This article will explore some customization options when working with the Excel ribbon.

What is an Excel Ribbon?

Microsoft Excel introduced ribbons in 2007. This strip of icons and buttons, which is located above the work area, was intended to replace the toolbars and menus in prior Excel versions. A ribbon consists of tabs such as Home, Page Layout, Insert, Data, Formulas, View, Review, and Help. When a user selects a tab from the ribbon a set of groups appears. Each group contains a set of buttons that correspond to different commands.

What Can and Can’t be Customized

A variety of Excel capabilities can be customized in the ribbon, such as:

  • Rearrange tabs, custom commands, or groups.
  • Rename, hide, or show tabs. 
  • Add or remove groups from the existing tab.
  • Make a new tab with customized commands.
  • Import or export a personalized ribbon.

In addition, there are a few capabilities in Excel that can’t be customized:

  • Although Excel users have the option to collapse the Excel ribbon, it can’t be resized.
  • Any built-in command must remain in Excel; it can’t be removed or changed. However, it’s possible to hide the entire group if necessary.
  • There is no option to customize the font type, color, or text size in Excel.

How Can You Customize the Excel Ribbon?

There are nine ribbons across the top Excel workspace. Each one provides tools that help Excel users perform the most common Excel activities or access commonly used features in the application. In addition to options for customizing their display, users can also add or rearrange ribbon buttons to better suit their needs for working with data on spreadsheets. Ribbon customization can also provide a faster and smoother experience when using Excel. 

When customizing the Excel ribbon, right-click on the ribbon and choose “Customize the Ribbon.” A window will appear that provides options to add or remove commands from both existing and new tabs. From there, several customization options are possible.

Here are just a few of the ways you can customize the Excel ribbon to better suit your needs when working with spreadsheets:

  • Adding a command to new tabs: If there’s a command you want to add to the Excel ribbon:
    • Start by selecting “New Tab.” This will create a new tab in the Main Tabs section.
    • You can then rename the tab by selecting “Rename” and entering a new name.
    • Click on OK. 
    • Choose a command, such as “Insert Picture,” then click on “Add” in the center.
    • Customization is confirmed when you select OK.
  • Hiding or showing tabs: Even though it’s not an option in Excel to remove built-in tabs, it is possible to hide any that you don’t use or want to see:
    • From the checkboxes located near the tab names, select which tabs you’d like to see, and which you would not. 
    • Many users want to show the “Developer” tab at this point, which is hidden on Excel by default.
  • Adding a new command: Commands can also be added to the Excel ribbon in custom groups. This process involves moving the command from the list on the left to the one on the right. To do so:
    • Begin by selecting a custom group from the list on the right. 
    • Choose the command you’d like to add from the left-side list. Commands can be filtered using the “Choose commands” option from the dropdown menu.
    • Once the command and group are selected, click on the “Add” button, which will add the command to the chosen group.
    • This process can be repeated as often as necessary until all the needed commands are on the right list.
    • Once you click on OK, the commands will appear in the new tab.
  • Positioning tabs, groups, or commands: Excel users can also alter the order that tabs, groups, or commands appear on the ribbon. There are two options for doing so:
    • The drag-and-drop function allows users to click on any item, hold the mouse button, then move the mouse to the desired location.
    • The up and down arrow buttons located near the right list provide a way for users to choose the item they wish to move, then select the arrow pointing in the direction in which they wish to move it.
  • Removing groups, commands, or custom tabs: 
    • Click on the group, command, or custom tab you wish to delete.
    • Select the “Remove” button.
  • Resetting a ribbon customization: There are two Excel commands that can be used to revert any changes made to a ribbon:
    • If you select “Reset all customizations,” the entire ribbon will be reset.
    • If you choose the “Reset only selected Ribbons” tab, only the selected ribbon is reset.
  • Exporting customized ribbons: Excel users can export their Quick Access Toolbar settings, as well as their ribbon, to a special file if they desire. This file can serve as a backup or be used when moving settings to a new device. In addition, it’s possible to share your ribbon configuration with friends. If you’d like to export an Excel ribbon:
    • Go to the “Customize the Ribbon” window.
    • Select “Import/Export.”

While customization is a great option for some Excel users, it isn’t essential. Before you decide whether to customize the Excel ribbon, keep in mind that most people who work with Excel can easily complete tasks using the default ribbon. These settings work well for the majority of Excel tasks.

Start Learning Excel with Hands-On Classes

A great way to learn more about Microsoft Excel is to enroll in one of Noble Desktop’sExcel courses in NYC and live online. Courses are available for those who are new to Excel, as well as learners who regularly work with this spreadsheet application and are looking to brush up on their skills. In addition, there are also in-person and live online Excel courses available through Noble Desktop or one of its affiliate schools. A variety of course options are offered, ranging in length from three hours to two days and costing between $229 and $1,099. 

Noble Desktop’s Excel Bootcamp provides a great option for those who want to master core Excel concepts, such as creating PivotTables or macros. Students who enroll in this rigorous, 21-hour course can elect to study in person in Manhattan or learn in the live online environment. This small class comes with the option of a free retake and covers a variety of Excel concepts applicable to the business world, such as PivotTables, macros, formulas, and functions.

Additionally, those who want to find Excel classes close to home can use Noble’s Classes Near Me too to browse more than 140 in-person Microsoft Excel classes.