Hardware

A new use for the mouse wheel in Office 2007 and 2010

Use your mouse wheel to browse through the tabs on the Office 2007 and 2010 ribbons.

I don't use my mouse wheel much. I zoom in on specific areas of the screen (hold down the [Ctrl] key) or move a document up and down, but that's the extent of my mouse wheel usage. If you're using Office 2007 or Office 2010, there's a new mouse wheel trick—you can move through the tabs:

  • Roll the wheel back to browse to the right.
  • Roll the wheel forward to browse to the left.
Hover the mouse over the ribbon or tabs. Then, roll slowly to get the best effect. At first, I thought, Big deal… but it only takes a few times to become accustom to it—this new behavior grows on you. It's an almost no-effort way to take a quick peek at the options on each tab. I use it when I'm looking for something. It's seems more efficient than clicking each tab. Neither the Office button in 2007 nor the File tab in 2010 is in the cycle. You must click those to access those features and options.

About

Susan Sales Harkins is an IT consultant, specializing in desktop solutions. Previously, she was editor in chief for The Cobb Group, the world's largest publisher of technical journals.

12 comments
amyscaife
amyscaife

I think its great, I can often remember where a button is positioned but cant remember which tab its under. This way I can scroll through till I see it rather than clicking every tab. Thanks JB

bobjhart
bobjhart

Wow !! I like that. Easy man !!

wjames1
wjames1

This would be better if you could switch through spreadsheet tabs and MS Access tabs the same way also. I hate having to use crtl + page up/down keys.

oldbaritone
oldbaritone

I use the wheel CONSTANTLY in documents and spreadsheets. It's so much easier than PgUp/PgDn or clicking the slider. Once again, a feature that works well is changed in the next version, so that users must be retrained. Imagine what would happen if the auto industry did the same thing - perhaps the steering wheel would steer the car if you're looking out the front windshield, but then change to adjusting the mirrors when you glance out the side window. What a disaster that could be. Certainly a major annoyance, at least. So also, the latest "better idea" for the wheel (but not in all versions.) (sigh)

dhamilt01
dhamilt01

Can you turn this behavior off? Many, many times I go to scroll down my spreadsheet only to find the mouse cursor is over that damn ribbon and ... you guessed it ... no scrolling. Have to move the bloody cursor before I can scroll. Annoying to the hilt!

stapleb
stapleb

I found this one by accident. I'm not sure yet that I like it but I think that's partly because I use the keyboard for so many things. You have reminded me I must point it out to users so they don't get the shock I did the first time it happened.

Jaqui
Jaqui

I keep cursing this feature, in all GNU/Linux desktops. multiple desktops, can scroll through them multiple apps open, can scroll through them. it has often caused the issue of what I'm trying to scroll down to read dropping right out of sight, with a different window or desktop being in place. and yes, even tabs can be scrolled with it.

Full Tao-er
Full Tao-er

In about one month, many users at my workplace will be upgrading from Office 2003, and some from Office 97! :O In addition to familiarizing the users with the new interface, I will try to show productivity boosters like this tip (and the scroll zoom). Thanks!

Hoosier Girl
Hoosier Girl

I float over the tabs in Word 2007 and nothing happens. Is there a setting to activate to make this happen?

nbsc
nbsc

I don't think that using the steering wheel analogy is appropriate in this case. Just imagine what would happen if you took & moved that lever (shift) & put it in "D" or "R", instead of "N"; something entirely different might occur. Some things just work well when used for multiple purposes, if they are designed correctly in the first place. The scroll function is still there, all you have to do is locate your mouse cursor in the proper place. I kind of like the ability to scroll through the ribbon tabs with the mouse wheel. Jim JMK-NBSC

derwil
derwil

I have found that if you minimise the ribbon this will switch the function off. I found this out by accident, my ribbon was already minimised and the function did not work. Hope this helps.

ssharkins
ssharkins

You know, I'm not sure how much easier or more efficient the wheel is -- I just think it's fun!