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Switch back to the classic ribbon in Microsoft Office



Microsoft Office logo

Microsoft introduced a “simplified ribbon” for its entire suite of Office programs (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, etc.) in early 2021, showing fewer icons and taking up less space. If this isn’t for you, there is a really easy way to get the classic ribbon back.

The classic ribbon you are probably used to has a large number of icons.

The classic ribbon in the Outlook desktop app.

The new, simplified ribbon has fewer icons and more room for fingers to click the icons (for computers and tablets with touch screens).

The simplified ribbon in the Outlook desktop app.

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

This isn’t just in the desktop apps. The new, simplified ribbon has also appeared in the web apps. This is the classic ribbon in the Microsoft Word web app.

The classic ribbon in the Word web app.

And the new, simplified ribbon in the same app.

The simplified ribbon in the Word web app.

According to Microsoft, the simplified ribbon is “more streamlined to use less screen space,” meaning the company has hidden most of the icons so the ribbon takes up less vertical space. Presumably this is a step to help people who work on laptops at home, or perhaps because they see the future with smaller, more mobile devices (although Office has already designed a touch mode for this).

RELATED: Switch Outlook between touch and mouse mode

Whatever the reason, the simplified ribbon isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste. Here’s how to revert to the classic ribbon.

Start by clicking the little down arrow at the far right of the ribbon.

The toggle arrow in the ribbon.

This arrow acts as a switch to switch between the simplified and classic ribbons whenever you want. The ribbon design in Microsoft apps does not change automatically, so you will need to switch the classic ribbon in any Office app you use. Fortunately, each app remembers your preference, so you only have to do this once.




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