How To

Office Tip: Restore or minimize the Ribbon interface in Word and Excel

Baptiste Brassart


Microsoft Office remains one of the most popular productivity suites on the market. It contains almost every program you’d ever need to finish any paper, project, or assignment: WordPowerPoint, and Excel are all fair game. But one of the first things you might have trouble navigating is the Ribbon interface. The toolbar appears in all Microsoft Office apps, but can sometimes be hard to master. Here, I’ll show you how it works.

Ribbon interface

The Ribbon interface, a toolbar located above the document, sometimes acts a little funny: it’ll disappear, reappear, or maybe only display the names of each section.

Depending on your preferences, here’s how to minimize or restore the Ribbon interface.

1. Ribbon Display Options

To minimize the Ribbon, restore it, or change it to a different view, there is one button you need to know: Ribbon Display Options.

2. Choose one of three options

There are three available options for the view of the Ribbon interface, depending on how you want to see it.

Auto-hide Ribbon is a full-screen view where the Ribbon is completely hidden. To see the options, you’re forced to click the top of the screen before you can do anything. This view is not for beginners, but better suited for keyboard shortcuts in Microsoft Office.

Auto hide

The second option, Show Tabs, actually hides the ribbon from view. Only the titles of the menus remain visible on the screen. To see more options, you need to click on the tab to show all of its commands.

The last option, Show Tabs and Commands, provides an extensive view of the Ribbon. I strongly advise using this view, unless your PC screen is really tiny. In that case, the second option would probably be better.

Show tabs and commands

3. Finding the Ribbon interface

If you’re having trouble getting out of Word or Excel’s full screen display, the view is probably set to Auto-hide Ribbon.

To make it reappear, go to the top of the screen. Click on the colored bar that appears transparent under the cursor, and the Ribbon interface will pop up again. By clicking on the Ribbon display options button, you can find the three view options mentioned above.

Blue ribbon interface cursor

Auto hide ribbon options

4. Restoring the Ribbon interface

More than once, I’ve accidentally clicked on the small arrow that minimizes the interface, located at the bottom right of the Ribbon. The Ribbon disappears, and it’s impossible to find a similar arrow to restore the Ribbon interface.

The solution? The Ribbon display options button once again. To recap, you need to go through the Ribbon display options button, and select Show Tabs and Commands.

Navigating the Ribbon interface? One less problem in Microsoft Office.

In the next article in this Office Tips series, I’ll show you how to open multiple documents in one window using Word and Excel.

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