The ability to customize and add tabs to the ribbon in Office applications such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint is one of the highly anticipated features found in Office 2010. We'll take a look at how this feature works in the Office 2010 Technical Preview.
Customizing the Office Ribbon
When Office 2007 first hit the streets, there was quite a bit of controversy over the new ribbon navigational structure that replaced the old drop down menu-driven system. While there are a still a lot of people that continue to lobby for the return of the navigational method found in Office 2003 and older versions of the software suite, it definitely looks like the ribbon is here to stay.
Even those of us who have grown to love the ribbon (yes, I'm in that group) have experienced some degree of frustration with the inability to customize the ribbon in Office 2007. It seems that Microsoft has listened to these complaints, however, since one of the most talked about features in the upcoming Office 2010 application suite is the ability to define custom tabs and personalize the ribbon in other ways. Here, we'll examine this capability in a little more detail and share some screenshots from the Office 2010 Technical Preview. In particular, we'll be demonstrating this in Word 2010, but the process is basically the same for any Office application.
Steps for Modifying the Ribbon
To make changes to the ribbon in Office 2010, begin by clicking on the newly redesigned Office button found in the upper left area of the application. (Click on any screenshot in this article to see a larger view of the image.)
This will access the area known as Backstage View, which is also a new feature in Office 2010.
From here, click on Options as shown in the screenshot above.
When the Word Options screen opens, click on Customize Ribbon from the list shown in the left panel.
This screen will probably look pretty familiar to Office 2007 users since it's laid out in the same manner as the Customize screen in Office 2007.
Take particular note of the buttons located in the lower right area of the screen that allow you to add new tabs, add new groups for tabs, and even rename existing tabs.
Adding a New Ribbon Tab in Office 2010
We'll look at a specific example of how to add a new tab to the ribbon in Word 2010. This is a particularly handy feature if you habitually create special types of documents and want all the commands used for that process located in one place.
Step 1: Click on the New Tab button. This will create a new tab with a clever default name of New Tab that can be seen in the tree structure of the Main Tabs list.
Step 2: Next, select the newly created tab and click on the Rename button. A small dialog box will pop, and you can enter a more useful name for your customized tab. As an example, we'll call our new tab Bright Hub.
Click OK and you'll be returned to the Word Options screen and the name of the tab will be updated. Note that you can do the same thing for tab groupings if you like.
Step 3: Make sure that one of the groups on your new tab is selected and then locate the commands you want to add to it from the command list on the left. Once you locate a command that you want to add, select it, and then click on the Add button.
Continue this process until you've added all the commands you want to see on your customized tab.
Step 4: Click on the entry for the new tab again and use the arrows to the right of the tabs listing to select where you want the tab to appear on the ribbon. For example, if you want the new tab to appear first on the Word ribbon, click the up arrow until the tab is first on the list.
Step 5: Click the OK button in the lower right corner to return to the main Word 2010 interface. The newly created tab will now be shown on the Word ribbon.
For more information on how to get the most out of Microsoft Office, be sure to take a look at the other items in Bright Hub's collection of Microsoft Office tips and tricks. New and updated articles are being added all the time, so bookmark us and check back often!