Compared to earlier versions with their menu-driven interface, Excel 2007 has a very different look-and-feel user interface, called Ribbon. Ribbon is actually a series of tabbed pages, each relates to a different activity type. For an example, if a user clicked the Insert tab, then he/she will be presented with an activity “group” pertaining to inserting and modifying an object. These tabs are probably the first thing that a user notices upon opening Excel.
Taking a closer look at the tab, it is composed of several activity groups where each one having its own commands (as symbolized by the icons). Borders separate commands in one group to another.
In all, there are 9 tabs on Ribbon:
This tab relates to frequently-performed activities by a user, such as working with clipboards (i.e. copying and pasting), configuring fonts, setting the alignment, formatting the number, applying styles, modifying cells and general editing.
This tab relates to the activity of adding or inserting an object and modifying it. There are five types of objects that can be ruled out: tables, illustrations, charts, links and text.
- Page Layout
This tab is associated with page setting works, such as picking up page themes, adjusting page setup, page scaling, configuring sheet options and arranging objects on the worksheet.
This tab handles activities related to working with formulas. Using function library, defining cell names, auditing the formula and performing a calculation are all activities that can be accomodated in the group.
The tab, as the name implies, is simply related to working with data. Included in the group are activities such as getting external data, adjusting the data connection, sorting and filtering, using data tools and outlining.
The tab relates to review works, such as proofing, commenting and setting up authorization for any sheet and workbook.
This tab is responsible for adjusting the view of the document, be it changing workbook views, showing and hiding elements, zooming in or out, arranging window or viewing the macros.
The tab is all about working with (programming) codes. This includes coding, attaching controls to a document and working with XML. Anyone with programming skill is welcomed to create a module here. By default, this tab is not visible, but can be activated by configuring the Ribbon.
This tab only appears when there is an add-in or plug-in installed. It is usually a third-party application that added some functionalities in Excel. Because it depends on the type of applications set up inside Excel, its appearance differs from one system to another.
Though Ribbon somehow looks quite sophisticated, there are also some limitations:
- There is no turning back to menu-driven interface.
- The commands inside the group and the group itself cannot be modified in any way.
- A new tab (despite of the nine) can only be added through the use of XML or programming codes (usually written in Visual Basic for Application).