located at the top of your files in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and more.

Word, Excel, PowerPoint and other Microsoft Office Apps offer customizable user interfaces to help make your workflows easier. The ribbon toolbar is an interface that allows users to utilize one click functions in a convenient place. However, you may find there are more options that you need, or it may be missing a function that you use regularly. This is where customization comes in. This article will goes through the steps for how to add and remove commands from your toolbar. 

Locating your ribbon

First things first, if you are unfamiliar with the ribbon or just didn’t know that’s what is was called, it can be found at the top of any Microsoft Office application. The examples below are all from an Excel workbook.

The collapsed ribbon will leave you more space, but you will have to click a tab to get your command options.

If you have the ribbon collapsed, your commands will be hidden and only the tab names will show. Click on any tab to view the options available. If you want to keep the ribbon open and available, click the pin symbol on the right of the full ribbon. You can also use the keyboard shortcut ctrl+F1 to show or collapse the ribbon. (Please note: On a laptop the F function buttons may be shared with other commands. You may be require to hold the function key (fn) to use the keyboard shortcut.)

The full ribbon has many options. To keep it available at all times, just click the pin.

You can look at the various tabs to see what commands are currently available. Some tabs will only appear when relevant such as the “table design” tab, which is available when a table is in use. These are called Tool Tabs.

Accessing customized ribbon options

Right click anywhere on the ribbon and click “customize the ribbon”.

The right click menu is small but allows you to access to many customization options.

The customize options will default to showing you a list of popular commands in the first section and your main commands that are in use in the second. 

If you are just exploring your options, viewing the popular options is a great place to start. I also recommend using the drop down menu and selecting “commands not in the ribbon” to specifically see functions you don’t currently have quick access to. 

If you are looking for a specific function, it may be easier to navigate to the tab that would contain your type of command, such as the file tab or the tool tabs. 

To view or edit the commands already in use, scrolls through the second section. These are already divided by tab, but only show the main commands by default. To view the tool commands, use the drop down menu and select either All Tabs or Tool Tabs. 

This is where you will be able to move or remove commands or even whole tabs.

Adding a new command to the ribbon

Once you have found the command you want to be available in your ribbon its time to add it. Most of the commands that are not already available by default will require you to create a new group within a tab before proceeding. Under the “customize the ribbon” section you will see options to add a new tab or a new group. If your command fits within an already created tab, click on that tab before clicking add new group. In the example below I am adding the group to the Home tab for easy access. 

There are already many tabs to add your new group to, or you can create your own.

The new group will be called “new group (custom)” until you renaming using the button at the bottom (or with a right click to open more options). I will leave mine as New Group for this article.

You have a few options with the right click menu or you can use the options readily available below the list.

Select the command you want to add and the group you want to add it to. Then click the add button in the middle.

The add button located in between the two lists can be used to move one command at a time to the selection ribbon group.

Alternatively, you can just drag and drop the command you want into the group. (If this feels more familiar, its similar to the way you can drag and drop a file into a particular folder). 

You can add multiple commands to the group or add another grouping. Then click OK. When you have the appropriate tab selected, you can see your new group added and ready for use. 

Editing and removing commands from the ribbon

Customization doesn’t end with adding new functions. You also have the ability to rename, rearrange, and remove commands, groups, and tabs. Rearranging items is the ribbon is simple from the customization screen. You can drag and drop as before, or select an item and use the up and down arrows next to the list.

Move up and down arrows can rearrange your tabs, groups or commands one step at a time.

Removing commands, groups, and tabs is easier than adding them. Simply click on the item you want to remove and then click the remove button located in the center of the window. You can always right click on an item to bring up the options menu and use that to remove instead. Removed commands will still be in the choose commands list in case you wish to add them back later.

Click the remove button to hide a command, group, or tab from appearing in the ribbon.

The above images show how to add a check in and check out button to your ribbon, but there are so many different commands to explore. Customizing your Office 365 experience can help you and anyone you collaborate with, so its a good idea to communicate what works for you with your teammates. You can check out other Office 365 productivity tips in our knowledgebase or contact us to let us know what you want to learn more about. 

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