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Save time with custom ribbons in Excel [tutorial]



We spend a lot of time in Excel navigating between various ribbon tabs and clicking buttons. Wouldn’t it be better if you can combine all the frequently used features in to one ribbon? Something like this:


Watch below video to learn how to create, edit & share custom ribbons in Excel.

Read companion article on how to create custom ribbons in Excel to know more.

Create custom ribbons in Excel to save time – how to video

You can watch this video on our YouTube Channel too.

More tips on Excel productivity

Do you use custom ribbons? Share your ribbon screenshots in the comments

My top 3 customizations when it comes to Excel are,

  1. Add frequently used features to Quick Access Toolbar (QAT)
  2. Pin frequent locations to File menu
  3. Create personal macros and add them to ribbon (or QAT)

What about you? Do you use custom ribbons? If so, please share a screenshot of your ribbon in the comments. To share your ribbon screenshot, follow below steps:

  1. Open Excel and activate your custom ribbon
  2. Press Print Screen
  3. Open MS Paint (or any other image editor) and press CTRL+V to paste the screenshot
  4. Crop it so only your ribbon is showing
  5. Save the file as myribbon.png (or any other name with .PNG extension)
  6. Upload the image to a free image hosting service like imgur or tinypic or flickr
  7. Post the URL in the comments for this post, along with what a brief explanation of your ribbon does.



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13 Responses to “Save time with custom ribbons in Excel [tutorial]”

  1. feldspath says:

    Assume we have effectively created a custom ribbon. What will happen to shortcut keys then? Can we assign our own key combos to select a particular item in the custom ribbon?

  2. Andi says:

    Absolutely. With Excel 2013 there is a lot of padding around icons relative to 2010, so I quickly got frustrated with my carefully managed QAT from 2010 - I couldn't fit as many buttons on as I wanted.

    The answer has been to create my own QAT on the ribbon!


    I remove all icon text labels, and carefully order them. Takes a week or two to get used to but that's all. The groups/functions should be self-explanatory apart from I've put in a few custom functions (eg toggle worksheet tabs on/off).

    One annoying thing about using the ribbon is the way it resizes and shuffles icons depending on how populated the rest of the ribbon is - in a group of 3x3 small icons (eg my "align" group in the image) to get the order right you need to list them in the ribbon editor in the order A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, B3, C1, C2, C3 (if you understand me) as opposed to the more intuitive A1, B1, C1, A2, B2, C2, A3, B3, C3.

  3. Krishna says:

    I use Custom Quick Ribbon

    • cinnabar says:

      Which does what exactly? Is it the row of icon on the top of the ribbon?

      • Krishna says:

        On mouse over you can see what each icon stands for.
        We have save, undo, redo icon generally. To add more icons, you can go to Customize Ribbon in the options and select the required icons

  4. Andrew says:

    Not an Excel tip - but a screen clipping tip:

    If you have Microsoft Excel, you most likely also have Microsoft OneNote. Apart from the awesomeness of organising notes electronically, it also comes with a handy screen clipping tool.

    When you are knee-deep in a complicated formula and you want to quickly capture something before it disappears from screen or mind - press Windows-S to capture anything on screen.
    (If you've never opened OneNote before, you will get a pop-up box - only the first time)

    Distraction over. Back to Excel.
    Andrew [not a MS employee]

  5. Heather says:

    I use my custom Ribbon as a quick access for some of the (admittedly clumsy) macros I have built and stored in the PERSONAL.XLSB file. I find it much easier to access them from the ribbon than to go to the developer tab and find in the Macro list.


  6. Kris says:

    Nice introduction on Ribbons

    Thanks for educating the community

    Teaching others is learning by himself

  7. Petros says:

    With the Ribbon Commander framework, professional Office developers and Excel users alike can enhance Office/ Excel applications with a custom, interactive and highly usable Ribbon interface.

    Dynamic and intuitive Ribbon tabs are discoverable and require less complicated documentation.

    Ribbon menus built by VBA without any XML complexities are easier to maintain.

    Ribbon menus can be tailor-made using custom images stored inside OpenXML files.


  8. Ashwani Gupta says:

    Let me start by saying "A Big Thank You"
    You guys are doing an awesome job..It is indeed very helpful in our daily job chores!!

  9. Jody says:

    I love custom ribbons and I've been using them for some time. I'm hoping someone can share with me how to create custom dropdown menues on a ribbon. For example, Page Layout/Page Setup has Orientation as a dropdown menu with subcategories Portait and Landscape.
    On my custom ribbon, I want to create a dropdown menu called Intro with my macros subcategorized underneath it (Log In, UserID).

  10. Andrew says:

    MS did release a pre-configured "Favourites" for Excel 2010 and some of the other applications. I've a copy, yet can't find a link on the MS website anymore.

  11. Hi Chandoo,

    Just wanted to let you know that I've created an article comparing ribbon icons from 3 different vendors:

    I you find it useful.


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