The Ribbon is the long strip comprising tabs with buttons across the top of the main window within the PowerPoint interface. Since PowerPoint
2007, the Ribbon has replaced all the menus and toolbars that were found in PowerPoint 2003 and older versions. The Ribbon contains almost all the
commands you need to work with your slides, and is designed in a way that helps you quickly find the commands that you need to complete a task.
You no longer have to search commands endlessly through many menus and sub-menus.
However, the File Menu still exists, as does a single
toolbar called the Quick Access Toolbar. All the other
commands are now found in the various tabs of the Ribbon within the
interface. The Ribbon has several tabs, each named as you
can see in Figure 1.
Figure 1: Ribbon and tabs within the PowerPoint 2016 interface
If you want more screen estate for a while, you can quickly hide the entire Ribbon
while still showing just the tabs
by pressing Ctrl
keyboard shortcut. Press Ctrl
again to bring back
– or alternatively, just double-click any of the visible tabs. Want more keyboard shortcuts? Get a copy of our
PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts e-book
The Ribbon contains many interface elements that are explained below:
- Tabs: The Ribbon contains fixed tabs such as Home, Insert, Design, etc.
Each tab contains sets of tools to create and edit slides. Other than these visible tabs, there is a hidden tab called the
Developer tab -- you can easily enable this
- Contextual Tabs: These tabs are special tabs within the Ribbon that are not visible all the time -- they only make an
appearance when you are working with a particular slide object which can be edited using special options. Figure 2 shows the
Drawing Tools Format tab (highlighted in red) which is only activated when a shape or another drawing
object is selected on the slide.
Figure 2: Drawing Tools Format tab in the Ribbon
- Group: A group of related tools within a tab is known as a Group. Figure 3 shows the
Shape Styles group within the Drawing Tools Format tab.
Figure 3: Shape Styles group
- A Gallery is a collection of styles or properties -- most galleries can be seen as drop-down galleries as shown in
Figure 4. To access the drop-down galleries, you click the More button (explained in the next point).
Figure 4 shows the Shape Styles gallery. All available styles can be seen as small preview thumbnails.
Figure 4: Shape Styles Gallery
- The More button expands to a gallery within a Ribbon tab so that all or more options can be seen.
Figure 5 shows you the More button for the Shape Styles gallery (highlighted in
red). The two arrow buttons above the More button are used to scroll inside the gallery without
expanding it (or even after expanding it if the gallery has too many options).
Figure 5: More button
- The Down Arrow is a small downward pointing triangle that's placed next to many buttons -- when clicked, this displays a
gallery or an additional options/sub-menu related to the selected button -- you can see the Down Arrow (highlighted in
red) next to the Shape Fill option in Figure 6.
Figure 6: Down Arrow
- Dialog Launcher (as shown highlighted in red within Figure 7) is a small square with an arrow in in the lower right corner of several Groups within the Ribbon tabs. Figure 7 below shows the dialog launcher within the Shape Styles group. As the name explains, a dialog launcher, when clicked summons a dialog box
with more advanced options.
Figure 7: Dialog Launcher
Ribbon and Tabs in PowerPoint 2016 for
Ribbon and Tabs in PowerPoint 2013 for Windows
Ribbon and Tabs in PowerPoint 2011 for Mac
Ribbon and Tabs in PowerPoint 2010 for Windows
Ribbon and Tabs in PowerPoint 2007 for Windows
PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences:
PowerPoint 2016, 2013, 2011, 2010, 2007 and 2003 for Windows
PowerPoint 2016 and 2011 for Mac
Have your ever used keyboard shortcuts and sequences in PowerPoint? Or are you a complete keyboard aficionado?
Do you want to learn about some new shortcuts? Or do you want to know if your favorite keyboard shortcuts are documented?
Go and get a copy of our PowerPoint Keyboard Shortcuts and Sequences ebook.