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Working with Excel 2013's Ribbon Menus

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In this chapter, you are introduced to Excel’s Ribbon menu and learn the basics of working with workbooks and worksheets.

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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

Topics covered in this chapter include

  • → Familiarizing yourself with the Ribbon tabs
  • → Understanding contextual tabs
  • → Understanding workbooks and worksheets
  • → Customizing the Quick Access Toolbar

Like any other application, Excel has a basic workspace called the user interface. A user interface is the combination of screens, menus, and icons you use to interact with an application. In Excel, the user interface is primarily composed of the Ribbon menu, workbooks, and worksheets. The Ribbon is the name given to the row of tabs and buttons you see at the top of Excel. The Ribbon’s tabs and buttons bring your favorite commands into the open by showing multiple commands grouped in specific categories.

The Ribbon is made up of five basic components: the Quick Access Toolbar, tabs, groups, command buttons, and dialog launchers.

  • The Quick Access Toolbar is essentially a customizable toolbar to which you can add commands that you use most frequently.
  • Tabs contain groups of commands that are loosely related to core tasks. Actually, it helps to think of each tab as a category.
  • Groups contain sets of commands that fall under the umbrella of that tab’s core task. Each group contains buttons, which you click to activate the command you want to use.
  • Dialog launchers are activated by clicking the small arrow located in the lower-right corner of certain groups. Clicking any dialog launcher activates a dialog box containing all the commands available for a given group.

Familiarizing Yourself with the Ribbon Tabs

Each tab on the Ribbon contains groups of commands loosely related to a central task. Don’t be alarmed by the number of commands on each tab. As you go through this book, you’ll quickly become familiar with each of the common Excel commands. For now, take some time to become familiar with each of Excel’s default tabs (the way they are set up before you customize it to fit your working needs).

  1. Click the Home tab. This tab contains commands for common actions such as formatting, copying, pasting, inserting, and deleting columns and rows.
  2. Click the Insert tab. This tab contains commands that enable you to insert objects such as charts and shapes into your spreadsheets.
  3. Click the Page Layout tab. This tab holds all the commands that enable you to determine how your spreadsheet looks, both onscreen and when printed. These commands control options such as theme colors, page margins, and print area.
  4. Click the Formulas tab. This tab holds all the commands that help define, control, and audit Excel formulas.
  5. Click the Data tab. This tab features commands that enable you to connect to external data, as well as manage the data in your spreadsheet.
  6. Click the Review tab. With commands such as Spell Check, Protect Sheet, Protect Workbook, and Track Changes, the theme of the Review tab is protecting data integrity in your spreadsheet.
  7. Click the View tab. The commands on this tab are designed to help you control how you visually interact with your spreadsheet.
  8. The File tab exposes the Backstage view, where you find commands to help you open existing Excel workbooks, create new workbooks, save workbooks, apply protection, and much more. Chapter 2, “Managing Workbooks and Worksheets,” covers the File tab in detail.
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