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In Excel for Mac 2011 Essential Training, author Curt Frye gives a comprehensive overview of Excel, the full-featured spreadsheet software from Microsoft. The course covers key skills such as manipulating workbook and cell data, using functions, automating actions, printing worksheets, and collaborating with others. Exercise files accompany the course.
When the Excel 2011 product team designed the Ribbon user interface, they brought groups of users into their testing labs to see how well it worked. The team changed the design based on that feedback, and ended up with the configuration you see here. Designing a program such as Excel, which is used by millions of people, means the team had to make compromises when they decided to where a command should go. If you like, you can modify the Ribbon to meet your needs. One way to change the Ribbon is to minimize it, in other words to show only the tabs of Home, Layout, Tables, and so on. To do that, you can quickly the Minimize Ribbon button here at the right side of the Ribbon, and now you get an additional four or five rows on your screen.
If on the other hand, you want to redisplay the Ribbon, you can click the button again, and it reappears. Another way to manage the Ribbon is to change the order of its tabs. For example, let's say you're editing a workbook that contains a chart. If you prefer to have the Charts tab all the way to the left, then you can change its position. To do that, you click the Ribbon Preferences button here on the right side of the Ribbon and then click Customize Ribbon Tab Order. When you do, the Ribbon changes. So, for example, you can see that each of the tabs, in this case Review, has three vertical bars and also what looks like a close button, and in fact that is a close button.
If I were to click that close button, then the Review tab would be hidden. It's not deleted; you can still get it back, but it's just been hidden for the moment. If I want to reset the Ribbon to undo the changes that I've made, I can click the Reset button here, and everything comes back, and I move out of editing mode. Okay, so let's go back to changing the Ribbon Tab Order, customizing the Ribbon Tab Order. These three vertical bars allow you to drag one of the Ribbon tabs to a new position. In this case, we wanted to move Charts over to the left, so we can move it here, past Tables, past Layout, and Home will always stay at the left, because that's the most commonly used, and now you've reordered the Ribbon.
So, instead of having to move all the way over to the right to find the Charts, you can just click it here. When you're done changing the Ribbon this way, changing the order of the tabs, you can click Done and the Ribbon takes on its new configuration. You can also control your Ribbon's Preferences by opening the Preferences dialog box to the Ribbon page. To do that, click the Ribbon Preferences button again and then click the Ribbon Preferences menu item. And remember, anytime you see three dots, or an ellipsis, at the end of a menu item, it means that you'll open a dialog box.
There are a lot of options on the Ribbon page of the Preferences dialog. I'll just go through a few of them, the ones that are the most important and that you'll use the most often. For example, if you want to get rid of the Ribbon entirely, instead of merely minimizing it, you can clear the Turn on the Ribbon check box and then click OK, and the Ribbon goes away entirely. I do not recommend doing this unless you have some compelling reason to do so. There are some commands that are only available through the Ribbon; they're not available through the menu system or the toolbar.
So that means you're limiting the possibilities of what you can do with the program. To bring the Ribbon back, you can go to Excel, click Preferences, and then, within the Preferences dialog box, click Ribbon to redisplay the Ribbon page of the Preferences dialog. Then you can check Turn on the Ribbon, and as soon as you click OK, the Ribbon will come back. So what are some other options that you can use? One option, that if you prefer, you can hide group titles; where before we had a group title such as Font or Styles or Formats, if you check this box, then you'll hide those titles.
Again, it's a matter of personal preference. I choose to leave them there, because it helps me find the commands that I'm looking for. You can also customize the color of the Ribbon. So, for example, if you want to change the color from green to graphite, which is more of a gray, you can change its appearance by clicking this button here and selecting which of the two color schemes that you're looking for. I'll leave it on Graphite for the moment and when I do, the Ribbon is restored, and it has its new color, and again, this is all a matter of personal preference. I believe the Ribbon helps new Excel users discover what the program can do and find what you need quickly.
If you want to change how the Ribbon looks or change the order of its tabs to fit the way you work, you can do so quickly. Please do take some time to work with the program as it is before you start changing things. You might discover the program works just fine.
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