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Excel 2013: The Missing Manual by Matthew MacDonald

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Appendix A. Customizing the Ribbon

When Microsoft introduced the ribbon in Office 2007, they clamped down on letting people customize it. Quite simply, the designers of Office were concerned that overly creative fans would replace the standard arrangement of buttons with a jumble of personal favorites. Their worst fear was that Excel customizers would transform Excel so completely that no one else would be able to use the program on their computers, and the instructions in books like this one would be useless. To prevent this crisis, Microsoft made it extremely difficult to customize the ribbon. In fact, ribbon customization was only available to programming gearheads willing to work with the intimidating RibbonX standard.

Excel 2013 isn’t nearly as paranoid. It lets anyone rename tabs, hide them, add groups, and remove them. It even lets you create an entirely new tab with your own buttons. When used carefully, this feature gives you a great way to speed up your work and put your favorite commands in a central spot. In more reckless hands, it’s a great way to confuse friends, family, coworkers, and even yourself.

Along with its surprisingly powerful ribbon customization ability, Excel 2013 lets users customize the Quick Access toolbar—the sequence of tiny buttons that sits just above the ribbon and its tabs. If you’re not so ambitious that you want to create your own custom tab, the Quick Access toolbar is a convenient place to stick your favorite buttons. That’s the task you’ll ...

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