How to Use the Outlook Ribbon

Use the ribbon to quickly open, print, and save emails in Outlook

Screenshot of the Outlook 2016 Ribbon

Screenshot

The Outlook ribbon is a collection of toolbars. It has several tabs that contain commands to commonly accessed tasks and the ribbon adapts based on what you're doing in Outlook. For example, if you switch from the Mail view in Outlook to the Calendar view, the content of the ribbon changes. In addition, hidden tabs appear when you execute specific tasks. For example, if you're working with e-mail attachments, the Attachment tab appears. Once you've sent or downloaded an attachment and moved on to another email, the Attachment tab disappears because it's no longer needed.

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

Work with the Home Ribbon

When you open Outlook, the program automatically displays the Home tab of the ribbon. This is where you send and receive e-mails and where most of the activity in Outlook occurs. The command buttons in the Home tab are arranged into groups.

Here's what you'll find in each group:

  1. The New group: Select New Email to create a new message. Select New Items to display a list of options to create appointments, tasks, and more.

    The New group in Outlook.
  2. The Delete group: Select Delete to delete a selected email message. Select Ignore, Clean Up, or Junk to control how email is handled when it's received.

    The Delete group in Outlook.
  3. The Respond group: Use these command to Reply, Reply All, or Forward messages. You can also set meetings and access more methods of responding.

    The Respond group in Outlook.
  4. The Quick Steps group: Use the commands in this group to move a message to a folder, reply to a message, or delete a message. There are also other quick commands, such as Move to, Team Email, To Manager, Done, and Create New. To find additional commands, select Manage Quick Steps (the arrow in the lower-right corner of the group).

    The Quick Steps group in Outlook.
  5. The Move group: Find options to move messages, create rules, or to access OneNote.

    The Move group in Outlook.
  6. The Tags group: Use the commands in this group to mark messages as read or unread, categorize messages, or add a flag for follow-up.

    The Tags group in Outlook.
  7. The Find group: Use these commands to find a contact, access your address book, or filter email.

    The Find group in Outlook.

Find Other Commands

In addition to the Home tab of the ribbon, there are several other tabs. Each of these tabs contains commands that are associated with the tab name. There are four tabs other than the Home tab:

  1. The File tab: Contains commands to change your options for Outlook and to print e-mail messages, calendars, and task lists.

    The File tab in Outlook.
  2. The Send/Receive tab: Contains commands to send and receive e-mail. There are also commands to manage downloads and email server behavior. 

    The Send/Receive tab in Outlook.
  3. The Folder tab: Contains commands to manage email folders and properties.

    The Folder tab in Outlook.
  4. The View tab: Use these commands to change the Outlook layout for conversations, the message preview, the Reading pane, the To-do Pane, and the People Pane.

    The View tab in Outlook.

Change the Look of the Ribbon

If the ribbon takes up too much space and you want to see more of the Outlook message area, collapse the ribbon. Select Switch Ribbons (it's the arrow in the lower-right corner of the ribbon) to collapse or expand the ribbon.

When the ribbon is collapsed in Outlook 2019 and Outlook for Office 365, the commands you use the most display for each tab. In previous versions of Outlook, only the tab names display.