What are Excel Ribbons or Excel Tabs?

In this article, we will learn about Excel Ribbons or Excel Tabs?


Once you open the excel software from the program menu, the first thing that you would notice is a large screen displayed. Since this is your first workbook, you will not notice any recently opened workbooks. There are various options that you can choose from; however, this being your first tutorial, I want you to open the Blank Workbook Once you click on the Blank workbook, you will notice the Blank Workbook opens up in the default format.

What are Ribbons in Excel
Ribbons are designed to help you quickly find the command that you want to execute in Excel 2016. Ribbons are divided into logical groups called Tabs, and Each tab has its own set of unique functions to perform. There are various tabs – Home, Insert, Page Layout, Formulas, Date, Review, and View.

How to Collapse (Minimize) Ribbons
If you do not want to see the commands in the Ribbons, you can always Collapse or Minimize Ribbons. For this RIGHT-click on Ribbon Area, and you will see various options available here. Here you need to choose “Collapse the Ribbon.” Once you choose this, the visible groups go away, and they are now hidden under the tab. You can always click on the tab to show the commands.

How to Customize Ribbons
Many times it is handy to customize Ribbons containing the commands that you frequently use. This helps save a lot of time and effort while navigating the excel workbook. In order to customize Excel Ribbons, RIGHT click on the Ribbon area and choose, customize the Ribbon
Once the dialog box opens up, click on the New Tab. Rename the New Tab and the New Group as per your liking. You can select the list of commands that you want to include in this new tab from the left-hand side. Once done, you will notice your customized tab appears in the Ribbon along with the other tabs.

What is Quick Access Toolbar
Quick Access Toolbar is a universal toolbar that is always visible and is not dependent on the tab that you are working with. For example, if you are in the Home Tab, you will see commands not only related to Home Tab but also the Quick Access Toolbar on the top executing these commands easily. Likewise, if you are in any other tab, say “Insert,” then again, you will have the same Quick Access Toolbar.

How to Customize Quick Access Toolbar
In order to customize the Quick Access Toolbar, RIGHT click on any part of the Ribbon and you will see the following. Once you click on Customize Quick Access Toolbar, you get the dialog box from where you can select the set of commands you want to see in the Quick Access Toolbar. The new quick access toolbar now contains the newly added commands. So as you can see, this is pretty simple.

What are the Tabs?
Tabs are nothing but various options available on the Ribbon. These can be used for easy navigation of commands that you desire to use.

Home Tab

Clipboard – This Clipboard Group is primarily used for Cut copy and paste. This means that if you want to transfer data from one place to another, you have two choices, either COPY (preserves the data in the original location) or CUT (deletes the data from the original location).  Also, there are options of Paste Special, which implies copy in the desired format. We will discuss the details of these later in the Excel tutorials. There is also Format Painter Excel, which is used to copy the format from the original cell location to the destination cell location.

Fonts – This font group within the Home tab is used for choosing the desired Font and size. There are hundreds of fonts available in the dropdown which we can use for. In addition, you can change the font size from small to large, depending on your requirements. Also helpful is the feature of Bold (B), Italics (I), and Underline (U) of the fonts.

Alignment – As the name suggests, this group is used for alignment of tabs – Top, Middle, or Bottom alignment of text within the cell. Also, there are other standard alignment options like Left, middle, and right alignment. There is also an orientation option that can be used to place the text vertically or diagonally. Merge and Center can be used to combine more than one cell and place its content in the middle. This is a great feature to use for table formatting etc. Wrap text can be used when there is a lot of content in the cell, and we want to make all the text visible.

Number – This group provides options for displaying number format. There are various formats available – General, accounting, percentage, comma style in excel, etc. You can also increase and decrease the decimals using this group.

Styles – This is an interesting addition to Excel. You can have various styles for cells – Good, Bad, and Neutral. There are other sets of styles available for Data and Models like Calculation, Check, Warning, etc. In addition, you can make use of different Titles and Heading options available within Styles. The format Table allows you to quickly convert the mundane data into the aesthetically pleasing data table. Conditional formatting is used to format cells based on certain predefined conditions. These are very helpful in spotting the patterns across an excel sheet.

Cells – This group is used to modify the cell – its height and width etc. Also, you can hide and protect the cell using Format Feature. You can also insert and delete new cells and rows from this group.

Editing – This group within the Home Tab is useful for Editing the data on an excel sheet. The most prominent of the commands here is the Find and Replace in Excel Command. Also, you can use the sort feature to analyze your data – sort from A to Z or Z to A, or you can do a custom sort here.

Insert Tab
Tables – This group provides a superior way to organize the data. You can use Table to sort, filter, and format the data within the sheet. In addition, you can also use Pivot Tables to analyze complex data very easily. We will be using Pivot Tables in our later tutorials.
Illustrations – This group provides a way to insert pictures, shapes, or artwork into excel. You can insert the pictures either directly from the computer, or you can also use Online Picture Option to search for relevant pictures. In addition, shapes provide additional ready-made square, circle, arrow kind of shapes that can be used in excel. SmartArt provides an awesome graphical representation to visually communicate data in the form of List, organizational charts, Venn diagram to process diagrams. Screenshot can be used to quickly insert a screenshot of any program that is open on the computer.

Apps – You can use this group to insert an existing App into excel. You can also purchase an App from the Store section. Bing Maps app allows you to use the location data from a given column and plot it on Bing Maps. Also, there is a new feature called People Data, which allows you to transform boring data into an exciting one.

Charts – This is one of the most useful features in Excel

It helps you visualize the data in a graphical format. Recommended charts allow Excel to come up with the best possible graphical combination. In addition, you can make graphs on your own, and excel provides various options like Pie-chart, Line Chart, Column Chart in Excel, Bubble Chart k in Excel, combo chart in excel, Radar Chart in Excel, and Pivot Charts in Excel.

Sparklines – Sparklines are cute tiny charts that are made on the number of data and can be displayed with these cells. There are different options available for sparklines like Line Sparkline, Column Sparkline, and Win/Loss Sparkline. We will discuss this in detail in later posts.

Filters – There are two types of filters available – Slicer allows you to filter the data visually and can be used to filter tables, pivot tables data, etc. The Timeline filter allows you to filter the dates interactively.

Hyperlink – This is a great tool to provide hyperlinks from the excel sheet to an external URL or files. Hyperlinks can also be used to create a navigation structure with the excel sheet that is easy to use.

Text – This group is used to text in the desired format. For example, if you want to have the header and footer, you can use this group. In addition, WordArt allows you to use different styling for text. You can also create your signature using the Signature line feature.

Symbols – This primarily consists of two parts. First is  Equation – this allows you to write mathematical equations that we cannot ordinarily write in an Excel sheet. Second is Symbols are special character or symbols that we may want to insert in the excel sheet for better representation

Page Layout Tab
Themes – Themes allow you to change the style and visual look of excel. You can choose various styles available from the menu. You can also customize the colors, fonts, and effects in the excel workbook.
Page Setup – This is an important group primarily used along with printing an excel sheet. You can choose margins for the print. In addition, you can choose your printing orientation from Portrait to Landscape. Also, you can choose the size of paper like A3, A4, Letterhead, etc. The print area allows you to see the print area within the excel sheet and is helpful in making the necessary adjustments. We can also add a break where we want the next page to begin in the printed copy. Also, you can add a background to the worksheet to create a style. Print Titles are like a header and footer in excel that we want to be repeated on each printed copy of the excel sheet.

Scale to Fit – This option is used to stretch or shrink the printout of the page to a percentage of the original size. You can also shrink the width as well as height to fit in a certain number of pages.

Sheet Options – Sheet options is another useful feature for printing. If we want to print the grid, then we can check the print gridlines option. If we want to print the Row and column numbers in the excel sheet, we can also do the same using this feature.

Arrange – Here, we have different options for objects inserted in Excel like Bringforward, Send Backward, Selection Pane, Align, Group Objects, and Rotate.

Formulas Tab
Function Library – This is a very useful group containing all the formulas that one uses in excel. This group is subdivided into important functions like Financial Functions, Logical Functions, Date & Timing, Lookup & References, Maths and Trigonometry, and other functions. One can also make use of Insert Function capabilities to insert the function in a cell.
Defined Names – This feature is a fairly advanced but useful feature. It can be used to name the cell, and these named cells can be called from any part of the worksheet without working about its exact locations.

Formula Auditing – This feature is used for auditing the flow of formulas and its linkages. It can trace the precedents (origin of data set) and can also show which dataset is dependent on this. Show formula can also be used to debug errors in the formula. The Watch window in excel is also a useful function to keep a tab on their values as you update other formulas and datasets in the excel sheet.

Calculations –  By default, the option selected for calculation is automatic. However, one can also change this option to manual.

Data Tab
Get External Data – This option is used to import external data from various sources like Access, Web, Text, SQL Server, XML, etc.
Power Query – This is an advanced feature and is used to combine data from multiple sources and present it in the desired format.

Connections – This feature is used to refresh the excel sheet when the data in the current excel sheet is coming from outside sources. You can also display the external links as well as edit those links from this feature.

Sort & Filter – This feature can be used to sort the data from AtoZ or Z to Z, and also you can filter the data using the drop-down menus. Also, one can choose advanced features to filter using complex criteria.

Data Tools – This is another group that is very useful for advanced excel users. One can create various scenario analyses using What If analysis – Data Tables, Goal Seek in Excel, and Scenario Manager. Also, one can convert Text to Column, remove duplicates and consolidate from this group.

Forecast – This Forecast function can be used to predict the values-based on historical values.

Outline – One can easily present the data in an intuitive format using the Group and Ungroup options from this.

Review Tab

Proofing – Proofing is an interesting feature in Excel that allows you to run spell checks in the excel. In addition to spell checks, one can also make use of thesaurus if you find the right word. There is also a research button that helps you navigate the encyclopedia, dictionaries, etc. to perform tasks better.

Language – If you need to translate your excel sheet from English to any other language, then you can use this feature.

Comments – Comments are very helpful when you want to write an additional note for important cells. This helps the user understand clearly the reasons behind your calculations etc.

Changes – If you want to keep track of the changes that are made, then one can use the Track Changes option here. Also, you can protect the worksheet or the workbook using a password from this option.

View Tab

Workbook Views – You can choose the viewing option of the excel sheet from this group. You can view the excel sheet in the default normal view, or you can choose Page Break view, Page Layout view, or any other custom view of your choice.

Show – This feature can be used to show or not show Formula bars, grid lines, or Heading in the excel sheet.

zoom – Sometimes, an excel sheet may contain a lot of data, and you may want to change zoom in or zoom out desired areas of the excel sheet.

Window – The new window is a helpful feature that allows the user to open the second window and work on both at the same time. Also, freeze panes are another useful feature that allows freezing of particular rows and columns such that they are always visible even when one scrolls to the extreme positions. You can also split the worksheet into two parts for separate navigation.

Macros – This is again a fairly advanced feature, and you can use this feature to automate certain tasks in Excel Sheets. Macros are nothing but a recorder of actions taken in excel, and it has the capability to execute the same actions again if required.

Hope this article about What are Excel Ribbon or Excel Tabs? is explanatory. Find more articles on calculating values and related Excel formulas here. If you liked our blogs, share them with your friends on Facebook. And also you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook. We would love to hear from you, do let us know how we can improve, complement or innovate our work and make it better for you. Write to us at info@exceltip.com.

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