Archive for June, 2015

Minimizing / maximizing the Ribbon in Word 2010 and Word 2013

From time to time while on floor support, I get help requests from people who can’t figure out why Word’s Ribbon suddenly disappeared.  Usually it’s because they accidentally minimized (collapsed) the Ribbon.

Presumably Microsoft intended to give users an option to minimize the Ribbon because it takes up so much room at the top of the screen – much more than the traditional toolbars that were the norm prior to the release of Office 2007.  But in my experience, most users are completely unaware that the Ribbon isn’t a permanent fixture. Rather, people typically discover its shape-shifting nature only when they inadvertently shrink it.

Here are the two most common ways that happens:

  • Someone accidentally clicks the caret at the right side of the Ribbon (in Word 2010, it’s above the Ribbon and is white; in Word 2013, it’s toward the bottom of the Ribbon and is black); or
  • Someone double-clicks a tab label, not realizing that doing so collapses the Ribbon.

Other Ways to Minimize / Hide the Ribbon

Now that you know about this feature, you might decide that it’s useful to shrink the Ribbon, either permanently or every once in a while.  Either of the methods mentioned above (single-clicking the caret at the right side of the screen or double-clicking any tab label) will do the trick.

It’s also possible to collapse the Ribbon by pressing Ctrl F1 (in both versions of Word). Alternatively, you can right-click within the Ribbon or Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) and then choose “Minimize the Ribbon” (Word 2010) or “Collapse the Ribbon” (Word 2013).  These methods hide the Ribbon, but they leave the tab labels and the QAT visible.

In Word 2013, there’s another method that can be used to minimize the Ribbon or even hide it completely, along with the tab labels and the QAT.  At the very top of the screen, on the right side – between the Help icon (question mark) and the control buttons (the icons for minimizing, restoring, and closing the Word program window) – you’ll see an icon consisting of an arrow inside a box.  When you click that arrow, you can choose among three options:

  • Auto-hide Ribbon;
  • Show Tabs;
  • Show Tabs and Commands.

Auto-hide Ribbon actually hides the Ribbon, the tab labels, and the QAT, which can be a bit disconcerting if that’s not what you meant to do.  To restore all three temporarily – just long enough to click a command on the Ribbon – left-click (single-click) at the very top of the screen. Note that you have limited options for restoring all three permanently:  You must click the arrow-in-a-box icon and choose “Show Tabs and Commands.”  Or you can choose “Show Tabs,” then click the push pin icon, as described in the section below.

Show Tabs minimizes the Ribbon but leaves the tab labels and the QAT visible. Single-clicking a tab displays the Ribbon temporarily so that you can choose a command.

Show Tabs and Commands maximizes everything – in essence, it restores the status quo.

How to Maximize the Ribbon

If you minimized the Ribbon by accident, or if you did so deliberately but didn’t intend for the change to be permanent, you’ll be glad to know that there are several easy ways to restore it to its original size.

Word 2010

In Word 2010, you can do any of the following to maximize / expand / restore the Ribbon:

  • Simply click the caret at the right side of the screen, above the Ribbon (note that in Word 2010, the caret points up when the Ribbon is maximized and points down when it’s minimized); or
  • Press Ctrl F1 (this keyboard shortcut toggles between minimizing and maximizing); or
  • Right-click within the Ribbon or the QAT and click to deselect “Minimize the Ribbon“; or
  • Double-click any tab label; or
  • Single-click a tab label, then navigate to the top right side of the screen and click the push pin icon (the push pin appears in lieu of the caret when you’ve minimized the Ribbon but have single-clicked a tab label in order to apply a command from within the Ribbon).

Word 2013

In Word 2013, the caret actually disappears when you minimize the Ribbon, so you don’t have the option of clicking it again to expand / maximize / restore the Ribbon.  Instead, you can do any of the following:

  • Click the arrow-in-a-box icon and choose Show Tabs and Commands; or
  • Press Ctrl F1 (this keyboard shortcut toggles between minimizing and maximizing); or
  • Right-click within the Ribbon or the QAT and click to deselect “Collapse the Ribbon“; or
  • Double-click any tab label; or
  • Single-click a tab label, then navigate to the right side of the screen and click the push pin icon toward the bottom of the Ribbon (the push pin appears in lieu of the caret when you’ve minimized the Ribbon but have single-clicked a tab label in order to apply a command from within the Ribbon).

CAUTION:  If you have minimized the Ribbon using the arrow-in-a-box icon and the Auto-hide Ribbon option, double-clicking a tab label will not maximize the Ribbon permanently. Rather, you must click the icon again and either choose Show Tabs and then click the push pin icon or choose Show Tabs and Commands.

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June 10, 2015 at 2:13 pm


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