Microsoft Office: how to return to the classic ribbon

Microsoft Office: how to return to the classic ribbon

Microsoft introduced a “simplified ribbon” in early 2021 to the Office program suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, etc.), which shows fewer icons and takes up less space. If that’s not your thing, there is a very easy way to get your classic ribbon back.

The classic bar you’re probably used to has a good number of icons on it.

classic bar

The new simplified bar has fewer icons on it and more space for your fingers to click on the icons (for computers and tablets with touch screens).

new simplified bar

These screenshots are from Microsoft Outlook, but the simplified ribbon has appeared on all apps in the Office suite.

This isn’t just in desktop apps. The new streamlined tape has also appeared in web apps.

According to Microsoft , the streamlined ribbon “is slimmer to use less screen space,” which means the company has hidden most of the icons so the ribbon takes up less vertical space. Presumably, this is a move to help people who work from home on laptops, or maybe it’s because they see the future with smaller mobile devices (although Office already has a touch mode designed for this).

Whatever the reason, streamlined tape won’t be to everyone’s taste. Here’s how to get back to the classic ribbon.

Start by clicking on the small down arrow icon located at the far right of the ribbon.

Microsoft Office: how to return to the classic ribbon

This arrow acts as a switch to switch between simplified and classic ribbons whenever you want. It won’t automatically change the ribbon design in Microsoft apps, so you’ll need to turn on the classic ribbon in every Office app you use. Fortunately, each app will remember your preferences, so you’ll only need to do this once.

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