And the Blue Ribbon goes to…!

Floating toolbars and cascading menus are so passé! Instead Office 2007 gives us The Ribbon, which is what the wide band that runs across the top of your document is called. You may scramble around trying to find the location for all the familiar options that you once had at your finger tips, but stop and look at the Ribbon. The Ribbon will show you all the features and commands that you never even knew existed.

The Ribbon comes with seven tabs. Each tab has certain commands that are grouped together. From the Home tab, the Font group gives you the option to change case, size, color or a different font for your document. While the Paragraph group lets you customize the spacing options for your document and provides even more commands within easy reach, like adding Bullets, sorting numerical data or alphabetizing selected text.

You want to insert something on your document? Just click the Insert tab and you have the option to insert tables, charts, pictures, text boxes or a header/footer. Commands that were once buried within multiple layers are now displayed right before you on the Ribbon. In addition to the standard tabs that are always present, there also exists the Contextual tab. These tabs only appear when you are working with an object that you have inserted or selected on your document. For instance, when you insert a table in your document and click on it, contextual tabs, Design and Layout will appear under the heading Table Tools, providing you with commands that you can use to format your table.

Every command has a hidden label so if you don’t know what an icon does just hover over that icon and you will see a label pop up that will include a brief definition describing the task it performs. It’s all very clever and impressive.

If you find the Ribbon too intrusive, you can always minimize it to make more space available on your screen. Simply double-click any one of the seven tabs and the Ribbon can be hidden only to appear when you need to use any of the commands. To use the Ribbon while it is minimized, click the tab you want to use, and then click the option or command you want to use. After you finish using a certain command, the Ribbon will go back to being minimized.
For all you keyboard users, here’s a shortcut: To minimize or restore the Ribbon, press CTRL+F1.Have fun!
-Rina B.


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