Understand the Ribbon in Word 2010

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Understanding the Ribbon

Word 2010 is the second version of Microsoft Word that uses the Ribbon rather than toolbars and menus. We're going to take a deep dive into the Ribbon, looking at the Ribbon's design, how to use the Ribbon and how to minimize the Ribbon, so you have more room onscreen for the document that you're currently editing. When the Office Design Team created the Ribbon, they had two major goals. First, to put the commands that you and I use most frequently no more than two clicks away, one click on the Ribbon tab, one click on the command.

Second, they wanted to arrange the commands in the order in which we would most likely use them when we were creating a document. You might wonder how would they know what order we use commands in? Well, they looked at it the way that Microsoft has looked at Office products for a long time. They watched people create documents. They had users come use Microsoft Word. And they recorded their use of it, and analyzed it. They had users test of various iterations of the Ribbons that they designed to see which would work the best. And underneath it, all they understood that there is a document lifecycle a way in which documents are created and formatted, reviewed, posted and then finally made obselete and then archived.

In looking at these hundreds of users, they discovered some patterns. When users create documents, they often will start by entering and formatting text, perhaps entering then formatting or entering and formatting some text, entering and formatting additional text. But these two activities go together. When all or most of the text has been entered then, users begin adding illustrations to their document. They might, for example, include a chart or a picture. They might add other shapes or decorative elements to the document.

But they're illustrating the text in the document. With text and illustrations in place then, users turn to how will my document look when it's printed, and begin working with layout elements, which could include headers and footers. But we'll also include margins, portrait versus landscape orientation. How do my pages look? References then, if there are to be any, get added at this point, because references include things like a table of contents, as well as footnotes and endnotes. And then finally, the document now has been put together, has been properly referenced, and it's time to proof the document, or to give it to other people to review.

We shouldn't be surprised then that the tabs of the Ribbon in Word mirror that process. The Home tab, where we will enter text rearrange it using Cut, Copy and Paste and Format Text. The Insert tab, where we will insert the illustrations for our document, but then also begin, on the right end of this tab, inserting some Page Layout elements, like Headers and Footers, setting our Margins, Page Color, Page Borders on the Page Layout tab, and then References: Tables of Contents and other types of References that we might want to add.

I am going to skip the Mailings tab for a moment and go to Review, which is really the last of the Document Creation tabs. Here you'll find your personal Proofing tools and Language tools, but also all of the commands that you would use to be able to review this document with others. I'm going to return to Mailings for just a moment. This tab could have gone almost anywhere in this process. But if you were going to do a mailing, you might want to set that up including its data source before you would send it out for review. So again, we enter and format text, insert illustrations, lay out our pages for screen or for print, add references such as a Table of Content, perhaps match our document up with the data source for Mailing, and then finally we'll review that document to make sure that its spelling and grammar are correct.

Its translations, if any, are correct or review it with others using these tools over here for Tracking and Changes. The other three tabs on the Ribbon that you see here are actually about the Word environment itself. The View tab allows me to change how I see my document, including things like zoom and switching between windows. The Add-Ins tab appears because there is an add-in installed on this computer for this version of Microsoft Word. And finally, Acrobat was installed by Adobe Acrobat.

You may not have an Add-Ins or an Acrobat tab on your computer; don't worry about that. Additionally, on each tab the commands you are more likely to use are at the left end of the tab, and as you move along the tab, you get into less frequently used commands. So, on the Home tab, for example, you'll see Cut, Copy, Paste commands at the left end, and way out to the right, things like Change Styles and Find. If we look, for example, at the References tab, you'll find that Table of Contents is the frequently used command here.

We rarely are going to insert a table of authorities, so it's way over on the right-hand side. Within the tab, all of the commands are arranged in groups. While I'm seeing this document in full screen, I'm seeing all of the commands that can possibly be shown. However, if I either have a lower screen resolution, or I restore my window down to have room to do something else on my screen, my Ribbon is going to change. So if I restore down slightly and then as I begin dragging the window in, notice that Word doesn't hide any of the commands.

It doesn't take them away as it did in some prior versions. It simply collapses the group. And it does that starting on the right. So at relatively full screen, the editing group on the Home tab, I can see Find, Replace, Select. As I condense the space available, finally Editing is turned into simply a group button, and I need to know that I would look for the Find, Replace and Select commands in Editing. Now the Styles group is collapsed. The Paragraph group is getting smaller.

The Font group and finally at the point where it can't show me very much, the Ribbon itself will simply be hidden. I'm going to maximize the window again in order to bring the tabs with all of their groups back, so I can see them all. If you're a user who is used to working in a smaller size screen, for example, on a Netbook or if you frequently use two applications opened at the same time, and you don't work in a full Word window, it's going to be necessary for you to do a little more work to remember what commands are found in each of the groups.

There are some ways that I can gain additional space for editing my document here in Word. I can actually decide that I want to minimize the Ribbon, or I want to display the Ribbon. The Ribbon takes up a fair amount of space, about as much as a small paragraph of text. So I can right-click and choose Minimize the Ribbon and simply hide the entire Ribbon away for awhile. When I need then to format some text, or to change my Margins, or whatever command I want to access, I simply point to any tab and click to open the Ribbon. I can then click on other tabs, if I wish, but if I wanted to change margins, I'll find that command right here.

I can right-click and choose Minimize the Ribbon again to bring the Ribbon back. If you're a keystroke user, it's Ctrl+ F1 to hide or to display the Ribbon. Now that we've seen a little bit more about the Ribbon, there are some obvious implications for how you would work. If you broadly work left to right across the Ribbon, you'll find commands in the order in which you are likely to be using them. And if you know, for example, if there's a commands someplace on the Ribbon, and it has something to do with illustrations, you might look at the Insert tab.

If you know that there's a command that has something to do with Margins, you might know to look at the Page Layout tab, because this is how you're progressing as you're creating your document. The more you use this Ribbon, I think the more you'll appreciate how it will quickly give you access to the commands that you will use most frequently in Microsoft Word.

Understanding the Ribbon
Video duration: 8m 10s 8h 3m Beginner


Understanding the Ribbon provides you with in-depth training on Business. Taught by Gini Courter as part of the Word 2010 Essential Training

Business Education + Elearning
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