Q. How do I minimize or display the ribbon in applications that use ribbon menus?

A. Ribbon interfaces are becoming more common in applications and OSs. For example, the Windows 7 Paint application uses ribbon menus.

The idea of the ribbon menu is that it's a cleaner interface, because applications were adding more and more icons and menu options. With the ribbon menu, the commands and icons are separated into tabs, with additional tabs added depending on the focus of the application. In Paint, shown below, I have a text tab because the focus of the application is currently a text object. The File, Home and View tabs are always available.

Click to expand.

Simply double-click the active tab to toggle between minimized and expanded. When minimized, the ribbon is hidden. If you click a tab, you can then select a command or icon from the ribbon menu, and then the ribbon will automatically minimize again. If you prefer to have the expanded ribbon menu available all the time, double-click the active tab to expand the menu to full size.

Related Reading:

Check out hundreds more useful Q&As like this in John Savill's FAQ for Windows. Also, watch instructional videos made by John at ITTV.net.
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