Making the Ribbon Mine

Hello, my name is Melissa Kerr and I am a Program Manager on the Office User Experience team. Today I'm introducing the era of “This is your Ribbon!”, made possible by the new Ribbon customization feature available in Office 2010. Ribbon customization is available across all Office 2010 client applications, and allows you to create a personalized Ribbon optimized to the way you work with the application.

Customization is the ability to add, remove and relocate commands within an application, and is not a new idea. It began with Command Bars in Office 97, progressed to the Quick Access Toolbar in Office 2007, and now has evolved to include Ribbon customization with Office 2010.

Why would I customize?

Office is used by approximately one billion people worldwide, and we know the default organization of commands can’t possibly match the preferences of every single one of our customers.

Using customization in Office 2010, you can group your favorite and most frequently used commands in one location, or remove seldom used commands. Or maybe you have a repetitive task that you’d like to accomplish in fewer mouse clicks. You now have the ability to put those commands on a custom tab, or add them to a new group on an existing tab.

Let's say that you are an editor for a local newspaper and that your company uses Word 2010 to review all articles that are going to print. When reviewing articles, you find that a specific set of commands are used over and over. You’d love for all those commands to be located together on a single tab, making each command only a single click away.


An example of a customized Ribbon.

The Options dialog provides a user interface for customizing the Ribbon, which doesn’t require any coding. To launch this dialog, you can either right click on the Ribbon and click “Customize the Ribbon”, or enter through “Options” on the File tab.



Two entry points to Ribbon customization

The commands you frequently use are located on different tabs, therefore you decide that creating a new custom tab with all of them in one location would be the easiest way to streamline your work and get the results you want faster.

  • First, create a new custom tab by clicking ‘New Tab’(1 in the image below).
  • You can rename the custom tab to better reflect its contents (2 in the image below).
  • Using the filters available in the left dropdown, you can find your frequently used commands (3 in the image below). For example, a few of those commands are located on the Review tab, so you look under the Main Tabs filter. Some other commands are located on the File tab, so you look under the File Tab filter.
  • Once a desired command is located, drag and drop it into a custom group (4 in the image below)!


When all customizations are completed, click OK to create your custom Ribbon.


Applying your customizations.


End result of your Ribbon customizations.

Joe, your coworker on floor 3, heard that you created a personalized Ribbon that is optimized to the way you work with Word. He wants what you have! Well, that's easy… Sharing your customizations is as simple as exporting a single file and sending it to him.


Importing & exporting customizations.

Importing and exporting customization files can also benefit many scenarios within an organization. For example, an IT department can create a company-wide custom Ribbon and then distribute it to the entire organization via policy and Office configuration deployment. That will ensure all employees are using the organization’s customized Ribbon.

Features of Ribbon Customization

Ribbon customization capabilities are not limited to the above scenario. Here is a list of the major functionality that Ribbon customization offers:

  • Creating custom tabs and custom groups
  • Adding custom and built-in groups to both custom and built-in tabs
  • Adding commands to custom groups. Note that you can drag and drop in the Options dialog to add and rearrange tabs, groups, and commands
  • Renaming any tab, group, or command
  • Changing an icon used for any group or command
  • Hiding any tab (without deleting it), so you can reuse it later
  • Removing built-in groups from built-in tabs
  • Choosing to show only icons (without labels) for commands in a custom group. This allows you to fit a lot of commands into a single custom group.
  • Resetting single tabs back to the default state or resetting all customizations
  • Exporting all customizations to a file that can be imported and used on other computers
  • Use administrative policies to restrict customizations to the user interface
  • Use administrative policies to control roaming of customizations, which allows user customizations to be available on any network computer upon log on
  • Distribute customizations to multiple users by using operating scripts

Thanks for reading and I hope that you will enjoy the era of “This is your Ribbon!”.