The ribbon is the name of Excel’s toolbar since Excel 2007. It displays commands as icons in a strip that are grouped into tabs based on their functions. It became customizable with Excel 2010. You can hide unnecessary tabs and commands, or add new ones easily. In this article, we are going to show you how to customize ribbon in Excel.

What you can and can’t customize

Before starting our guide let’s take a look at what can be customized.

Capabilities

  • You can customize the ribbon in Excel 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019 and Microsoft 365 versions
  • Show, hide, and rename tabs
  • Create a new tab with your own commands
  • Rearrange tabs, groups and custom commands in desired order
  • Add and remove groups on existing tabs
  • Export or import your personalized ribbon

Limitations

  • You cannot change or remove built-in commands. However, you can hide an entire group.
  • You cannot resize the ribbon. The only visual option is to hide (collapse) it completely.
  • Styling options like text size, font type or color are out of the box. Alternatively, you can try Excel schemes which alter the background of the ribbon with entire Office applications.

Where to start to customize ribbon?

Fortunately, you can find all customization options in a single window. You can access the customization options with either one of the following methods:

  • Follow File > Options > Customize Ribbon
  • Right-click on the ribbon and select Customize the Ribbon from the context menu

Customize the Ribbon window presents you with two lists of commands. While the left one includes all available commands, the one at the right side lists the active tabs, groups and commands in the ribbon. You can see the buttons below the right list, which include most of the actions we need while customization.

Adding a new tab

The first customization we are going to show is adding a new tab into the ribbon. Adding a tab is very useful when you want to see your favorite commands together in one place.

To add a new tab, click on New Tab button under the list on the right.

Clicking the button ensures the new tab and group creation.

Note: There should always be at least one group in a tab. Otherwise, you cannot add commands.

You can rename the new tab and group using the Rename button. First, select the item you want to rename and then click the button.

Click the OK button in Customize the Ribbon window to finish your adding a new tab process. However, an empty tab is nothing more than a waste of space. Continue our guide to learn how you can add commands into your new tab.

Adding a group

A group is a set commands that are relevant to each other. You can see groups’ names under the command icons in the ribbon.

You can add a group either into a custom tab you created or an existing one. Make sure that you select the tab you want to insert a new group and then click New Group button.

Like in tabs, you can use the Rename button to change the default name and also to select a symbol. Icon of a group becomes visible when you reduced the window size enough.

Adding a command

Finally, it is time to add commands to the ribbon. Adding command action looks like mini-game that you need to move the desired command(s) in the left list to the right one.

Remember that you can add commands only into custom groups. Thus, start by selecting a custom group at the right list.

Next, you need to select the command you want to add from the list at the left side. You can filter the list by using Choose commands from dropdown above.

After selecting both the command and the group, click on the Add >> button to add the command under the selected group.

Repeat the process until all desired commands are in the right list. Click OK once you are satisfied. You can see the commands in your new tab.

Renaming ribbon tabs, groups and commands

As mentioned above, you can use the Rename button to rename tabs, groups and commands.

However, your options are limited for built-in items. Although, you can rename built-in tabs and groups; you cannot rename any of the built-in commands. with the only exception being the File tab. On the other hand, symbol selection is not available for built-in tabs and groups.

Positioning tabs, groups and commands on the ribbon

Excel allows you to change the order of tabs, groups and commands on the ribbon. You can follow either one of these two approaches:

  • Use the up and down arrow buttons near the right list. Select the item you want to move and click on arrow which points the desired direction.
  • Use drag and drop. Click and hold the mouse button on any item, and move the mouse.

Note: To move a command between different groups, you need to expand the group beforehand.

Hiding command labels and showing icons only instead

Another ribbon customization option is the ability to hide command labels and show icons only instead. This is good if your menu is cluttered or you want to save some space. Unfortunately, you can apply this only to custom groups.

Right-click on a custom group and select Hide Command Labels item.

Removing groups, custom tabs and commands

First, you can remove any groups. Note that you can only remove custom tabs and commands. Select an item first and use the << Remove button to remove it.

Hiding and showing tabs

Although, you can’t remove built-in tabs, you can at least hide them. Use checkboxes near tab names to determine which tabs you want to see or not.

A common scenario is to show the Developer tab using this method (it is hidden by default). Here you can see our brief guide on this: How to display the Excel Developer tab for using advanced features

How to reset customization in the ribbon

You can use one of two commands below to revert back your changes:

  • Reset all customizations: resets the entire ribbon
  • Reset only selected Ribbon tab: resets specific (selected) ribbon

How to export and import

The last tip in our guide for customizing ribbon is the export and import feature. Excel allows you to export your ribbon and Quick Access Toolbar settings to a special file. You can use this file as a backup or move your settings to a new machine. Sharing your configuration with friends is an option as well.

When in the Customize the Ribbon window, click Import/Export button and select the action you need.