Microsoft Office 2010 Engineering

The official blog of the Microsoft Office product development group

Making the Ribbon Mine

Making the Ribbon Mine

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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.

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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.

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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)!

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

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Applying your customizations.

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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.

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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!”.

Comments
  • <P>Hey, I enjoyed this!</P> <P>Thank you!</P>

  • <P>wow!! this is impressive! I have to confess that this is really new for me.</P> <P>I'm even start thinking to dedicate a series of videos of everything I've learned about the new Office2010!</P> <P>Thanks for sharing!!</P>

  • <P>I've been fiddling with the Ribbon and was unable to find a way to save customization to a particular template. &nbsp;This is an important feature -- I don't want my users struggling with a UI filled with custom ribbon items that are only usable on a specific template, such as a letter or pleading.</P> <P>Will we still be able to use the techniques to customize the ribbon in 2007? &nbsp;The document structure seems to be somewhat different. &nbsp;Please say this can still be done or you've actually made the interface a little worse for me.</P> <P>Thanks!</P>

  • <P>This is great! Can't wait to it test out. </P> <P>Just one question. Is there a way to preview your changes in the customization dialog without committing the changes? </P>

  • <P>i like the ability to customize the ribbon, but that 5 button group layout below the customize ribbon window looks like something i would design. hopefully you come up with &nbsp;better layout before office 2010 ships.</P>

  • <P>Can you customise right-click pop-up menus too? I am an Access Developer and customising menus/toolbars in 2007 is a nightmare!</P>

  • <P>I'm surprised. </P> <P>Wasn't abuse of the customization features (or accidental misuse) the root of all evil with the toolbars which lead to the "always there", "always same" Ribbon UI?</P> <P>I don't mind folks or vendors being able to add customized tabs to the ribbon, but modifying built-in tabs increases support and learning cost. </P> <P>And still, the customization is apparently per-user, not per-document, so the usefulness of this feature is limited.</P> <P>I hope this feature can be disabled using group policy.</P>

  • <P>This is good but it can be better in following ways.</P> <P>1)The entry point to Ribbon customization should not be in Options. It should be outside of it. In fact option should be divided into three categories.i.e Options, Advance Options &amp; customization Options</P> <P>2) Second and most important is that a preview window should be available for new tabs.</P> <P>3) Although they are still the best but icons need to be more specific task oriented and of very high scalable quality.e.g if i want DELETE ROWS command icon in my tab to be bigger it should look good</P> <P>Thanks, and keep up the good work for billions of people around the globe</P>

  • <P>Final proof that Office 2007 was indeed nothing but an unfinished beta version of Office 2010. Can I have my money back?</P>

  • <P>Rob,</P> <P>That is a idiotic comment!</P>

  • <P>Here we go again... I cringe at the prospect of this feature being widely used. </P> <P>While adding a new custom tab would be OK, changing built-in ones brings back the not-so-fond memories of "where is my toolbar" phone calls.</P>

  • <P>Would you please include an option to make the Ribbon look like the classic UI? That way, those of us who stayed with Office 2003 because we didn't want to deal with the 2007 Ribbon, can have a familiar starting point for customization.</P> <P>In addition, will the 2010 Ribbon be easily navigable using the Alt key and shortcuts, along the lines of classic UI?</P> <P>So far, it looks like the 2010 Ribbon may actually be far more usable, esp. to those who have been using the classic UI for many years, rather than the abomination known as the 2007 Ribbon.</P>

  • <P>I like the "Customize Ribbon" feature, and the fact that you can import and export the customized Ribbons from user to user, in fact it is probably the main reason to upgrade to Office 2010 from Office 2007. &nbsp;However it would be nice if the final release allowed you to import or export just an individual Ribbon Tab, instead of “All” customizations.</P> <P>That way if I had a customized Ribbon Tab in Word 2010 named "Regulatory Formatting", and I needed to import a new customized Ribbon Tab for say "Manufacturing Formatting", I could do that without losing my customized "Regulatory Formatting" Ribbon Tab. &nbsp;This would make this new feature much more user business and user friendly.</P> <P>One other thing I would like to see in Office 2010 is a way to create a document that will expire after a certain time or after it is opened a certain number of times. &nbsp;Perhaps this could be done for *XPS formatted documents created from an original office formatted document (e.g. Word). &nbsp;There are rights management solutions for businesses out there that can make sure documents expire, but they are too costly/difficult/unpredictable for home users. &nbsp; </P> <P>Back to the 2010 Ribbon. &nbsp;The "Customize Ribbon" feature is definitely a real nice feature. &nbsp;One last thought, it would be nice if you could change the tab color to one of your choice to add that extra piece of customization to a new tab.</P>

  • <P>Melissa,</P> <P>Is it possible to add a Custom Split button in a .exportedUI file</P> <P>I tried several permutations and it would not load</P> <P>Could you kindly share the XML</P> <P>Also for a more professional UI for customizing the ribbon, see <A href="http://www.andypope.info/vba/ribboneditor.htm" rel=nofollow target=_new>http://www.andypope.info/vba/ribboneditor.htm</A></P> <P>It lets you choose the size of button, the button image, the type etc. The current customization Dialog in 2010 looks like Beta 1.0</P> <P>Rob,</P> <P>That is true with any "new" product from MS</P> <P>Wait for SP3 is the golden rule.</P> <P>2010 is still WIP.... the File Menu(Tab) is back..Thanks to the tremendous feedback from their "Usability" labs</P> <P>The next version will have the Edit Tab....And by 2020 the whole menu will be back</P> <P>Amol</P> <P>There are several Classic UI Options...other than wait for 2020.</P> <P>Here is one that i recommend</P> <P><A href="http://www.codematic.co.uk/excel-tools/Excel-2007-classic-menu-tab-1.htm" rel=nofollow target=_new>http://www.codematic.co.uk/excel-tools/Excel-2007-classic-menu-tab-1.htm</A></P>

  • <P>Brilliant feature, I will certainly make use of it!</P> <P>How about a option to create a 'Frequently used' tab that automatically places your mos commonly used commands on it...or even recently used commands...</P> <P>Cheers</P>

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