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Maximize Space by "Auto-Hiding" the Ribbon in Office 2007

The Ribbon feature in Microsoft Office 2007 is full of features that make it easier to navigate through options, but it takes up a lot of space. If you think the Ribbon is too big, you can put it into a pseudo “auto-hide” mode and still retain all the functionality, but with a much smaller footprint.

To put the Ribbon into minimized mode, just right-click an open area on the Ribbon and choose Minimize the Ribbon.

Here is how your Word document screen looks without the Ribbon… much cleaner!

With the Ribbon hidden you can still pull up the menus by clicking a tab which relates to a type of activity. The Ribbon will automatically hide once you move your mouse away from it.

You might notice the small toolbar below the Ribbon, which is known as the Quick Access Toolbar. You can add or delete any items to this menu, and you can also choose to show it in the title bar above the Ribbon to save even more space. Just right-click and choose “Show Quick Access Toolbar Above the Ribbon”

Here’s what my Outlook message window looks like with everything minimized as much as possible.

You can also add items to the Quick Access toolbar that you want to be accessible at all times by clicking the little drop-down arrow. The “More Commands” at the bottom of this menu will let you assign virtually anything to the toolbar.

These settings are specific to the application that you set them in, so you can have the ribbon automatically hidden in Word but not in PowerPoint.

You might have noticed all the different colors of the windows in the screenshots above… You can change the color scheme for Office easily.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 05/19/07

Comments (19)

  1. Daniel Escapa

    Just an FYI the keyboard shortcut for this is Ctrl-F1. I love that you can do this so easily.

    You might also want to point out that you can transfer your QAT settings from one machine to another by looking in the %userprofile% folder and the .qat files. Hope this helps!

  2. The Geek

    Daniel:

    Sweet tip! I love keyboard shortcuts.

    I’ll look into the QAT backup… also a very cool tip.

  3. Simon

    You can also simply double-click on the tab to toggle between always visible and auto-hide.

  4. Neha Shah

    You can also just double click on the menu items (Home, Insert, etc). Double click to minimize and auto hide. Double click again to see it all the time.

  5. Andrew

    Thanks very much for providing this info! Your website takes a bit of pain out of the colossal PITA of Excel 2007′s user interface

  6. Steve

    It’s not really auto hide – not like the one you can do with the Windows taskbar which turns up when you move your mouse towards it. Can’t say I’m all that taken with the ribbon – it takes up too much and takes too much time to find things – but then I find words easier to deal with than icons.

  7. Prasanna

    Thanks a lot.. that helped me…

    i can rate you :

    * * * * *

    5/5 for this article

  8. Chris

    Thanks HtG! Exactly what I needed and with only one Google it brought me right to you – first hit!! :)

  9. sk

    is there a way to make the ribbon pop-up once i hover the mouse pointer over the menu?
    thx

  10. Sherman

    Above SK asked if there is a way to make the ribbon pop up once the mouse hovers over the menu?

    The answer is YES, but I don’t know how to turn it on or off.

    Two of our office computers have that featured turned on and we have spent a lot of time trying to turn it off. Most of our computers are set to have the ribbon truned on at all times or off at all times. That is no problem to change as needed. However these two computers change as the mouse hovers over the menu as stated above. Even when we change the setting to on or off, IT decides to turn the feature back on.

    If anyone knows how to control it, please let SK and the rest of us know how. Thanks.

    -Sherman

  11. Ian

    Thank you!

  12. Rabindra Singh

    Thanks very much for providing this info

  13. Leanne

    thanks for the tips. I knew I hadn’t right-clicked on the ribbon bar but it was possible I had double clicked on it to turn off the ribon. mystery solved. cheers

  14. Eng.Zia

    Thanks very much for providing this information. It is really helpful. I appreciate it.

  15. THANK YOU!!!!

    thanks – this has been driving me nuts.

  16. Srabon

    Thanks Dud ……..

  17. Kelis

    Grade A stuff. I’m unqusteoinably in your debt.

  18. Kai

    Thanks so much. This has been irritating me for a while now.

  19. zheen

    tnx.

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