Making the Ribbon Mine

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.


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.



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)!


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


Applying your customizations.


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.


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 (91)

  1. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been fiddling with the Ribbon and was unable to find a way to save customization to a particular template.  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.

    Will we still be able to use the techniques to customize the ribbon in 2007?  The document structure seems to be somewhat different.  Please say this can still be done or you’ve actually made the interface a little worse for me.


  2. Anonymous says:

    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  better layout before office 2010 ships.

  3. Peter Schmidt says:

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

  4. Anonymous says:


    That is a idiotic comment!

  5. Luskool says:

    Hey, I enjoyed this!

    Thank you!

  6. Rolando Peralta says:

    wow!! this is impressive! I have to confess that this is really new for me.

    I’m even start thinking to dedicate a series of videos of everything I’ve learned about the new Office2010!

    Thanks for sharing!!

  7. zz says:

    This is great! Can’t wait to it test out.

    Just one question. Is there a way to preview your changes in the customization dialog without committing the changes?

  8. I’m surprised.

    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?

    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.

    And still, the customization is apparently per-user, not per-document, so the usefulness of this feature is limited.

    I hope this feature can be disabled using group policy.

  9. asif says:

    This is good but it can be better in following ways.

    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 & customization Options

    2) Second and most important is that a preview window should be available for new tabs.

    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

    Thanks, and keep up the good work for billions of people around the globe

  10. Rob says:

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

  11. typedef says:

    Here we go again… I cringe at the prospect of this feature being widely used.

    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.

  12. Amol says:

    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.

    In addition, will the 2010 Ribbon be easily navigable using the Alt key and shortcuts, along the lines of classic UI?

    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.

  13. dbh says:

    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.  However it would be nice if the final release allowed you to import or export just an individual Ribbon Tab, instead of “All” customizations.

    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.  This would make this new feature much more user business and user friendly.

    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.  Perhaps this could be done for *XPS formatted documents created from an original office formatted document (e.g. Word).  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.  

    Back to the 2010 Ribbon.  The “Customize Ribbon” feature is definitely a real nice feature.  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.

  14. sam says:


    Is it possible to add a Custom Split button in a .exportedUI file

    I tried several permutations and it would not load

    Could you kindly share the XML

    Also for a more professional UI for customizing the ribbon, see

    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


    That is true with any “new” product from MS

    Wait for SP3 is the golden rule.

    2010 is still WIP…. the File Menu(Tab) is back..Thanks to the tremendous feedback from their “Usability” labs

    The next version will have the Edit Tab….And by 2020 the whole menu will be back


    There are several Classic UI Options…other than wait for 2020.

    Here is one that i recommend

  15. Oliver says:

    Brilliant feature, I will certainly make use of it!

    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…


  16. Neil says:

    Have you also allowed us to once again attach macros to icons which we can place wherever we want on the ribbon, per 2003 and earlier versions?  

  17. Wells Fargo says:

    Great news, great feature! Should be included with Office 2007 already, tho.

    And how about the “tearable” floating toolbar paradigm which made PowerPoint usage so efficient and could make efficient use of today’s big wide screens too?

    Any chance to resurrect this as well?

  18. alan says:

    Let’s go back in time, shall we…

    Sigh.  They took away cutomization because it was the short lived sitcom “Joey”.  In other words, alot of people customize, but that “alot” is really a little when you look at all the people who use Word.

    “So, we took a pragmatic approach and decided to focus on the 99.7% case: people who don’t take advantage of customization or only use it to customize four or fewer commands. Out of this goal was born the Quick Access Toolbar.”

    “Even the least successful network shows attract a lot of viewers in absolute terms–just not relative to the opportunity cost of keeping them on the air. Financially, it doesn’t make sense for a network like NBC to keep around an underwatched sitcom like “Joey,” but if you’re one of the people who like “Joey” it doesn’t sting any less when it’s canceled. The fact that you’re in a small minority doesn’t console you.”

    It’s not an amazing step forward, it’s a giant leap backwards.  I aplaud it, certainly… but coming from someone whose company lost their mind over the changes between 2003 and 2007 to which they had to adapt, why did it take so long.

  19. Max says:

    In office 2003 your have the option of moving the commands on the horizontal menu bars.  Second, you can make make the icons ‘Large’ or regular size.

    I have low vision.  I make the icons ‘large’ for easier reading.

    Is there an equivalent ‘large’ option in customizing Office 2010?

  20. Mustafa Mohamed says:

    I like the idea of being able to create and customize my own Ribbon. It’s a great time saver and very useful. However, here are my concerns:

    1. Don’t allow users to modify the built-in tabs!!!! This will be a nightmare as Office 2010 applications won’t have a real “fixed” shape. At the very least add a “Reset tabs to default” option.

    2. It would be better if there’s a live preview of the changes made.

    3. Please make this feature easier to access as most end users would neither dig deep into the “Options” to find it out, nor learn about it by chance. Such a feature is good and should be made accessible.

    4. Being able to hide and unhide tabs should be easier than that (and not in the “Options”). What if more than one person is using the same application and each uses a custom tab?

    5. In terms of security, doesn’t this provide an opportunity for malicious software to play with the built-in tabs??

    Some people might’ve already mentioned some of these, but I’ll restate them to stress their importance, especially NOT allowing end-users to mess around with built-in tabs.

  21. axel says:


    so we can customize again.

    That’s really good news!

    But can we also have additional custom ribbons (commandbars), please?

    Floating or attached to any side of the screen?

    It is such a great feature in office-versions <2007 to have custom toolbars everywhere.

    Allways in ones view and without being forced to select any tab before getting to the buttons.

    And with our own macros and functions.

    The unflexible ribbon has always been the main reason to NOT switch to O2k7.

    (apart from the severe compatibility problems between 2003 and 2007 especially in Powepoint.

    But thats an other story…).


  22. anon says:

    “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?”

    Yes and no. It was perhaps *too* easy, because a lot of times customization was accidental, and non-power users ended up with strange arrangements of toolbars and they didn’t know how to revert.

    In this case, by being buried in the options, it’s a lot harder to make changes accidentally, and they can keep power users by still having it.

    “I hope this feature can be disabled using group policy.”

    At the end of the article, it says you can use admin policies to restrict it :).

  23. Jim Hanson says:

    dang. when you add a command–you get a choice of a small icon with no text or a large icon with text.

    so, i get a ribbon i can’t understand with all of my commands or i have to create 3 ribbons with all of my commands.


    anyway, i can change this? anyway, microsoft would add the ability to show icons with small text to the right (like it is in 2003)?

  24. Jim Hanson says:

    okay, if you add enough icons with text when customizing, they will change to small (the ribbon just adjusts the size automatically).

    it somewhat makes creating the customized ribbon difficult but it is acceptable.

    i wish they were small icons with text right from the start.

  25. brad says:

    Two features will really set this off for business:

    1. Make sure that Ribbon customisations can be stored in templates so that Ribbon customisations for specific Excel, Word & PowerPoint templates are easily available for users needing business use customisations.

    2. Allow Ribbon events to trigger VBA code or macros.  Business will find that a no brainer over web based viewers.

  26. Marty says:

    So you make the ribbon customizable so you can use it better – more proof it was defective from the onset.  Keep applying bandaids – maybe the ribbon fiasco will eventually heal….

    What happens for those who jump on and off many machines – like conference rooms?  Can you carry a USB drive around with your ribbon prefences so Office is useful on every machine you use – not just your personal machine?  Otherwise, log onto a new machine and you are again as unproductive as the day you first loaded Office 2007.

  27. joesixgig says:

    Beta runs fine, but for some reason the drag and drop in the ribbon customization panel is not working for me. I also have only three buttons in the lower right of that dialog (Modify, Reset and Import/Export). I’m using version 14.0.4536.1000, 32bit. Running as Admin didn’t help. Is this an issue with running Win7 RC, or is something else wrong? -Joe

  28. Đonny says:

    This sounds good. Finally Office 2010 will bring functionality of 2003 back. If I can make my ribbon float or dock it to any side of window I’ll be absolutely happy.

  29. Graham says:

    The inability to customise ribbons in 2007 is really annoying; recreate the 2003 editing options. Additionally improve adding ribbons to templates, so when I create a custom ribbon for a template (particularly Excel) I can change the ribbon and everyone immediately has access to it.

    The ability to see more than one toolbar in 2003 is very useful, but this could be overcome by creating a new toolbar, but I don’t like customising the standard toolbars too much as that creates useability problems when I use other PCs.

    Also can ALL ribbons have meaningful names, what does a ribbon called ‘Home’ do?

  30. Roberdan1 says:

    Actually I measured the impact of this feature and with 10 mins of customization I save half day of work in the past month. Of couse I saved more time stopping to go useless meetings, but you know, half day in a month doing a basic customization of the Outlook interface based on my specific needs it’s still not bad

  31. John says:

    I agree with Axel:

    “can we also have additional custom ribbons (commandbars), please?

    Floating or attached to any side of the screen?

    It is such a great feature in office-versions <2007 to have custom toolbars everywhere”.

    And also with Graham:

    “The ability to see more than one toolbar in 2003 is very useful”.”Also can ALL ribbons have meaningful names”.

    I Use OneNote and not dispense the thin toolbar close to the pens, on the left side.

    The possibility of having more than one ribbon could solve this!

    It was good that could have a thin ribbon to not take up much space.

    Please do with this to be possible, at least in Onenote.

  32. Jonathan Johnson says:

    Obviously, customizable button bars and the general ease of customizing things like the right-click menus must be brought back. With the new reduced interface, Microsoft has just gone backwards to about 2002.

    This is what I learned from the beta: Do not buy Word 2010.

  33. Paul Egan says:

    Is it possible to put the accursed ribbon to the side?  Screens are getting wider, not taller, and I want to put all this graphic junk to the side like I can do in Office 2003.

  34. 2003 says:

    Can we get the original menu’s back? Can’t stand that stupid ribbon. Until it returns, I will not upgrade(downgrade).

  35. Joachim says:


    for one thing I am too old for icons – I am still used to read 🙂

    for the other space is always at issue on computer screens

    therefore: can I have ribbons without icons & text only?

    Thank you so much!


  36. SHELDON says:

    The ribbon SUCKS in CAPITAL LETTERS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am a power user (sorry if that offends people that I refer to myself…and do so in a positive way)…a serious power user.  Visio is my life and career; my ability to harness it to convey complex notions is how I make my living.

    That said, did anyone at Microsoft take the time to seriously think about how many more mouse gestures and clicks it takes just to drop a damn line with specific arrows on a page?  

    Customizing the ribbon is little help.  I mean, you can create your own tab, your own group, and the icons are for 90yr old blind people.  I need EVERY frequently used button ON SCREEN AT THE SAME TIME and I can’t do it with your product suite.

    After 16 years of using Visio every single day, I am throughing it away.

  37. Louis says:

    In general the ribbon interface has slowed me down and that seems to be the case for all of our power users. Problem is, those folks are the 20% that get most of the work done around here. The rest are generally lost no matter what we deploy. I know it’s nice to serve the majority of users but overall this seems to be slowing down productivity.

    Also, I agree with taking advantage of growing screen width rather than limited height. Having the ability to dock the ribbon on the sides would at least clear out vertical space to allow editing a letter size document without scrolling.

  38. Garry Trinder says:

    Unless an option to choose a “classic” (read 2003) interface is added to the final release, I will not upgrade.  The ribbons are a waste of space and I find that it takes me much longer to get things done.

  39. Juho_J says:

    And what would be wrong with having a fully customizable menu invoked with alt+key (ala 2003), that would give the full list of commands the user wanted vertically, while still keeping the icon key dot popup horizontaly oriented (have to move your eyes across the entire screen area of the entire ribbon to find the next keystroke) for those folks who never learned to use a keyboard (what kind of agony did a blind writer used to 2003 have to go through? (None they wouldn’t have used 2007)).

    For that matter call one a key activated column ribbon and the other the key startable horizontal visual ribbon and make it customizable.

    Anything that takes my hands off the keyboard is just distraction unless I need to actually reposition.  For that matter, a keyboard with a nubbin is still appealing ala Lenovo laptop keyboards (Even 3rd party keyboards are hard to find with any kind of quality).  Too bad your hardware guys and software folks can’t get together to come up with a solution that can please both or does someone else have a patent on the nubbin.

    After years of avoiding Office 2007 because of it just wasn’t worth a massive reorientation to the new ribbon interface if it wasn’t customizable, I am now forced into it because it was made corp standard (of course now that 2010 is around the corner).  Now I’m hoping that 2010 can save me the pain and the loss of productivity that I’m currently experiencing.  I found this blog as a result of looking for ways to customize 2007 to make it useable.

  40. Tultang says:

    Useless until you can close/disable "FILE TAB".

  41. SJK says:

    Why pawn one more version of MS office on the public that does not give someone the option of continuing to be productive with the interface they have had? Why does Microsoft force users to continuously update to new messes with the latest called the ribbon and pretend it is so great. Who has the time to customize – the interface should be completely usable out of the box or has Microsoft forgotten this? I for one do not like the ribbon and find the whole idea that Microsoft continuously thinks they have the best idea and when it bombs – but they can’t admit the mistake and rework their messes. I suppose the un-usable ribbon will be an opportunity for competitors to come in a take over a good part of the market share of from Microsoft. A large third party software faction has found that out.

  42. Flekkie says:

    Its nice but..

    How about options on the size of the ribbon, whether the button name is shown, ability to dock different tabs against different sides of the window or have them free-floating.  

    All of this could be done in order to retain the benefits of the old-style menus without losing the benefits of the new.  

  43. Leo says:

    As any power user here, I cant stand “the ribbon”

    ( unmovable, uncustomizable, with a plenty of ambiguos icons, most of them useless for proficient users…)

    After 1 month having upgraded to office 2007, every day I have to remap ANY of my 15 years-long mind-presets… my productivity has drastically dropped and my frustration is every day deeper.

    Human-machine interaction best practices are simple: design your HMI to best fit ALL of the tool user, beginners and pro, impaired or not; provide a basic front-end for most used feature, but allow extension and customization to adapt to personal needs and skills.

    No excuse about 99,7% users are “monkeys”: I expect MS develops tool for humans.

  44. Dale says:

    The ribbon is chaos. I find I still use Office 2000. There is nothing in any of the other version I need or use. I did not like Office 2003 because the icons used a pastel color and that was hard for me to see. So, I went back to Office 2000. I would consider moving to another version if they got rid of the ribbon. If that was not possible, then allow the quick access toolbar to have more than one line on the screen. That way we can toss the freaking useless unproductive ribbon and put all our old commands back on a usable toolbar and regain some screen space. Of course you know – that is the final frontier. Windows shouldn’t be called Windows. It should be called holes.

  45. Jon says:


  46. Jon says:

    It doesn’t even have a File Save As! WTF!!!

  47. amolk says:

    Melissa, how about getting Jensen Harris to read the comments in this thread? After all, the Ribbon was his baby, correct?

  48. Jürgen says:

    If you selcet Excel Options / Quick Access Toolbar the default is “For all documents”. If you  select an opened workbook there will be no commands. If one exports before adding commands, the exportetd file would be exactly the same as the one for all documents. So where are the “standard” icons? If you don’t want them to appear you have to remove them for all documents and then change a special documents toolbar or do it via xml. Is that what one expects?

    – Will there be a way to customise pop-up menus (right-click) too?

    – preview window should be available for the customization

    – free positioning qat and/or ribbon as in 2003 would be nice. And so would be the choice to display only icons or text.

    – if a user removes a customized or new tab could you ask him whether he want’s to export the changes to a file to save them for later use?

    – it would be nice if one could add some frequently used workbooks (perhaps a combo box showing the available sheets) to the ribbon or qat for quick access (whithout using code).

  49. John says:

    OneNote 2010 does not assign shortcuts to the icons of the ribbon, helpppp! . Only allows the bar  quick … Helpppp!

    Chavez! Chavez!

  50. JOHN_DOE says:

    The ONLY reason I didn’t get office 2007 was because of the inflexibility of the Ribbon.

    Has anyone at Microsoft taken into account that MOST users have the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. Having the ribbon at the top of the screen means having to move the mouse more – from the taskbar to the ribbon and back again – continuously.

    Also, the difficulty in organising add-ins in the ribbon is ridiculous.

    If you want to sell Office 2010, I would suggest that you get rid of the goddam ribbon.


  51. John says:

    allow different color in tags of pages of onenote, please.

  52. Michael Milette says:

    Has anyone noticed that, unlike Word 2007, Word 2010 no longer offers you the option of scrolling the ribbon horizontally if the screen is not wide enough to accomodate all of your icons?

    It’s not a problem for most tabs however I have a few legacy add-ins which appear on the Add-Ins tab. If Word isn’t maximized, the toolbars of icons just get chopped off leaving the user with no obvious way of accessing them.

    Any suggestions?

    Michael Milette

    Office Template Designer/Developer

  53. Mike Maxwell says:

    Well, this addresses my #1 complaint about Office 2007, the reason I avoid using it at all costs: the default ribbons have tons of junk I don’t need or want, and few of the commands of what I do need or want.  “Mailings”, for example, is so 1980s.  And some things are just hard to find; I keep having to remind myself that “Insert comment” is on the “Reviewing” tab, not the “Insert” tab.  So if I can fix these things, that’s a step forward (although I’ll again be lost when I log into a public computer and my customizations aren’t available–which I frequently have to do where I work).

    My #2 complaint is still there, though: as someone put it, I can read words, I can’t read icons.  (Hieroglyphics, anyone?)  So if I could get rid of the icons and just have the text, that would be still nicer.

  54. Stressed Student says:

    I got a new laptop to prepare for the move to university last year.  I was genuinely horrified when I saw the 2007 ribbon, as it was completely unfamiliar, but trusted Microsoft when they claimed that it would put all me frequently used icons out in the open where I could easily access them, and that it would stop my computer screen from looking cluttered with all these messy toolbars.

    Acctually, the icons are enormous, and the majority of them I have no use for.  They just clutter up the top of the screen and make it harder to find things.  The only addition I found useful was the Change Case icon, and the fact that differnt underline styles are available as a dropdown button, alkthough I don’t use these often enough to make it that worthwhile.  (@ Mike Maxwell – a year later and I’m still making that mistake about the comments.)

    Well, I can safely say that after a year of using this ‘user-friendly’ ribbon, that this new layout may suit offices and businesses, but for the regular home users and students, it’s a nightmare.  I still get completely lost when I’m trying to do things, and was hoping that 2010 would ditch the ribbon, or provide the option of choosing between the toolbars.  I would love to downgrade, but after the disaster that was Vista I upgraded to Windows 7; however as a student I can’t afford the ultimate edition, which is the only backwards compatible version of the software for the Office Suite.

    Essentially, Microsoft are saying, “It’s our way or the highway”.  I’m all for progress, but to me alienating the users is not progress.  It’s a giant leap backwards.  In my opinion, until Microsoft allow users to choose between the toolbar and the ribbon, many users will remain unhappy.

  55. David says:

    Agree with Rob.  Can I have my 2007 money back too?  While not admitting their mistake at least Microsoft fixed the customizing functionality they took away from 2003.  Office 2007 was an abortion for advance users.  After 3 years I still find myself dreaming of the old interface.  Product development gone wild without caring for the users.

  56. Tommi R says:

    I have tried to give a chance to the infamous ribbon, but I just do not get to used to it. I spend a lot of time clicking through the ribbon tabs and I am not able to find the thing I am looking for. That is so frustrating. I wish Microsoft could give us the option to choose between the classic menus and the ribbon.

  57. Tom Warren says:

    As so many others have lamented, all I want is the CHOICE to use the classic menus (and toolbars).  This ribbon is a productivity drag, real estate hog, and shoulder-killer, as I have a painfully arthiritic shoulder and much prefer to key-shortcut my way through the menus.  Lifting my hand off the keyboard hundreds of times a day to have to mouse-and-click, instead of keying to actions is causing me sever pain, as well as the pain of lost time hunting my way through the morass of the ribbon.  

    David was right about software designers – makes me ashamed to be in IT, but he’s right.  Technology crows who become enamored with the new & shiny, instead of allowing familiar interfaces for users.  I’m keeping Office 2003 on my home machines for as long as I can, and I curse the fact that my new job requires I use Office 2007 on my company notebook. I only wish the productivity loss didn’t come with physical pain, and possibly surgery far in advance of when I had hoped.

  58. Mick Russom says:

    Ribbon is horrible, causes constant support issues.

    Currently migrating IT over to alternatives first, then later the organization.

    Training did not help the organization.

    Its too late, but you may be able to keep more business if you allow a legacy toolbar option. Too late for my business but if MFST wants to not go down in flames, they should not alienate the base users.

    Been administrating Windows NT since Citrix Winframe/NT 3.5 days. Previous to that mostly Novell. This Ribbong is the dumbest thing I’ve seen in a long time.

  59. thomas says:

    To solve the usability problem (called “Ribbon”) fire Harris, hire a new usability engineer (nor a geek) and re-introduce menus and (customizable) toolbars…

    I’ll never upgrade to Office > 2003 with this in-usabilty bullshi* – and Open Office is getting better every day.

    Translucent windows with shadows, animated desktop wallpapers, ribbon gimmicks have nothing to do with productivity.

    Sorry folks – there is no really evolution since office 2003, only gimmicks I’ll not pay for.

  60. I just found this blog after spending half a day of lost productivity trying to work with the ribbon in Office 2007.

    I recall the Christmas after 2007 debuted when my mother went out and got a copy to put on my father’s computer (they’re both in their 70s).  I fortunately saw it before she opened it and talked her into returning it to the store (she already had a copy of 2003 Educator Edition which could be installed on 3 computers, anyway).

    Every time I’ve talked to someone about 2007, I have warned them away from it, and I always get thanked once I show them how confusing and counter-productive the ribbon is.

    These days I work for a Platinum-level Microsoft partner.  I provide service and support to our large corporate customers.  They’re largely all still downgrading to 2003 (some of them to Office XP) because of this mess.  When I can, I advise them to either stick to their old licenses, or switch to Open Office.  I’m glad to say that I’m personally responsible for losing Microsoft thousands of dollars (although the argument can well be made that they lost the money themselves).

    I am now adding my voice to the legion of users who are demanding, “Let us turn off the Ribbon!”  Not minimize, not customize, not extend… just turn the thing off and stick with the methods that worked.  Until this is done I will continue using my influence to cost Microsoft money, as this is the only way to convince them they are wrong.

    Just for the record, I also have no plans to switch to a Dvorak keyboard.

  61. RP says:

    The ribbon SUCKS.  Just bought Office Pro 2003 and I’m using XP Pro–Windows 7 is just not worth the effort.  

    Won’t touch 2007 or 2010.  Forget it.

  62. Tedd G says:

    This is my first time writing. I’m not your “average” Powerpoint user, as I work as a presentation artist for high level business meetings (i.e., product launches, sales meetings, investor conferences: I’ve done meetings for 12 people to 15,000 people). I’ve been using Powerpoint for over 15 years now.

    My first comment has less to do with the Ribbon (which I agree is irritating, at best, and would love the ability to do away with it) and more to inquire why, oh why, would you have decided to change all of the keystroke commands in 2007? I highly doubt the average user utilizes keystrokes, relying instead upon the graphical interface. To me and my fellow Powerpoint professionals, having to learn all new keystrokes kept many of us using XP long after 2007 launched, even with the new features in 2007 that we did like.

    My second comment is a plea to PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE bring back the line spacing palette from XP. This one command is probably what we use almost more than anything. The one in 2007 is completely unusable and makes me grind my teeth every time I access it (which, to bring my post full circle, is no longer accessible via keystrokes). Why you would change something that worked brilliantly into something so inadequate sums up, sadly, the Office experience for many of us.

    I’m not a Microsoft basher, there are many things that I do like about Powerpoint, even more than some features in Keynote. However, your “reinventing the wheel” every second or third upgrade, with no discernible reason other than an “exciting new look”, represents exactly what the world hates about Microsoft. Look to Adobe for a model of consistency, across applications and upgrades.

    Please, I beg you.

  63. WindersMan says:

    Having used Office 2007 at work for about 2 years now, I have become comfortable with the ribbon and find it fairly useful. A few things, however, are maddening…

    Like taking away a zoom icon that actually tells you what the current zoom is.

    Like making the graphs interface in Excel more cumbersome.

    Like no Quick Access Toolbar icon that gives you the current font and size in real time.  

    Like limiting the Quick Access Toolbar to one row.

    The Quick Access Toolbar is great.  Except that you can not edit it by dragging and dropping.  You have to go to a clunky window and move your commands up and down by pressing an arrow which edits a vertical list which changes a horizontal group of icons.


    By the way, I know this rant is useless and will be ignored by Microsoft as I am not in the…

    “99.7% case: people who don’t take advantage of customization or only use it to customize four or fewer commands. ” (Ref:  jensenh July 2006)

    My heart goes out to the 99.7%. One of them works in the next cubicle and he loves Office 2007.

    Just give me Drag and Drop editing of the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT).

    Just give me Drag and Drop editing of the QAT Please!

    Just give me Drag and Drop editing of the QAT Please!

    Just give me Drag and Drop editing of the QAT Please!

    Just give me Drag and Drop editing of the QAT Please!

    Just give me Drag and Drop editing of the QAT Please!

    Just give me Drag and Drop editing of the QAT Please!

    Did I mention that Drag and Drop editing of the QAT would be better having to click an arrow which rearranges a vertical list which edits a horizontal group of icons?????

  64. Rohn says:

    In the hope the someone at MS is reading these comments…

    I too am on the pro menu bandwagon. Heck, I’ve invested 20+ years of my time and money learning the menu UI. The change to the Ribbon arrogantly trashed that investment.  Even worse, the partial compatibility of keyboard <ALT + …> key combinations (some some work, but annoyingly some don’t) is annoying.

    I’ve been playing with the 2010 beta since it was released. Some people expressed concern about customization. Relax, (in the beta at least) you cannot customize the default tabs and groups.  You can add a new group to an default tab, but you can’t turn off default groups or modify them.

    And we don’t have control over how and where new commands appear on the ribbon. That brings up one of my pet peeves with the Ribbon. The dynamic nature, every time I resize the window everything moves around and changes size.  Very annoying. Some controls I always use are tiny icons while stuff I never use shows up huge!  And what’s with that idiotic minuscule “dialog box launcher” button on the group name? It would have made more sense to simply make it one of the small icons IN the group.  

    Even better yet, when I recreated the default tabs, the (&(()_)* things don’t look the same as the defaults.

    I’m with the group that DEMANDS MS to provide a (optional) Menu tab.  What happened to the concept of backwards compatibility?!? It seems so senseless that they didn’t include it. It would have been a brain-dead trivial effort and expense for them to do it and would have removed the major resistance I’ve encountered to upgrading to ribbonized apps, the loss of productivity trying to figure out the totally scrambled re/dis-organization of functions from menus to tabs.

    Give people a menu they can fall back on to be production and they will eventually migrate to the ribbon.

    I sure hope MS provides a 2010 version of the “Search” addon tab. It’s been the best, most invaluable learning aid for the 2007 Ribbon Gooey. That was followed closely by the flash applet that mapped 2003 to 2007 UI’s.  I hope that has also been recreated for 2003 to 2010.

  65. Don says:

    Really – does anyone here think that any "developer" cares what users want?

    Microsoft has stated on many occasions that their market is NEW users — that is what the Ribbon is aimed at. It is not aimed at those of use who are proficient and have used Office for a zillion years.

    Sorry folks, whine all you want – you’re not getting your way because they just don’t care.

    It does however, make me wonder why they can’t simply provide a "power user’s" mode. Customizable, or like 2K3 mode — whatever. We have the ability to adapt to our own creations and don’t need support to do it. Just provide the freedom to do what WE want — not what YOU want. Simple, isn’t it?

  66. Steve Blasco says:

    Get rid of (insert expletive here) the ribbon or allow it to be an option.

    This is the equivalent of me going to your office and reorganizing the letters on your keyboard to the DVORAK system (don’t worry, its better than QWERTY and you will learn how to use it).

    I dont care how much time your spent programming it or how much thought was put into the design.  I hate the ribbon.

  67. tom says:

    I have to tell you I hate the ribbon bar in Office I downloaded the 2010 beta and Outlook has it now. It just plain sucks.

    I wish they’d add an option for the non-ribbon menu. Anyway I uninstalled it and downloaded open office I don’t plan on buying another version of the MS-Office suite.

  68. Andrew says:

    I love the comment “(Customisation) began with Command Bars in Office 97, progressed to the Quick Access Toolbar in Office 2007…”. Progressed? Went backwards would be a better way to describe it 🙂

    I remember reading that MS didn’t include Ribbon customisation in Office 2007 because they believed that nobody wanted to be able to customise their toolbars! Clearly they were wrong and now want to put a positive spin on it.

    I have been developing professionally (main source of income) in Word since Word 6 (with WordBasic). On a side note – Office 2007 is by far the most unstable and buggy version I have encountered.

    The amount of time that it takes me to develop a custom Ribbon is silly. Most requests from my clients with Office 2007 is “please make me a tab with all the tools that I use on the one tab”. I am hoping that the customising tools in Office 2010 eliminate this demand 🙂

  69. John says:

    Ribbon sucks to high heaven. Our company’s clients are constantly asking for a replacement for MS Office, because of the ribbon crap.

  70. Tony Evans says:

    Having used 2010 beta for a few weeks, this is progress …. almost. You can now customise the ribbon to an extent but:

    * The main ribbon is still clumsy & unintuitive

    * The ribbon takes up far too much space on a wide screen laptop

    * The backstage view on the File tab is deadful & confused and cluttered

    * Office 2003 keyboard <alt> shortcuts still don’t work

    * Interface still requires more keystrokes / mouse presses than 2003

    * Most of the icons on the ribbon are of no use to me whatsoever

    * Ribbon is still fixed at the top

    * Icons are not intuitive

    * Can’t make / edit custom macro icons easily

    * QAT still limited to a single line

    * Still can’t see what font I’m using in real time (I find this very frustrating) although I know what size it is!

    * Customising the ribbon is slow and clumsy

    * The icons are too big on the custom ribbon

    * The ribbon doesn’t scroll any more (useless on my small laptop)

    * The start-up screen makes me seasick (yucky yellow waves)

    * Low resolution colour schemes. They’re all horrible.

    * Colour “themes”. They’re all horrible too.

    * No-one in our office likes 2007. I can’t imagine that this is going to change for 2010

    On the positive side, at least the stupid pizza button has gone.

    We have almost got back the customisation that we had in 2003 – but not yet. Since customisation was the problem, 2007 removed customisation. Now we have some of it it back. Just give it back to us properly with an option to lock the interface for the non-power users in the company.

    I’m gradually migrating more and more of my standard docs to OpenOffice and finding less and less reason to use Micro$oft Office 2010.

  71. Kay Ward says:

    We have always been able to customise the tool bar and write our own macros assigning them to an icon on the bar but this looks a more user friendly option and I like the export button.  However I do agree with some of the other comments above eg changing default ribbon seems dangerous and time consuming for an IT technican dealing with people who dont know what they are doing eg kids in school or even teachers! Also I think there should be an option to export individual ribbons to fully customise a users facilities.

  72. MikeS says:

    My company dumped 2007 and went back to 2003 because everyone hated the stupid ribbon interface.  I have never seen a company try so hard to drive customers to another companies apps.

    I guess our next upgrade will be to Star Office or Google apps.  We really can’t justify taking the productivity hit of making everyone use a new interface that they don’t like.  

    Users want to launch a program and get their work done.  They don’t want to have to spend hours learning how to customize a word processor to make it usable.

  73. mm says:

    Sheldon said:  

    I need EVERY frequently used button ON SCREEN AT THE SAME TIME and I can’t do it with your product suite.

    EXACTLY!!!  It’s not complicated:  make it like 2003 and I’ll be happy.  Until then, I’m not buying anything.  Period!

  74. Greg Lambert says:

    I hate the ribbon. Please restore full keyboard functionality to the Office apps. Thanks.

  75. ML49448 says:

    I do not like the Ribbon.  Give me back the pull down menu system.  

  76. Stephan Lindner says:


    Frankly speaking: I hate the ribbon. I have not bought 2007 because of the ribbon and I will not buy 2010 because of it. The functionality isn't that bad, but it is too big, takes too much space and it forces me to adapt to the program, while I believe I should have the possibility to adapt the program to MY STYLE of WORK. I was looking for a 3rd party program to get rid of this wonderful ribbon, but they are not well designed. To me the ribbon is a relict from the time when Microsoft was not listening to its users. I thought this all has changed??


  77. Thanks, I guess... says:

    Thanks for finally getting around to giving us back the same functionality we had for a decade that you pointlessly took away in Office 2007.

    It's just too bad we have to BUY what should have been an update to 2007.

    As for the whiners bitching about customized menus and toolbars, seriously, just bite me. You can lock it down if you want, but forcing EVERYONE in the world to do things YOUR way is just psychotic.

  78. Matias says:

    Ohhhh! Finally!!! I was wasting so much time using the old Ribbon! I was sure that in the new version of Office you were going to enable its customization. You did it in purpose, you smarty pants!! Introduce something that it is not effecient so then people has to buy the new version when you lunch the stuff that works.

  79. Simon says:

    i hate the ribbon in 2007, so customisation in 2010 is a step forwards, however as i can get all the functions i need in a space smaller than the ribbon I want the ability to remove it and see a classic 2003 view. Ever since 2007 I have found all office products very difficult to use so much so outside of work I have ditched 2007 for 2003. I don't want to have to spend hours custimising a product that is supposed to save me time- Just give me a classic view.

  80. Mike_B2_Jarrettsville says:

    I am a power user with 30 years experience using Excel & Word. Microsoft's restrictions on macros, tool bars, and non-user creatable tool bar buttons (especially lacking embedded text on the button as is possible in previous versions) is the last straw.  It has reduced my productivity to the point that I am now using a Mac Book Pro laptops and will now purchase Apple products in the future.  I need software, developed by SMART people, that works WITH you not AGAINST you.  Good Bye MICROSOFT.  Hello APPLE, you have prevailed!

  81. JLam says:

    After using serveral years of office 2007, I am still not able to master the ribbon. So, I brought classic menus addon in order that I can continue to use office 2007 otherwise I cannot imagine what kind of hell I would be at when using office.

    Microsoft still does not understand that concept of menu has been the deep structure of the human-machine interface that she creates. Ribbon customization just cannot change this structure and cannot help.

  82. Xenia says:


    I'm not sure if this is the appropriate forum for this. Like many expert users, I am struggling with the Ribbon concept as well as the elimination of many of the standard keyboard shortcuts I'm accustomed to in Office 2003. I would love to see an option (kind of similar to IE8) where you can choose to display the "File Menu" but in this case the File Menu would look like 2003.

    Second,unless I am missing something I have to customize the Quick Access toolbar in every individual Office application. Obviously each product has its own unique functionality but there are many common commands across the Office suite. Same thing with keyboard shortcuts. Does Microsoft have any plans to create a Office "wrapper" of sorts where prior to using the first Office application, a user goes through a process in which they customize and set up optionsn across the entire suite? I think this would be super useful

  83. msdn1876 says:

    How do I find the edit tab or the edit content to make a custom tab?

    Thank you for your assistance.


  84. Mark says:

    the best use of the ribbon is to tie it round someone's neck – tightly.

    non of the so-called classic menu addins work properly so I'm sticking to office 2003. MS lost the plot with all the classic menus – OSes and Office. Prediction: the dominant OS in 10 years will still be WinXP, and the users will still be have Office 2003 with it. Unless that is MS deliver SPacks with original classic menu options (and NO cleartype). I have no time to mess around, and loose even more of my display real estate with useless schnick-schnack.

  85. kai says:

    In the past I was not only able to design my own icons for macro buttons on custom toolbars, but I could also place those toolbars anywhere on the screen or snap them to any side. The ribbon has lost user friendliness and is just not as flexible as the old menus and toolbars. In our company most of us hate the ribbon – my coworkers and I have now drawn the consequences and switched to Open Office. …. What a breath of fresh air that is. It’s not only cheaper but also does everything we need. Bye-bye Microsoft

  86. ryan says:

    I am in a management position and I can 100% guarantee that we will never upgrade from Office 2003 to Office 2010 until Microsoft starts listening to its customers. We cannot afford the 100's upon 1000's of support calls that would be made to our support staff by our users as to where something is.

    Microsoft need to pull their head out of their own … on this one and give users the option to enable classic menus, no listen, no sales.. still no listen.. open office.. it is that simple.

    It strikes me that this stupid ribbon idea came from one of the big shots sons or daughters in Microsoft and would rather destroy their MS Office brand than admit to what it is, a stupid stupid idea that is a dysmal failure.

    LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS Microsoft, you don't tell your customers what they want, they tell you what they need.. get it?

  87. lforbes says:

    How do you customize the File Tab? I DON'T want "options" to be the default. I want it back to the 2007 type where I don't have to click 100x to save as PDF. With 2007 and the fly out, it was ONE click. With 2010 it is FOUR.

    Please let me customize the File Tab. It is pretty bad at default.

  88. Frank says:

    1 – Loss of productivity trying to re-learn something old

    2 – Can't tell what's new!!

  89. Akanksha Verma says:

    Its interesting to see that so much can be done with the Ribbon customization in Access 2010. BUT can u put some light on how to do that?

  90. How to make more "quickt steps" visible into the Ribon? says:


    the quick steps our a great addition in outlook 2010. So great that I want to use it continuously to move incomming mails to subfolders in my inbox (to organise completed mails).

    The problem here is that i've a lot of 'hot accessed' subfolders. So I need to see as many as possible quick step buttons.

    Now the max I'll get is 12 quick steps buttons (4 on a row, 3 rows). As from number 13, i need to scroll into the list.

    I would like to have that more buttons could be visible without scrolling (i've a lot of emty space on the rigth of the ribbon)

    Does somebody know how ik can make the quick steps group wirder?

    thanks in advance!…/814bcfdd-6664-4a4d-a273-c098d3b2bf54

  91. Richard Bays says:

    I am not liking the 2010 ribbon compared to 2007. I miss the round button, the File drop down has a noticeable delay compared to 2007. Also how can I keep the ribbon visible all the time ????? I do not want it to retract so that I am obliged to clic again to open a menu, 2007 does not do this.

    This is a step down and slower than 2007.

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