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Excel For Noobs Tutorial: The Excel Ribbon Tabs, Commands and Buttons
The Excel Ribbon is the main location of most Excel Commands. You can see an image of the Excel ribbon in 1-2 below.
Tabs on the Ribbon
The Excel ribbon has tabs labeled as follows: File, Home, Insert, Data, Review, View and sometimes Developer depending on whether or not it is showing. Inside these tabs are Excel commands that are separated into different groups. An image of the different tabs is shown below by image 1-3.
Commands on the Ribbon?
A Command is something that tells Excel what to do. An example of a command would be the Fill Color Command as shown in image 1-4. By click this command the activated cell will be filled with the selected color.
As mentioned there are groups of commands on every ribbon offered by each individual tab. On the bottom right corner of some command groups you will see a small arrow button pointing down-right. This arrow appears in command groups that provide more command options than can fit into the command group. By clicking this button a dialog box will appear offering more options. For example, if you click on the Insert tab you will see the arrow button in the Charts Group. If you click on the right arrow button the Insert Charts dialog box will appear offering you a large variety of Chart options. This can be seen in Image 1-5 below.
NOTE: Some commands require dialog boxes to gather more information before performing the command.
Commands With Contextual Tabs
Some commands such as Charts, WordArt & Equation have contextual tabs. Contextual tabs offer options directly related to the command you are using. For example, If you click on the Equation command listed in the Insert Tab, two contextual tabs names Drawing Tools and Equation Tools will appear. This can be seen in image 1-7 below.
Types of Buttons on the Ribbon
Every command on the ribbon is a button. An explanation of the different types of buttons is shown below.
Simple Buttons: Simple buttons perform their command with one simple click. Examples of simple buttons are the Grow Font command button or Shrink Font command button which both perform exactly what they say they will with one simple click.
Toggle Buttons: A toggle button performs its task when clicked but also displays information to let you know if it is already used or not already use. An example of a toggle button would the Italics command button in the Font group. If a word is already italicized then the italics button will appear orange to let you know that it has been used. A word is either italicized or it isn’t. If a word is not italicized then it will be if cell is activated and the italics button is clicked. If a word is already italicized then by clicking the italics button the word will simply no longer be italicized.
Simple drop-downs: Any command that has an arrow pointing down is a simple drop-down. Simple drop-downs give you several different options for the command. An example of a simple drop-down would be font size. By click the down arrow a box and scroll bar will appear that offers you man different sizes to make your font. Other examples are the font face command, number format and any other buttons that have a down arrow.
Split Buttons: A split button control is a combination of a button that performs its command with one click similar to a “Simple Click Button” or a “Toggle Button” and a drop-down command. You can simply click the button and perform a command or click the arrow which will offer you several different similar options. An example of a split button would be the “Merge & Center” button. If you were to highlight some cells and click this button, it would simply merge and center the cells with one click. You could also click the down arrow and it would give you other similar options such as Merge Across, Unmerge Cells and more.
Check Boxes: Check boxes simply turn something on or off. An example of check box command can be found under gridline or headings. By checking the view box under gridlines you would be able to see the gridlines and if you unchecked it you would not be able to see the gridlines in your worksheet.
Spinners: Excel only has one command that has a spinner button. This is the Scale command listed under the scale to fit group in the Page Layout Tab. You can either scroll up or scroll down which will increase or decrease the value.
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