Microsoft Word adopted the Ribbon User Interface (UI) with
the introduction of Office 2007. This page explores some of the variations
on that Ribbon through the versions. In composing this page, a deliberate
choice was made to not resize images. This makes for a wide page, especially
on mobile devices. Narrower versions with resized images are available as
narrow version and
very narrow version. They may not be
updated as often.
I am not a great lover of the Ribbon. MS tells us that it is
easier for beginners to use, and they may be right.
For experienced users,
there is a tremendous learning curve. From Word 2007 on, it has been
possible to modify the Ribbon. In Word 2007 this required an ability to code
in vba and XML. In the later versions it has been possible to make much more
limited modifications through the interface. All versions since 2007 have
included the Quick Access Toolbar as the only easily modifiable toolbar.
This is in sharp contrast to Word 97-2003 where all of the menus and
toolbars were easily modified from within the interface.
For a start on modifying the ribbon using XML and vba, I
recommend Greg Maxey's site, starting with
Customize the Ribbon (It doesn't take rocket science) . An essential
book, and not just for Word 2007, is
RibbonX: Customizing the Office 2007 Ribbon - by Robert Martin, Ken Puls,
and Theresa Hennig.
What I will do here is show some variations over time on the tabs I
commonly used in Word.
Incidentally, I recently discovered that if you hover your
mouse pointer over the Ribbon and use the wheel on the mouse, it will scroll
horizontally through the tabs!
Problems with Ribbon display are discussed at the
bottom of this page.
The non-context tabs (always available): Home -
Insert - Draw - Design - Page Layout -
References - Mailings -
Review - View -
Developer - Help
Some context tabs:
Table Design - Table
Layout - Header & Footer Tools -
Drawing Tools - Picture Tools
- Equation Tools
Not Ribbon "Tabs" - Backstage - The
Office Button and File Button
On the left end of the Ribbon is a special button to take
you to Word's "backstage." In Word 2007 this is the multi-color Office
button. In the later versions it appears to be a blue tab named File. You do
not see the document when you click on one of these. You also do not see
any of the Ribbon tabs when your are in Backstage view. Pressing Esc returns
you to the document view in the tab that you were viewing last. If you don't
see your tab's controls chances are that you have minimized the Ribbon.
There are screenshots from the Backstage view at the bottom of this page.
Minimizing the Ribbon - making
more room to see your document
If you right-click on a Ribbon tab one of the options is to
minimize/maximize the ribbon. Double-clicking on any tab or pressing the Ctrl+F1 key combination will do the same
thing. In Word 2010 and later because the File Button is blue/black, it is easy to
think that the File "Tab"
has been selected or become the default when the Ribbon is minimized. Here
is a sample of a minimized Ribbon.
If the Ribbon is minimized, you can use the same process
to bring it back: (1) double-click on any ribbon tab, or (2) right-click
on any ribbon tab and uncheck "minimize the ribbon," or, (3) Press the
Ctrl+F3 keyboard shortcut.
In Word 2013 or later, there is an additional switch
that can cause it to entirely disappear until you move your cursor to
the top of the screen. That is the AutoHide option. The control for this
is an arrow in a box at the top-right corner of the window by the X to
close a document. Using AutoHide also hides the QAT and the Status Bar.
It gives you your document in print mode with the rulers.
The Home Tab - the basic workspace in a
-Word 2007 - wider
-Word 2007 - narrower
I won't do this with each tab. The three tabs above are all
screenshots of the ribbon on the same computer. Word repackages the ribbon
tabs to fit the available space.
In the wider version, it gives more space to the Styles
Gallery. In the narrower version some buttons shrink or lose captions. The
combination of screen size and resolution determines what you will see,
so your ribbons may not look exactly like any of the ones shown here.
Another example showing different screen layouts is in the Word 2010 version
of the Drawing Tools contextual tab below. Your ribbon may or may
not have a Developer Tab,
that is up to you.
The Word 2007 and 2010 tabs shown are from a laptop running
Windows Vista. The Word 2013/365 tabs are from a desktop tower running Windows 7
on a larger screen or from a laptop running Windows 10.
Word 2010 - Narrower
(Note the collapse of the QuickStyles Gallery and Editing Group. The Quick
Styles gallery is now available through the button. Other groups are
compressed. This is less than half as wide as the one immediately
Word 2013 - Narrower
Original Word 2016
Word 2016/365 in 2018 - Note Voice/Dictate Group on Right -
this is likely to be the starting point for Word 2019
Word 365 in late 2018 - likely to be 2019's Insert - note that
Feedback (smiley face) no longer there - it has been moved to under File tab
The Store icon has been changed to Get Add-Ins. It serves
the same function
WordArt Dropdown in the Insert Tab
WordArt has been a component of Word for some time and
continues under the Insert Tab. However, its appearance differs.
This gallery dropdown is the view of WordArt straight from
This changed dramatically in Word 2010. However, once
WordArt is created, the use of Text Effects under the Drawing Tools Context
Tab can manipulate it.
Note, that this is in a document in Word 2010 native .docx
format. If the document is in Word 97-2003 .doc format we see the same
gallery as in Word 2007.
However, it is possible to have your cake and eat it too!
The next screenshot is from a Word 2010 screen in a document formatted as a
native Word 2010 .docx document. An Add-in containing a custom Building
Blocks (AutoText) gallery is in use. That .dotx template also has a QAT
modification to allow quick access to the gallery. This was done using
tools from Greg Maxey's site (not required, just easier) and contains no
macros. This Add-In can be downloaded for free from my
If instead, you used Insert > WordArt in this document, you
would get the Word 2010 dropdown.
The Draw Tab - Word 2016-19/365 only
The Design Tab - Word 2013-19/365 only
This tab takes controls that were previously on the Page
Layout and Insert tabs and expands them. It is primarily about themes. I
don't know that it introduces any new controls.
Here are some of the galleries accessed through this tab:
Can give access to this dialog:
Page Background Colors:
If you move your mouse pointer over choices, a tip will
show you what the settings will be.
Custom Paragraph Spacing takes you to the Manage Styles
Set Defaults Dialog
The Design Tab in Word 2016 is unchanged from Word 2013.
Word 2016/365 - Layout Tab
The Layout Tab in Word 2016/365 is the same as the Page
Layout Tab in Word 2013.
Note that in later versions of Office 365 the Feedback
button has been moved to under the File button.
Word 365 as of 9/2018 - likely to be Word 2019
Note that in later versions of Office 365, the Feedback
(smiley face) is under the File button, not at the top of the Ribbon.
Word 365 Sept. 2018 - added Resume and Ink groups - likely
to be 2019 tab
Word 365 Sept 2018 - likely to be Office 2019 - added SharePoint Properties
Ways to View a Document in Word - Office Watch
(This is an optional tab. If you don't see this tab on your computer or have
questions about the controls on the tab, use the link above.)
In Word 2016+ the Developer Tab is displayed by default.
The Help Tab (Office 365/2019 and
Some of the tabs only show up when Word thinks you can use
them. If you insert a table and are in the table, you will see two
The Table Design Tab (Contextual)
- must be in a table
Table Tools Design Tab - Word 2007
Table Tools Design Tab - Word 2010
Table Tools Design Tab - Word 2013
Note the draw table and eraser commands have been moved from
this tab to the Layout tab.
Table Tools Design Tab - Word 2016
The Table Layout Tab (Contextual)
- must be in a table
Table Tools Layout Tab - Word 2007
Table Tools Layout Tab - Word 2010
Table Tools Layout Tab - Word 2013
Note the Draw Table and Eraser are in the Draw group on this
tab in Word 2013-2019/365.
Table Tools Layout Tab - Word 2016
Header and Footer Tools Tab
(Contextual) - must be in a header or footer
Header and Footer Tools Design Tab - Word 2007
Header and Footer Tools Design Tab - Word 2010
The Header and Footer Tools tab is similar in Word 2013.
Header & Footer Tools Design Tab 2016 / 365
In Word 2016 a button is added for Document Info.
Word 2019 / 365
As is often the case, the Document Info button simply gives you another
spot to find a command.
It returns the functionality of the AutoText entries for
Document Name and path from the Menu versions of Word.
The Author and Document Title are the same as the Author and
Title Document Property content controls.
File Name and File Path are simply the FileName Field
without and with the /p path switch.
Both Document Property and Field are also under the Quick
Drawing Tools Format Tab (Contextual)
- must have a drawing object selected or be in one
Drawing Format Tab - Word 2007
Drawing Format Tab - Word 2010
(wider screen version - note expanded captions for some icons)
The 2010 version appears to have dropped a number of options to allow for
the WordArt and Text groups. In reality, the effects have been moved to the
Shape Effects drop-down.
(Narrow version of 2010 Drawing Tools Format tab)
Drawing Format Tab - Word 2013
Drawing Format Tab - Word 2016/365 - adds Accessibility group with Alt Text
Word 2019 / 365
Picture Tools Format Tab (Contextual) - must
have an image selected
Picture Tools Format Tab - Word 2007
Picture Tools Format Tab - Word 2010
(Picture Shape moved from Picture Styles to a drop-down
under Crop in the Picture Size group)
Picture Tools Format Tab - Word 2013
Picture Tools Format Tab - Word 2016/365 - adds Alt Text
button in Accessibility Group
Word 2019 / 365
Equation Design Tools (Contextual) -
must have equation selected - can insert an equation from the Insert Tab
More on the Backstage View
Again, backstage contains information about the document and
Word. It gives you access to controls for the document like Save, Send and
Print; it gives you access to control over Word options that let you change
how Word works in all documents. Again, in any version of Word you can
return to the document view and other ribbon tabs by pressing the Esc button
on your keyboard. The Backstage could easily be the subject of a separate
page and perhaps some day it will be. Here are just some pictures.
Backstage - Word 2007
Backstage - Word 2010
Backstage - Word 2013