Software

Work faster in Word by customizing the Office 2010 Ribbon

Bill Detwiler helps you take control of the Office 2010 Ribbon by adding shortcuts to the Quick Access Toolbar, creating your own tabs, and removing unused tabs.

When Microsoft introduced Office 2007, many long-time Office users (myself included), hated the infamous Ribbon. Tools that were quickly accessible from the old toolbar interface, were now hidden behind a variety of tabs and drop-down menus.

To make matters worse, you couldn't customize the Ribbon. You were stuck with the organization that Microsoft deemed best. Luckily, the developers in Redmond made the Office 2010 interface more flexible.

During this week's TR Dojo episode, I show how to customize the Office 2010 Ribbon by adding items to the Quick Access Toolbar, creating custom tabs, and removing tabs you never use.

For those who prefer text to video, click the View Transcript link below the video player window or read Susan Harkins' article, "Five tips for customizing the Office 2010 Ribbon".

You can also sign up to receive the latest TR Dojo lessons through one or more of the following methods:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

16 comments
Tom-Li
Tom-Li

Most old menu software only applied to Word, Excel and PowerPoint. But the Classic Menu for Office 2010 of Addintools applied to all Office programs: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Publisher, Access, InfoPath, Visio, Project. It also allows to hide tabs on ribbon, or hide the old menus, and the old keyboard shortcuts are available.

fhrosa
fhrosa

Thank you so much for providing a text version link. It's so frustrating clicking a link only to find out there's a video only version (which I almost never watch).

navyhatch
navyhatch

Just wondering who does your editing.... :) "... interface to you prefer...."

donnerblue
donnerblue

Google UBitMenu. It places a Menu item between Home and Insert. Has all our old favorites, easily found. Download and install. Then right click the Office Button in upper left corner, select Minimize the Ribbon. Then all your screen real estate is reclaimed! I do this and mostly use Menu. Works for me...

zrm
zrm

Double click any of the tabs

blarman
blarman

Can we get the option from Microsoft NOT to use the ribbon? My main complaints: 1) It takes up a LOT of vertical screen real estate - up to 20% of the screen for some of my users. This is ridiculous. 2) I have to keep switching back and forth between tabs to get the formatting options I need. Try building a document with set page separators and images. You'll find yourself maddeningly switching back and forth between the formatting tab and the insert tab constantly. 3) I had a great set of customized tools that only took up one line and included everything I needed. Now I have to stay in the tab mindset of Microsoft, meaning that customization is worthless. Sorry, but the Toolbar is more of an inhibition to me than a help. I'll take Open Office instead or use Office 2003.

SharmanJ
SharmanJ

It must be a feature of the ribbon that no user can alter (as in add/remove commands) the ribbon tabs created by MS or any Add-In, but can only create and use a custom tab. Thus many of the ops that would naturally be found under an MS tab are not there, causing great confusion, and the AddInTools menus are not extensible so you can't add missing items there either. And don't get me started on the difficulty of document automation with the dumbed down MS ribbon interface ...

Lost Cause?
Lost Cause?

I came across the UBitMenu a few months ago. I use it on my Office 2007 installation. It is ALMOST as good as the old Office 2003 toolbar. Thanks UBitMenu from a gratefull user!

blarman
blarman

Double-clicking merely hides all the TOOLS. I want to eliminate the layout of the Ribbon and go back to a standard toolbar.

Lost Cause?
Lost Cause?

I installed Office 2010 yesterday. I had to reinstall UBitMenu. It works with Office 2010. Again, thanks from a grateful user...

Shadeburst
Shadeburst

Downloaded and installed... looks good! Next question: How do I customize the UBitMenu tab?

zrm
zrm

2010 version lets us customize the QAT (the Quick Access Toolbar). You may keep the ribbon hidden and use QAT all the time by placing all your useful icons right on QAT.

SirWizard
SirWizard

This is aimed at Microsoft and the Ribbon, not zrm, under whose comment I'm replying. Thankfully, I am running Office 2003 both at work and at home, so I am still amazingly productive. (I'm a tech writer, using Word 2003 almost all workday long. At home it's mostly Excel 2003.) However, my work email is Outlook 2007, so I get to hobble along crippled with the Ribbon and the Quick Access Toolbar often enough while editing emails. Let's use some basic logic. Q: Why is there a Quick Access Toolbar at all if the Ribbon is the complete GUI wonder of the age and not the piece of feculence that I assert it to be? A: Because a toolbar with buttons is an extremely useful, powerful, compact, and customizable interface, providing capabilities that the Ribbon doesn't offer. But, the Quick Access Toolbar is NOT a true toolbar. It's a one-legged losing contender in a butt kicking contest. Its various buttons cannot be grouped to appear, or not, the way I can turn individual toolbars on and off or move them easily. The button graphics are not editable, thus appearing as many indistinguishable green dots. And though I haven't tried yet, I doubt one can extend the QAT to two or three stacked rows for a compact interface. Compare with my Office 2003 real toolbars on my home screen. The customizable button graphics enable me to discern the many commands; for example in Word 2003: insert a cross-reference, condense the text by one-tenth of a point, open the tab dialog box, restart numbering, open the style organizer, perform a word count, insert a caption, paste unformatted, increase the hanging indent, apply heading 4 style, set text in the Calibri font, or any of the more than 150 other commands and macros that I have at the ready. They are each and all accessible AT ALL TIMES on my screen with but a single mouse click from a thrifty two (2) rows of toolbars, with room for perhaps another 25 buttons before needing three rows. Unlike the oversized tabbed (carpal-tunnel destroying) Ribbon, my menus and all my toolbar buttons consume a scant 5% of my vertical screen real estate, as measured with a ruler. So what was the article prattling about? Office 2010 and its crippled QAT being customizable?!

blarman
blarman

Or a link to a tutorial? This sounds lots better than the obnoxious Ribbon and I'd like to compare it to the old toolbars. Thanks.

mwclarke1
mwclarke1

I was already fast, not painfully slow trying to re-learn a different method, and not just that is different but vastly different than most all other programs which use a menu system like the old one. One could easily navigate since most all programs are similar, that is until now that MS seems push their big gorilla weight around forcing people to do things their way and their customers way. Libreoffice user now :-)

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