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Webucator's Free Introduction to Microsoft Word Tutorial

Lesson: The Ribbon

Welcome to our free Introduction to Microsoft Word tutorial. This tutorial is based on Webucator's Introduction to Microsoft Word 2019 Training course.

In this lesson, you will learn about the Ribbon and the various features including tabs, groups, commands, and more.

Lesson Goals

  • Learn about tabs.
  • Learn about groups.
  • Learn about commands.
  • Learn which groups and commands are found on which tabs.

The Ribbon

The Ribbon is the display you see at the top of the Microsoft Word window. It is your primary interface with Word. It allows you to access most of the commands available to you in Word. The Ribbon is composed of three parts: Tabs, Groups, and Commands.


Microsoft Word is a powerful program that is used to create many different types of documents, including articles, letters, books, contracts, marketing documents, and much more. Microsoft Word has hundreds of commands for working with documents. To make it easier for users to find the specific commands they are looking for, commands are organized onto eight main tabs:

  1. Home. The Home tab includes commands for formatting documents.
  2. Insert. Use the Insert tab to insert pages, tables, pictures, links, headers and footers, custom text and symbols, and more.
  3. Design. Use the Design tab to set document formatting and page backgrounds.
  4. Layout. Use the Layout tab (


    in Word 2013) to change your margins, add columns, change the page orientation, and more.
  5. References. Use the References tab to add a table of contents, add footnotes, add a bibliography, and more.
  6. Mailings. Use the Mailings tab to create labels, start a mail merge, and more.
  7. Review. Use the Review tab to check spelling and grammar, track and accept or reject changes, compare documents, and more.
  8. View. Use the View tab to change your document view, show the Ruler or navigation pane, zoom in or out, and more.
  9. Help. Use the Help tab to view Help documents, provide feedback, take training, or contact Microsoft customer support. Ribbon Tabs

Note that the File menu is not the same as a tab. The File menu takes you to the Backstage view, where you manage, rather than make changes to, your document. The Backstage view is covered in the next lesson.

Tool Tabs

In addition to the main tabs, there are numerous tool tabs which include less commonly used commands. Individual tool tabs are covered in detail in our intermediate and advanced Microsoft Word classes. For now you should know:

  • That they exist. Some of the most commonly used tool tabs are:
    • SmartArt
    • Chart
    • Drawing
    • Picture
    • Table
    • Header & Footer
  • That they will appear when you select commands that have related tool tabs. For example, when you insert a table, two table-specific tool tabs (Design and Layout) will appear: Tools Tab


To further organize the many commands available in Microsoft Word, commands are organized in groups on each tab. Each group contains three or more related commands. The following table lists the groups found on each tab:

Tab Group
  1. Clipboard
  2. Font
  3. Paragraph
  4. Styles
  5. Editing
  1. Pages
  2. Tables
  3. Illustrations
  4. Add-ins
  5. Media
  6. Links
  8. Header & Footer
  9. Text
  10. Symbols
  1. Document Formatting
  2. Page Background
  1. Page Setup
  2. Paragraph
  3. Arrange
  1. Table of Contents
  2. Footnotes
  3. Research
  4. Citations & Bibliography
  5. Captions
  6. Index
  7. Table of Authorities
  1. Create
  2. Start Mail Merge
  3. Write & Insert Fields
  4. Preview Results
  5. Finish
  1. Proofing
  2. Speech
  3. Accessibility
  4. Language
  6. Tracking
  7. Changes
  8. Compare
  9. Protect
  10. Ink
  2. Immersive
  3. Page Movement
  4. Show
  5. Zoom
  6. Window
  7. Macros
  8. Sharepoint
  1. Help

In some groups, you will see a button in the lower right corner, next to the group name. This is the Dialog Box Launcher. Opening the group's dialog box will give you access to additional commands associated with that group:Dialog Box Launcher


Commands are controls that enable you to accomplish specific tasks, such as bolding a word, adding a list, inserting a picture, or adding page numbers.

Inserting Symbols Using Commands

One useful command is inserting symbols, such as em dashes and the trademark symbols, into documents. To do so, select the Insert tab on the Ribbon and in the Insert group, select the Symbols drop-down list and select the symbol.

Insert Symbols

Tell Me

Word 2016 introduced the Tell Me feature on the Ribbon. The Ribbon now contains the text "Tell me what you want to do..."

Tell Me Feature

If you click this text, it becomes a text box where you can enter text to search on to quickly perform actions. Just clicking the box pops up some possible ideas.

Clicking in Box

For example, "Leave a comment" brings up the option to insert a comment in the document.

Exploring the Ribbon

Duration: 15 to 25 minutes.

In this exercise, you will explore the Ribbon to answer the following questions:

  1. How many tabs are there?
  2. How many groups are there on the View tab?
  3. Which tab contains the most commonly used groups and commands?
  4. What is another name for the File menu?
  5. On what tab are the following groups found:
    1. Start Mail Merge
    3. Header & Footer
    4. Page Setup
    5. Tracking
    6. Footnotes
    7. Paragraph
  6. On what tabs and groups are the following commands found?
    1. Font Color
    2. New Window
    3. Mark Citation
    4. Spelling & Grammar
    5. Start Mail Merge
    6. Page Break
    7. Margins


If your installation of Microsoft Word has been customized, some of your answers may differ.

  1. How many tabs are there? Answer: 9
  2. How many groups are there on the View tab? Answer: 8
  3. Which tab contains the most commonly used groups and commands? Answer: Home
  4. What is another name for the File menu? Answer: the Backstage view
  5. On which tab are the following groups found:
    1. Start Mail Merge - Answer: Mailings
    2. Views - Answer: View
    3. Header & Footer - Answer: Insert
    4. Page Setup - Answer: Layout
    5. Tracking - Answer: Review
    6. Footnotes - Answer: References
    7. Paragraph - Answer: Home
  6. On what tabs and groups are the following commands found?
    1. Font Color - Answer: Home > Font
    2. New Window - Answer: View > Window
    3. Mark Citation - Answer: References > Table of Authorities
    4. Spelling & Grammar - Answer: Review > Proofing
    5. Start Mail Merge - Answer: Mailings > Start Mail Merge
    6. Page Break - Answer: Insert > Pages
    7. Margins - Answer: Layout > Page Setup