Understanding the Microsoft PowerPoint Ribbon

powerpoint ribbon hide

Beginning with PowerPoint 2007, the tabbed Ribbon system replaced the traditional menus. PowerPoint Ribbon is made up of multiple tabs, each containing several groups of related commands. You need a good understanding of the ribbon’s tabs to be able to perform virtually every task in PowerPoint.

Exploring the PowerPoint Ribbon

For virtually every task you will perform in PowerPoint, you will need to move from one tab to another on the PowerPoint Ribbon. An understanding of where to get the right command will make your PowerPoint task much easier.

Below is a preview of each of the tabs and their related commands

The Home Tab

powerpoint ribbon home

The Home tab allows you access to the most often used commands, like; copy and paste, formatting, Alignment, font specification, and the New Slide command. When you open PowerPoint, the Ribbon opens the Home tab by default. The commands on the Home Tab are grouped as follows: Clipboard, Slides, Font, Paragraph, Drawing, and Editing.

The Insert Tab

powerpoint ribbon insert

The Insert tab contains commands that allow you to insert: Images like pictures, screenshots, and Clipart.  Illustrations like shapes, SmartArt and charts. Symbols like equations and other instructional symbols. Texts like Textbox, header and footer, date and time, slide numbers, and WordArt. On the Insert Tab, you can also insert tables and media objects.

Design Tab

The Design tab provides you with commands to design your slide; these include Page Setup, Theme and Background.

Transitions Tab

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The transitions tab allows you to apply slide different transitions to your slide. On this tab, you will have access to different types of transitions and be able to set the timing for each slide and transition. A slide transition is how one slide gives way to another, i.e. the movement from slide A to slide B.

Animations Tab


powerpoint ribbon animation

On the Animations tab, you can add life to the objects on a slide by animating objects like; clip art, shapes, text and pictures. Animations are very important in PowerPoint Presentation as the help to draw viewers’ attention to specific detail in your presentation.

SlideShow Tab

powerpoint ribbon slideshow

On the Slide Show tab, you will find the commands you need to prepare your PowerPoint presentation and make it professional. The commands on this tab are grouped into three, Start Slideshow, Setup and Monitors.

Review Tab

powerpoint ribbon review

On the Review tab, you have access PowerPoint’s proofing and editing features, like spellchecker, language and comments. These features make it easier to review and correct a presentation before going live.

View Tab

powerpoint ribbon view

The View tab gives you access to commands that allows you to switch between the different types of PowerPoint Views, like the Outline View, Normal View, Slide Sorter View, Reading View and Slide Master.

Contextual Tabs

powerpoint contextual textbox

The Contextual Tab when a Textbox is selected

powerpoint contextual table

The Contextual Tab when a Table is selected

powerpoint contextual picture

The Contextual Tab when a picture is selected

Contextual tabs, these are tabs that appear on the PowerPoint Ribbon only when certain items like images, shapes, Textbox, and tables are selected. These tabs allow you to access the command you need to add special effects to the selected object.

Adjusting the PowerPoint Ribbon

The PowerPoint Ribbon is designed for flexibility; you can choose to maximize your working space by collapsing the ribbon.

powerpoint ribbon hide

To collapse the ribbon, click the ribbon display options icon in the far right corner of the Ribbon. The Ribbon when collapsed will Show Tabs only, in this mode, all command groups are hidden when not in use, but tabs remain visible. To open a tab command, simply click the tab, note that the tab goes back to hiding once you click on your slide.

To show all Tabs and Commands, click the Ribbon display option.

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