All the functions and commands that you could possibly want to use on your document can be found in the ribbon. The ribbon is the collection of commands, groups and tabs that you can see organised across the top of the workspace. Commands that perform similar operations are grouped together in groups and similar groups appear on the same tab. The ribbon was introduced in Word 2007, and replaced the old style menu and toolbar system found in previous versions of Word. Many Word users resented the replacement of the old File > Menu system and thought that the ribbon might disappear quietly. That didn’t happen, though.
Let’s have a closer look at the ribbon now.
Here are the tabs.
Highlighted above are the Home tab (1), Insert tab (2) and Design tab (3), but you can see that there are more tabs available to cater to other like-grouped functions. Within each tab are groups. Here is the Table of Contents group, Footnotes group and so on.
And within each group are the commands. So, highlighted above you can see the Tables and Illustrations groups, within the Insert tab.
Let’s have a go at using a command in the ribbon right now – join in at home if you want. First of all, let’s get some random text.
Note: to get random text, type in =rand(5, 5) and press Enter. This will generate 5 paragraphs of 5 lines each.
Now let’s select a couple of words (1), go to the Home tab, and make that text bold by clicking on the bold button (2).
Some groups have dialog launchers which, when clicked, open up a new dialog containing more commands. These dialog launchers are usually found in the bottom right hand corner, so let’s just click the dialog launcher for the paragraph group. Now we can see more commands related to fonts in the Paragraph window.
Let’s close this down by clicking on the “X” in the top right of the window..
The ribbon can also contain contextual tabs, which pop up when you’ve selected certain elements in your document.
To demonstrate, let’s insert an image. I’ll place the cursor at the end of a paragraph and press Enter to make some room for the image and then go to the Insert tab, click on Pictures, double click on the “Happy Penguins” here, and notice the Picture Tools tab has appeared in the ribbon because we have the picture selected.
If we click anywhere else in the document to deselect the image, the Picture Tools tab disappears, and then reappears again when we reselect the image.