ID #1179

How do I find common tasks on the Microsoft Office Word ribbon?

The ribbon, shown in Figure 1-2, stretches across the top of each program?s workspace and lays out those commands in plain sight. The top of the ribbon consists of a series of tabs that serve as categories to organize common tasks. Click a tab, and the ribbon changes to a bunch of buttons, each one showing a command related to the tab. The open layout makes it easy to find the button you want.

The ribbon in Word. Click any tab, and the ribbon displays commands related to that tab. The Home tab (shown here) gathers together some of the most common actions, keeping them easy to find.

Figure 1-2. The ribbon in Word. Click any tab, and the ribbon displays commands related to that tab. The Home tab (shown here) gathers together some of the most common actions, keeping them easy to find.

Here are some basics to keep in mind as you explore the ribbon:

  • Many of the ribbon?s buttons show their function through pictures, not labels. If you?re not sure what a button does, point to it with your mouse. Up pops a tooltip that gives you the button?s name and a brief description of what it does.

  • The ribbon is divided into sections, and each section groups related commands together. So if you?re looking for a command you know is related to, say, paragraph formatting, just look for it in the Paragraph section.

  • Some sections have even more commands than can fit on the ribbon. To see everything you can do within a particular section, look for a pop-out button (with the little arrow on it) in the section?s lower-right corner. Click it to open a dialog box. For example, the Home tab?s Clipboard, Font, Paragraph, and Styles sections all have these pop-out buttons: Each one opens a dialog box or a pane that gives you even more choices related to that section.

  • The ribbon?s tabs and commands vary depending on which program you?re using. For example, PowerPoint has ribbon tabs about working with animations and transitions in a slideshow presentation, while Excel has tabs for working with formulas and data. You won?t find any of those tabs, though, in Word.

  • The Home tab brings together the most common commands. It?s your home base for working with files, and it?s where you?ll find the Clipboard (for copying and pasting), font and alignment options for text, search and replace commands, and so on.

  • The File tab is an oddball. It doesn?t change the ribbon; it takes you to the program?s backstage area, where you work with the file itself (as opposed to its content)

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