How to Customize Existing Tabs on the Ribbon in Office 2013

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The Ribbon in Microsoft Office 2013 provides quick access to many features and options by default, but it can be further customized to fit the way you use it. You can add a custom tab to the ribbon or you can add commands to the existing tabs.

To add commands to an existing default tab on the ribbon, right-click on any empty space on any tab and select “Customize the Ribbon” from the popup menu.

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The “Customize the Ribbon and keyboard shortcuts” screen on the “Word Options” dialog box displays. To add commands to a default tab, you must add a custom group to the tab first. Select the tab to which you want to add commands, and click “New Group” below the list of tabs.

NOTE: You can rename and change the order of the default tabs and groups that are built into the ribbon in Office 2013. However, the default commands available on these default tabs cannot be renamed or reordered, and you cannot change the icons associated with these default commands. The default commands are displayed in gray text in the list on the right side of the dialog box.

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The new group is added to the end of the list of groups on the selected tab. Custom tabs and groups are distinguished from default tabs and groups with “(Custom)” after the name, but the word “(Custom)” does not display on the ribbon.

Make sure the new group is selected and click “Rename” below the list of tabs.

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On the “Rename” dialog box, enter a name for the new group in the “Display name” edit box. Optionally, you can select an icon to represent the group when the ribbon is resized such that the group cannot be fully displayed.

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The name of the group changes in the list. To select a command to add to the group, select an option from the “Choose commands from” drop-down list, depending on which command you want. We’re going to add commands to our new group that are not currently on the ribbon, so we will select “Commands Not in the Ribbon.”

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Scroll down the list of available commands, click on one you want to add, and click “Add.”

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The command is added under the new custom group. Add more commands as desired to the new custom group. The commands are listed in the group in the order that they are added; however, you can use the up and down arrow buttons to the right of the list of tabs to rearrange the commands in the group.

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When you’ve added all the commands you want and arranged them in the desired order, click “OK” to accept your changes and close the “Word Options” dialog box.

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The new custom group of commands is added to the right of the default groups.

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If you want your custom group further to the left on the tab, you can easily move it. Access the “Customize the Ribbon and keyboard shortcuts” screen on the “Word Options” dialog box as described earlier. Select the custom group in the list of tabs on the right and click the up arrow to move it to the left on the tab. Click the down arrow to move it to the right.

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To remove a custom tab, select the tab in the list on the right and click “Remove.”

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Customization of the ribbon is specific to the Office program in which you are working at the time and does not apply across the other Office programs. The ribbon can be customized in all Office programs that include the ribbon. If the names of the tabs on the ribbon are in all caps and you don’t like that, the capitalization of the tab names can be changed.

You can also customize the Quick Access Toolbar. Once you’ve customized the ribbon and the Quick Access Toolbar, you can back up your customizations. This allows you to re-import them if you delete them at one point and then want to add them in again or if you have to reinstall the program.

Lori Kaufman is a writer who likes to write geeky how-to articles to help make people's lives easier through the use of technology. She loves watching and reading mysteries and is an avid Doctor Who fan.