Make it yours: Customizing the Word ribbon

In Word 2010, you can arrange the ribbon the way you want. You can create new tabs and put the commands you use most often on them. You can move the tabs where you want. Really, you get to design the Word ribbon to match your own flow when you’re working on documents.

This is happy news, because when Word 2007 came out, people immediately wanted to customize the ribbon–to put the things they wanted where they wanted or to add new tabs. Word 2007 didn’t include a friendly way to do that.

Now, it’s as easy as clicking File, clicking Options, and clicking Customize Ribbon.

From there, you can add your own tabs by clicking New Tab and then clicking the new tab and clicking Rename (so that you can call it something more fun and descriptive than “New Tab”).

List of ribbon tabs and groups

For example, I can add a tab called “Writing.”

And to those tabs, you can add your own groups. In my example, I add groups for printing, formatting, and tools.

Custom ribbon groups

Now that you have your own tab and your own groups, you can add any commands you want from the command well (which sounds a little bit like a wishing well). To see all of them, click the arrow below Choose commands from, and then click All Commands. It’s a long list.

List of commands in the command well

Next, click the group you want to add commands to, click a command in the list of commands, and then click Add. To continue with my Writing tab example, I can add Quick Print and Print Preview and Print to my Printing group. I can put things like Header, Footer, and Table of Contents in my Formatting group. And I can add Thesaurus to my Tools group.

Commands added to custom tabs

I can use the arrow keys to order my commands exactly the way I want them (in this case, up means left and down means right).

Arrow keys for moving ribbon tabs, groups, and commands

Finally, I can use that up arrow key to move my Writing tab all the way to the left of my Word ribbon, so that it’s open automatically when I start Word.

Custom tab on the ribbon

Set the Word ribbon up the way you want it. And if you change your mind, you can change your ribbon, too.

For  more information, see this quick video, or read up on the detailed instructions for customizing the ribbon in Office programs.

— Joannie Stangeland