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Webucator's Free Introduction to Microsoft Excel Tutorial

Lesson: The Ribbon

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

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

Lesson Goals

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


Microsoft Excel is a powerful program which is used to analyze and present data, perform calculations, and much more. Microsoft Excel has hundreds of commands for working with different scenarios. 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 worksheets, cells and data and commands for inserting and deleting columns and rows.
  2. Insert. Use the Insert tab to insert tables, illustrations, charts, links, sparklines, headers & footers, custom text and symbols, and more.
  3. Page Layout. Use the Page Layout tab to change your margins, change the page background, change the page orientation, and more.
  4. Formulas. Use the Formulas tab to browse and select formulas and functions, to define names, to audit formulas, and more.
  5. Data. Use the Data tab to access external data, to sort & filter, to access data tools, to group cells together, to add subtotals, and more.
  6. Review. Use the Review tab to check spelling, add comments, protect your worksheet or workbook, and more.
  7. View. Use the View tab to change your workbook view, show or hide gridlines, headings, the formula bar and the ruler, arrange windows, freeze panes, zoom in or out, and more.
  8. Help. Use the Help tab to use online help, send feedback, and access community resources.
  9. Add-Ins. You may or may not see the Add-Ins tab. This tab shows up after you install and activate your first Add-In. Add-Ins are beyond the scope of this course.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 workbook. 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 Excel classes. For now you should know:

  • That they exist. Some of the most commonly used tool tabs are:
    • SmartArt
    • Chart
    • Drawing
    • Picture
    • PivotTable
    • PivotChart
    • Header & Footer
  • That they will appear when you select commands which have related tool tabs. For example, when you insert a PivotTable, two PivotTable-specific tool tabs (Analyze (Options in Excel 2010) and Design) will appear: Tool Tabs


To further organize the many commands available in Microsoft Excel, 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. Alignment
  4. Number
  5. Styles
  6. Cells
  7. Editing
  1. Tables
  2. Illustrations
  3. Add-ins
  4. Charts
  5. Tours
  6. Sparklines
  7. Filters
  8. Links
  9. Text
  10. Symbols
Page Layout
  1. Themes
  2. Page Setup
  3. Scale to Fit
  4. Sheet Options
  5. Arrange
  1. Function Library
  2. Defined Names
  3. Formula Auditing
  4. Calculation
  1. Get & Transform Data
  2. Queries & Connections
  3. Sort & Filter
  4. Data Tools
  5. Forecast
  6. Outline
  1. Proofing
  2. Accessibility
  3. Insights
  4. Language
  6. Protect
  7. Ink
  1. Workbook Views
  2. Show
  3. Zoom
  4. Window
  5. Macros
  1. Help
  2. Community
  1. Custom Toolbars

The group options may differ slightly if you are using previous versions of Excel. Excel 2016 and 2019 provide some new groups, including Insert > Add-ins and Tours, Data > Get & Transform and Forecast, and Review > Insights ..

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:Font Dialog Box

Tell Me

In Excel 2016 and 2019, the Ribbon contains the text "Tell me what you want to do..."

Tell Me Option

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.

Tell  Me Feature

For example, "Add a comment" brings up a comment in the cell the cursor is in.


Commands are controls that enable you to accomplish specific tasks, such as bolding a word, wrapping text, changing the format of a number to percent, or adding a column.

Exploring the Ribbon

Duration: 10 to 20 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. Sort & Filter
    2. Zoom
    3. Charts
    4. Page Setup
    5. Function Library
    6. Number
    7. Formula Auditing
  6. On what tabs and groups are the following commands found?
    1. Font Color
    2. New Window
    3. Sort
    4. Trace Precedents
    5. Wrap Text
    6. Group
    7. Print Area


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

  1. How many tabs are there? Answer: 8
  2. How many groups are there on the View tab? Answer: 5
  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. Sort & Filter - Answer: Data
    2. Zoom - Answer: View
    3. Charts - Answer: Insert
    4. Page Setup - Answer: Page Layout
    5. Function Library - Answer: Formulas
    6. Number - Answer: Home
    7. Formula Auditing - Answer: Formulas
  6. On what tabs and groups are the following commands found?
    1. Font Color - Answer: Home > Font
    2. New Window - Answer: View > Window
    3. Sort - Answer: Data > Sort & Filter
    4. Trace Precendents - Answer: Formulas > Formula Auditing
    5. Wrap Text - Answer: Home > Alignment
    6. Group - Answer: Data > Outline
    7. Print Area - Answer: Page Layout > Page Setup