Personally, I think the Excel ribbon was a huge improvement over the earlier menu option, as it made it more user-friendly for people to find useful options in one place. While it wasn’t possible to customize the Excel ribbon in the initial versions, from Excel 2010 onwards, Excel allowed users to make their own customizations to the ribbon. With customizations in Excel ribbon, you can create your own Tabs that can include your most used commands, you can reorder the default tab/group placements, and you can also hide some of the tabs in case you don’t use them in your work. In this tutorial, I’m going to show you how to customize the Excel ribbon and all the cool things you can do.

How to Customize the Ribbon in Excel

In this section, I will cover all the Excel ribbon customization options that are available to you. Note that while there is a lot that you can customize in the ribbon, there are some things that cannot be changed (such as the name of the inbuilt commands or the size of the ribbon)

How to Access the Ribbon Customization Options?

Before I show you all the different options you have that you can use to customize the Excel ribbon, let me first show you how to access these options. To open the Excel ribbon customization options, right-click on any of the existing tabs in your workbook and then click on the ‘Customize the Ribbon’ option. This will open the ‘Excel Options’ dialog box, where on the left pane, ‘Customize Ribbon’ option would be selected, and on the right side you would have all the different options available to you. In the rest of this tutorial, this is the dialog box that we would refer to while making changes to the ribbon in our Excel file.

How to Collapse the Ribbon (and see fewer options)

By default, Excel will show you all the tabs in the ribbon, and all the options are available in the selected tab. For example, below I have the ‘Home’ tab selected and you can also see all the options in the Home tab. While this is useful, a lot of advanced Excel users do not like that some space on their worksheet is always occupied by these visible options (the ones in each tab), and they would rather have a few extra rows visible rather than see these options. You can easily collapse (or uncollapse) the Excel ribbon so that you only see the tab names and not the options in the tabs. To do this, right-click on any of the existing tabs, and then click on the ‘Collapse the Ribbon’ option Once the ribbon is collapsed, you would only see the tab names, and the options would only show up when you click on any of the tabs. And in case you want to get these options back (so that they’re always visible), you can right-click and then click on the ‘Collapse the Ribbon’ option again. Note that you can also use this option in other Microsoft applications such as MS Word or MS PowerPoint

How to Change the Order of the Tabs (Reorder Excel Tabs)

If you want to change the existing ordering of the tabs in the ribbon, you can easily do that. One common reason people usually do this is to have the tabs that they use often on one side, and the ones that they use less often grouped together on the other side. Below are the steps to reorder the tabs in Excel: When you click the up arrow button once, it would move the selected tab one place above in the list. Similarly, clicking the down arrow button would move the tab one place down.

How to Rename the Tabs in the Ribbon

While the default tab names are pretty good for me, in case you want to change a tab name, it can easily be done using the below steps: Note that once you change the name of a tab, you won’t be able to revert the change. In case you want the original tab name back the only way is to either rename the tab again with the original name or reset all the settings for the tab (which also means that you would lose all the customizations that you have done so far). Click here to learn how to reset the customizations done to the tabs.

How to Show Hidden Tabs in Excel (such as the Developer Tab)

Excel allows you to hide the existing tabs in the ribbon in case you don’t need them. Excel also has the ‘Developer’ tab hidden by default, which is sometimes needed for accessing VBA macros-related options. Here are the steps to hide or unhide tabs in the ribbon in Excel: In case you want to hide any of the tabs, you can follow the same steps and uncheck the checkbox for the tab that you want to hide. While I don’t recommend that basic Excel users hide the existing tabs, many advanced Excel users who are quite efficient with using keyboard shortcuts or alternate ways of accessing the same option, sometimes prefer hiding some of the tabs.

How to Create Your Own Group in an Existing Tab

Options in each tab in the ribbon are further grouped into Groups. For example in the ‘Home’ tab, we have the ‘Font’ group that has all options related to the font options. You will notice that these groups are separated from each other by a thin vertical gray line. While you cannot change the existing groups in a tab in the Robin, you can create your own groups and then add your own commands to each group. Below are the steps to create your own custom group in an existing tab in the ribbon: Note that you need to add at least one command to the new custom group that you add, else it would not be reflected in the ribbon when you close the Excel options dialog box. Below is the screenshot where the new custom group is added to the Home tab. Once you have added the custom group, you can reorder it within the tab by using the up or down arrow key. To remove the custom group, right-click on it and then click on the Remove option (or select the custom group and then click on the Remove button on the left) You can also rename the custom group and make it name from meaningful/descriptive

How to Add Your Own Custom Tab in the Ribbon

You can also add your own custom tab in the ribbon and then create custom groups and add commands to it. This could be useful if there are some options that you need to use quite often and would want to have these options together in one tab. Below are the steps to add your own custom tab in the ribbon in Excel: The above steps would insert a new tab in the ribbon with the name ‘New Tab’. As of now, since we have not added any command in this new tab, it would be blank as of now. To add commands to this new tab, select the new group option and then add a command from the left by clicking on the Add button. And of course, you can change the name of the new tab as well as all the groups that you insert in this new tab. To change the name, right-click on the New Tab option and then click on Rename. This will open the rename dialog box where you can manually enter the name you want for the new tab. And similarly, to change the name of the new group, right-click on it and then click on rename

How to Add a Command to the Custom Group

When you add a new custom group in any of the tabs in excel, you also need to add a command to that group. Below are the steps to add a command to a custom group in the Excel ribbon: The above steps would add the selected command to the selected custom group. And in case you want to remove any command from any of the groups, right-click on it and then click on the remove option

How to Hide Command Labels and Show Icons Only

When you add custom groups and commands within these custom groups, you also have an option to remove the label and only show the icon. This could be useful in case you’re working with smaller screen sizes and have a lot of options in the custom groups. Having just the icons would make more options visible in the same screen size. Below are the steps to hide the command labels and only show the icons in the ribbon in Excel: The above steps would hide the command labels for all the options in the selected group, and you will only see the icons as shown below. Note that you cannot do this selectively for one specific command in the group. For example, if the group has three commands added to it, when you hide the label for this group, it would be done for all the commands within that group. Also, note that you cannot hide the labels for your already existing in-built groups in the ribbon.

How to Move Tabs, Groups, or Command

You can easily move and reorder any of the tabs or the groups in the ribbon. Add in case you insert your own custom tabs/groups/commands, you can move them as well. Below are the steps to move the Tabs/Groups in the ribbon: Interestingly, Excel allows you to move a group from one tab to another (if you keep clicking on the up or down move button). Note that you cannot move any individual command in the inbuilt tabs. For example, while you can move the entire ‘Clipboard’ group in the ‘Home’ tab, you cannot move the ‘Paste’ or ‘Cut’ command in the Clipboard group. This is to ensure that the relevant commands are grouped together even if you move the group to another tab

How to Rename Tabs, Groups, or Commands

Renaming a tab, group or command is quite straightforward. Below are the steps to do this: Excel allows you to rename inbuilt Tabs and Groups names, but you cannot rename the existing inbuilt command names. However, if you insert your own custom group and add commands to it, then you can rename the commands in that group. When you are renaming the command names in the custom group, the rename dialog box also gives you the option to change the icon for that command

How to Remove Tabs, Groups, and Commands

Excel allows you to remove any of the custom tabs, groups, or commands that you add. In addition to this, Excel also allows you to remove any of the inbuilt groups in any of the tabs. However, you cannot remove any of the inbuilt tabs or in-built commands in these tabs. Below are the steps to remove a group in Excel: Note that once you remove a group or command, you won’t be able to revert the action. So if you want it back, you would either have to manually add it, or you would have to reset the settings in that tab. And while you cannot remove the in-built tabs, if you don’t any of the tabs to show up in the ribbon, you can simply uncheck the box before the tab name in the excel options dialog box.

Reset Customizations to get the Default Tab/Ribbon Settings

If you’re customizing the ribbon and he would like to go back to the original default setting, you can easily reset the customizations. Excel allows you to reset the customizations for specific tabs and the entire ribbon. Below are the steps to he said the customization for a specific tab (say the Home tab) The above steps would reset the selected tab (which is the ‘Home’ tab in this example). In case there are no customizations done to that tab, the ‘Reset only selected Ribbon tab’ option would be grayed out. And in case you want to reset the entire ribbon, you can click on the ‘Reset all customizations’ option. Caution: Once you reset the customizations, you won’t be able to revert them.

Export Your Current Ribbon Customizations (Import Customization from Another FIle)

Nowadays, people often use multiple machines for editing the same Excel files. I have my work laptop as well as my travel laptop (a portable Microsoft Surface pro) and I work on both of them on a regular basis. If I make the ribbon customizations in one of my machines, it would not automatically sync with the other system (given that Excel is a desktop application as of now). One way is to repeat the same customizations that I have done on one of my systems on the other one. But there’s a better way – you can export all the customizations you have done on one of your systems and then import the file into the other system to apply that customization to the Excel application on that system. You can also share these customizations with colleagues and other people on your team. Below are the steps to export the ribbon customizations file in Excel: The above steps would export the customization as a file with the .exportedUI extension. This file contains all the customizations that you have done, and when you import this file to another system, the same customizations would be applied to it. Below are the steps to import the customizations: When you import a customization file, remember that you would lose all the customizations that you have done on your Excel application, and the one in the imported file would be applied.

What Can Not Be Customized in Excel Ribbon?

As I’ve already shown you in this tutorial, there is a lot you can customize in the ribbon in Excel – but there are also some things that Excel does not allow to be changed. For example, you cannot change the in-built commands in the groups in Excel. While you can move/rename or remove the group, you cannot do any customizations on the commands within that group. You’re also not allowed to change the icons or the labels of the commands in the in-built groups. Another thing that you cannot customize is the colors in the ribbon. While you can change the overall theme color that would adjust the ribbon colors accordingly, you cannot choose specific colors to be applied to the ribbon. In this tutorial, I’ve covered how to quickly customize the ribbon in Excel. It’s an exhaustive tutorial where I have covered everything that can be done with the ribbon, and I’ve also mentioned what cannot be customized in the Excel ribbon. I have also covered how you can reset the customizations (from one specific tab or from the entire ribbon) as well as how you can export and then import these customizations to another excel application on another system. I hope you found this Excel tutorial useful. Other Excel tutorials you may also like:

How to Get the Excel Developer Tab Show Up in the RibbonHow to Edit Cells in Excel? (Shortcuts)How to Insert/Draw a Line in Excel (Straight Line, Arrows, Connectors)Excel Quick Access Toolbar – 5 Options You Should Consider AddingImprove your Spreadsheet Experience with these Excel OptionsCreate Groups in Quick Access Toolbar in ExcelHow to Create Custom List in ExcelHow to Hide or Show Formula Bar in Excel?