Excel 2016 – Ribbons, Tabs and Quick Access Toolbar

Microsoft Excel is one of the best tool ever built. It can help you perform not only easy tasks like calculations but also helps in performing analytical tasks, visualization and financial modeling. This Excel training course assumes no previous knowledge of Excel and please feel free to jump across sections if you already know a bit of excel. This excel 2016 tutorial is not only useful for people who want get acquainted to Excel 2016 but also for those who are using older versions of Excel like Excel 2007, Excel 2010 or Excel 2013. Majority of the features and functions discussed here are quite common across the Excel software version. In this first post on Basic Excel 2016, we will discuss the following –

How to Open the Excel 2016 Software

For opening the Excel 2016 software, please go to the program menu and click Excel. If you are opening this software for the first time, then worry not, we are going to take this excel training step  by step

How to Open a blank workbook in Excel 2016

Once you open the excel software from the program menu, the first thing that you would notice is a large screen displayed as per below.

Since this is your first workbook, you will not notice any recently opened workbooks. There are various options that you can choose from, however, this being your first tutorial, I want you to open the Blank Workbook as shown below.

Excel 2016 Open Workbook

Once you click on the Blank workbook, you will notice the Blank Workbook opens up in the below format.

Excel 2016 Blank Workbook

What are Ribbons in Excel

As noted in the picture below, Ribbons are designed to help you quickly find the command that you want to execute in Excel 2016. Ribbons are divided into logical groups called Tabs and Each tab has its own set of unique function to perform. There are various tabs – Home, Insert, Page Layout, Formulas, Date, Review and View.

Excel 2016 Ribbons

How to Collapse (Minimize) Ribbons

If you do not want to see the commands in the Ribbons, you can always Collapse or Minimize Ribbons

For this RIGHT click on Ribbon Area and you will see various options available here. Here you need to choose “Collapse the Ribbon”.

Excel 2016 Ribbon Collapsing

Once you choose this, the visible groups go away and they are now hidden under the tab. You can always click on the tab to show the commands.

Excel 2016 Ribbon Collapsing - 2

How to Customize Ribbons

Many a times it is handy to customize Ribbon containing the commands that you frequently use. This helps save lot of time and efforts while navigating the excel workbook. In order to customize Excel Ribbons, RIGHT click on the Ribbon area and choose, customize the Ribbon

Customize Ribbons

Once the dialog box opens up, click on the New Tab as highlighted in the picture below

Customize Ribbons in Excel 2016 - New tab

Rename the New Tab and the New Group as per your liking. I am naming the tab as “wallstreetmojo” and group name as “test grouping”.

Customize Ribbons - Rename Tabs - 1

You can select the list of commands that you want to include in this new tab from the left hand side.

Customizing Ribbons Excel 2016

Once you are done, you will notice your customized tab appears in the Ribbon along with the other tabs.

Customized Ribbon tab added

What is Quick Access Toolbar

Quick Access Toolbar is a universal toolbar that is always visible and is not dependent on the tab that you are working with. For example, if you are in the Home Tab, you will not only see commands related to Home Tab but also the Quick Access Toolbar on the top executing these commands easily. Likewise, if you are in any other tab, say “Insert”, then again you will same Quick Access Toolbar.

Quick Access Toolbar

How to Customize Quick Access Toolbar

In order to customize the Quick Access Toolbar, RIGHT click on any part of the Ribbon and you will see the following

Excel 2016 - Customize Quick Access Toolbar

Once you click on Customize Quick Access Toolbar, you get the dialog box from where you can select the set of commands you want to see in the Quick Access Toolbar.

new commands in Quick Access ToolbarThe new quick access toolbar now contains the newly added commands. So as you can see this is pretty simple.

New Quick Access Toolbar

What are Tabs?

Tabs are nothing but various options available on the Ribbon. These can be used for easy navigation of commands that you desire to use.

Tabs in Excel 2016

Home Tab

Home Tab in Excel 2016

  1. Clipboard – This Clipboard Group is primarily used for Cut copy and paste. This means that if you want to transfer data from one place to  another, you have two choices, either COPY (preserves the data in the original location) or CUT (deletes the data from the original location).  Also there are options of Paste Special, which implies copy in a desired format. We will discuss the details of these later in the Excel tutorials. There is also Format Painter which is used to copy the format from the original cell location to the destination cell location.
  2. Fonts – This font group within the Home tab is used for choosing the desired Font and size. There are hundreds of fonts available in the dropdown which we can use for. In addition, you can change the font size from small to large depending on your requirement. Also helpful is the feature of Bold (B), Italics (I) and Underline (U) of the fonts.
  3. Alignment – As the name suggest this group is used for alignment of tabs – Top, Middle or Bottom alignment of text within the cell. Also, there are other standard alignment options like Left, middle and right alignment. There is also an orientation option that can be used to place the text vertically or diagonally. Merge and Center can be used to combine more than one cells and place its content in the middle. This is great feature to use for table formatting etc. Wrap text can be used when there is lot of content in the cell and we want to make all the text visible.
  4. Number – This group provides options of displaying number format. There are various number formats available – General, accounting, percentage, comma style etc. You can also increase and decrease the decimals using this group.
  5. Styles – This is an interesting addition to Excel. You can have various styles for cells – Good, Bad and Neutral. There are other set of styles available for Data and Model like Calculation, Check, Warning etc. In addition, you can make use of different Titles and Heading options available within Styles. Format Table allows you to quickly convert the mundane data into aesthetically pleasing data table. Conditional formatting is used to format cells based on certain pre defined conditions. These are very helpful to spot the patters across an excel sheet.
  6. Cells – This group is used to modify the cell – its height and width etc. Also, you can hide and protect the cell using Format Feature. You can also insert and delete new cells and rows from this group.
  7. Editing – This group within the Home Tab is useful for Editing the data on excel sheet. The most prominent of the commands here is the Find and Replace Command. Also, you can use the sort feature to analyze your data – sort from A to Z or Z to A or you can do a custom sort here.

Insert Tab

Insert Tab in Excel 2016

  1. Tables – This group provides a superior way to organize the data. You can use Table to soft, filter and format the data within the sheet. In addition, you can also use Pivot Tables to analyze complex data very easily. We will be using Pivot Tables in our later tutorials.
  2. Illustrations – This group provides a way to insert pictures, shapes or art work into excel. You can insert the pictures either directly from the computer or you can also use Online Picture Option to search for relevant pictures. In addition, shapes provide additional ready made square, circle, arrow kind of shapes that can be used in excel. SmartArt provides an awesome graphical representation to visually communicate data in the form of List, organizational charts, venn diagram to process diagrams. Screenshot can be used to quickly insert a screenshot of any program that is open on the computer.
  3. Apps – You can use this group to insert an existing App into excel. You can also purchase an App from the Store section. Bing Maps app allows you to use the location data from a given column and plot it on Bing Maps. Also there is new feature called People Data which allows you to transform boring data into an exciting one.
  4. Charts – This is one of the most useful features in Excel. It helps you visualize the data in graphical format. Recommended charts allow Excel to come up with the best possible graphical combination. In addition, you can make graphs on your own and excel provides various options like Pie-chart, Line Chart, Column Chart, Bubble Chart, combo chart, Radar Chart, and Pivot Charts.
  5. Sparklines – Sparklines are mini charts that are made on the number data and can be displayed with this cells. There are different options available for sparklines like Line Sparkline, Column Sparkline and Win/Loss Sparkline. We will discuss this in detail in later posts.
  6. Filters – There are two types of filters available – Slicer allows you to filter the data visually and can be used to filter tables, pivot tables data etc. Timeline filter allows you to filter the dates interactively.
  7. Hyperlink – This is a great tool to provide hyperlinks from the excel sheet to an external URL or files. Hyperlinks can also be used to create a navigation structure with the excel sheet that is easy to use.
  8. Text – This group is used to text in the desired format. For example, if you want to have the header and footer, you can use this group. In addition, wordart allows you to use different styling for text. You can also create your signature using the Signature line feature.
  9. Symbols – This primarily consists of two parts – a) Equation – this allows you to write mathematical equations that we cannot ordinarily write in Excel sheet. 2) Symbols are special character or symbols that we may want to insert in the excel sheet for better representation


Page Layout Tab

  1. Page Layout tab Excel 2016Themes – Themes allow you to change the style and visual look of excel. You can choose of various styles available from the menu. You can also customize the colors, fonts and effects in excel workbook.
  2. Page Setup – This is an important group primarily used along with printing an excel sheet. You can choose margins for the print. In addition, you can choose your printing orientation from Potrait to Landscape. Also, you can choose the size of paper like A3, A4, Letter head etc. Print area allows you to see the print area within the excel sheet and is helpful to make the necessary adjustments. We can also add a break where we want the next page to begin in the printed copy. Also, you can add a background to the worksheet to create a style. Print Titles is like a header and footer that we want them to be repeated on each printed copy of the excel sheet.
  3. Scale to Fit – This option is used to strech or shrink the printout of the page to a percentage of the original size. You can also shrink the width as well as height to fit in a certain number of pages.
  4. Sheet Options – Sheet options is another useful feature for printing. If we want to print the grid, then we can check the print gridlines option. If we want to print the Row and column numbers in the excel sheet, we can also do the same using tihs feature.
  5. Arrange – Here we have different options for objects inserted in Excel like Bringforward, Send Backward, Selection Pane, Align, Group Objects and Rotate.


Formulas Tab

Formula Tab Excel 2016

  1. Function Library – This is a very useful group contain all the formulas that one uses in excel. This group is sub divided into important functionss like Financial Functions, Logical Functions, Date & Timing, Lookup & References, Maths and Trignometry and other functions. One can also make use of Insert Function capabilities to insert the function in a cell.
  2. Defined Names – This feature is a fairly advanced but useful feature. It can be used to name the cell and these named cells can be called from any part of the worksheet without working about its exact locations.
  3. Formula Auditing – This feature is used for auditing the flow of formulas and its linkages. It can trace the precedents (origin of data set) and can also show which dataset is dependent on this. Show formula can be also used to debug errors in the formula. Watch window is also useful function to keep a tab on their values as you update other formulas and dataset in the excel sheet..
  4. Calculations –  By default the option selected for calculation is automatic. However, one can also change this option to manual.

Data Tab

Data Tab Excel 2016

  1. Get External Data – This option is used to import external data from various sources like Access, Web, Text, SQL Server, XML etc.
  2. Power Query – This is an advanced feature and is used to combine data from multiple sources and present it in the desired format.
  3. Connections – This feature is used to refresh the excel sheet when the data in the current excel sheet is coming from outside sources. You can also display the external links as well as edit those links from this feature.
  4. Sort & Filter – This feature can be used to sort the data from AtoZ or Z to Z and also you can filter the data using the drop down menus. Also, one can choose advanced features to filter using complex criterias
  5. Data Tools – This is another group which is very useful for advanced excel users. One can create various scenario analysis using Whatif analysis – Data Tables, Goal Seek and Scenario Manager. Also, one can convert Text to Column, remove duplicate and consolidate from this group.
  6. Forecast – This Forecast function can be used to predict the values based the historical values.
  7. Outline – One can easily present the data in an intuitive format using the Group and Ungroup options from this.


Review Tab

Review Tab Excel 2016

  1. Proofing – Proofing is an interesting feature in Excel that allows you to run spell checks in the excel sheet. In addition to spell checks, one can also make use of thesaurus if you to find the right word. There is also a research button that helps you navigate encyclopedia, dictionaries etc to perform tasks better.
  2. Language – If you need to translate your excel sheet from English to any other language, then you can use this feature.
  3. Comments – Comments are very helpful when you want to write an additional note for important cells. This helps user understand clearly the reasons behind your calculations etc.
  4. Changes – If you want to keep track of the changes that are made, then one can use Track Changes option here. Also, you can protect the worksheet or the workbook using a password from this option.

View Tab

View Tab Excel 2016

  1. Workbook Views – You can choose the viewing option of the excel sheet from this group. You can view the excel sheet in the default normal view or you can choose Page Break view, Page Layout view or any other custom view of your choice.
  2. Show – This feature can be used to show or not show Formula bars, grid lines or Heading in the excel sheet.
  3. zoom – Sometimes an excel sheet may contain lot of data and you may want to change zoom in or zoom out desired areas of the excel sheet.
  4. Window – New window is a helpful feature which allows the user to open the second window and work on both at the same time. Also freeze panes is another useful feature that allows to freeze particular rows and columns such that they are always visible even when one scrolls to the extreme positions. You can also split the worksheet into two parts for separate navigation.
  5. Macros – This is again a fairly advanced feature and you can use this feature to automate certain tasks in Excel Sheet. Macros are nothing but a recorder of actions taken in excel and it has the capability to execute the same actions again if required.

What next?

If you learned something new or enjoyed this post please leave a comment below. Let me know what you think. Many thanks and take care. Happy Learning!


    • By Dheeraj on


      Many thanks for point this out. I got this one totally incorrect. This is much appreciated.



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