Hide The Microsoft Office Ribbon

When Microsoft released Office 2007 it replaced the menus and toolbars that everyone knew and loved with the ribbon. According to Microsoft the ribbon was more logical then the menus/toolbars and easier to learn. While that may or may not be true, millions of Office users had learned where the commands were located, at least for those that they used on a regular basis. These people were actually less productive when using Office 2007 because they had to re-learn the command locations. Many people could not figure out how to preview or print a document because Microsoft had removed the File menu and had replaced it with the ‘Microsoft Office Button’.


Office 2010/2013 continues with the ribbon, however, Microsoft has mercifully killed the Microsoft Office Button and brought back the File menu, although it is now called ‘Backstage View’. As you can see in the following Excel 2010 example the Backstage View does most of what the old File menu did, along with additional features.


Depending on the size of your monitor and the screen resolution, the ribbon in either of these versions takes the equivalent of four or five rows of screen ‘real estate’. To power users who already knew the old menus, this was just another reason for hating the ribbon. What many users do not know is that you can turn the ribbon display off, while the functionality is available at the click of the mouse. (Although the following sample screen shots are from Excel 2010, the procedure is the same in the other Office programs for the 2013, 2010 and 2007 versions.

To turn off the display of the ribbon, double-click one of the tab names. The ribbon disappears, with only the tab names remaining.


When you need to access any of the ribbon commands, click the appropriate tab name. The ribbon is temporarily re-displayed ‘over’ your document. [Note: that you cannot see rows 1 through 2 in the following screen capture.]


The ribbon is then re-hidden after performing the chosen task.

To turn the ribbon display on, double-click one of the tab names.

You can also try this tip on any other programs you use that have adopted the ribbon concept. For example, this tip is known to work with the SnagIt 9 and CorpTax programs.

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Customizing the Office 2010/2013 Ribbon

The biggest change in Microsoft Office 2007 was the replacement of the familiar menu/toolbar structure with ‘the ribbon’. This change was so radical that many corporations did not switch to Office 2007 in order to avoid the massive retraining costs. The most common complaint from users that had to switch to Office 2007 was “I can no longer find the commands that I used to know by heart.”

One of the useful features of Office 2010/2013 is the ability to modify the ribbon. By modifying the ribbon you can place the icons for your most used Office commands into a separate (i.e. new) tab, or you can add a group to an existing tab. You can even group the icons in a manner similar to the out-of-the-box ribbon. You also have the ability to stop the display of one or more of the built-in tabs.

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