What Is The Ribbon In Excel?

Make the display fit the way you work

Customize Excel Ribbon dialog box

First introduced in Excel 2007, the ribbon is the strip of buttons and icons located above the work area. The ribbon replaces the menus and toolbars found in earlier versions of Excel.

Instructions in this article apply to Excel for Office 365, Excel 2019, Excel 2016, Excel 2013, and Excel 2010.

Ribbon Components

The ribbon includes tabs labeled Home, Insert, Page Layout, Formulas, Data, Review, View, and Help. When you select a tab, the area below the ribbon displays a set of groups and, within the groups, buttons representing a variety of commands.

Ribbon tabs in Excel

When Excel opens the Home tab displays, along with the groups and buttons within it. Each group represents a function. The Number group includes commands that format numbers, for example, to increase or decrease the number of decimal places. The Cells group includes options to insert, delete, and format cells.

Selecting a command on the ribbon may lead to further options contained in a contextual menu or dialog box that relate to the chosen command.

Collapse and Expand the Ribbon

The ribbon can be collapsed to increase the size of the worksheet visible on the computer screen.

Microsoft Excel with ribbon collapsed

There are four ways to collapse the ribbon:

  • Double-click a ribbon tab, such as Home, Insert, or Page Layout to display only the tabs. To expand the ribbon, double-click a tab.
  • Press CTRL+F1 on the keyboard to display only the tabs. To expand the ribbon, press CTRL+F1.
  • Select Ribbon Display Options (located above the ribbon in the upper-right corner of Excel and looks like a box with an up-facing arrow) and choose Auto-hide Ribbon. Neither the tabs nor the commands will be visible. To expand the ribbon, select Ribbon Display Options, and choose Show Tabs and Commands.
  • Select the up arrow located on the right side of the ribbon to collapse the ribbon and display only the tabs. To expand the ribbon, double-click a tab.
Close ribbon arrow in Excel

Customize the Ribbon

Since Excel 2010, it has been possible to customize the ribbon using the Customize Ribbon option. Use this option to:

  • Rename or reorder the default tabs and groups.
  • Display certain tabs.
  • Add or remove commands to existing tabs.
  • Add custom tabs and custom groups that contain frequently used commands.

There are also command features that cannot be changed on the ribbon, specifically the default commands which appear in gray text in the Customize Ribbon window, for example:

  • Names of the default commands.
  • Icons associated with the default commands.
  • The order of these commands on the ribbon.

To add commands to the ribbon:

  1. Select a tab, such as Home, Insert, or Page Layout.

  2. Right-click a blank area of the ribbon.

  3. Select Customize the Ribbon.

    Customize the Ribbon menu item in Excel
  4. Go to the Main Tabs list and select the tab (for example the Layout tab) to which you want to add a command. Then select New Group.

    When adding commands to the ribbon, you must create a custom group.

    New Group button in Excel
  5. A New Group (Custom) item appears under the tab you selected. To give the group a more specific name, select Rename.

    Rename button in Excel
  6. In the Rename window, select an icon, then go to the Display name text box and enter a descriptive name for the command. Select OK.

    Rename dialog in Excel
  7. Select the group you just created.

  8. In the Choose commands from list, choose the command to add to this group, then select Add.

    Add button in Excel
  9. Select OK. The new group and command appear on the ribbon.