What Is the Ribbon in PowerPoint

The ribbon is one of the most important user interface elements in PowerPoint. Located at the top of the PowerPoint window, the ribbon organizes all the features and commands into a set of tabs that make them easier to find and use.

Overview of the Ribbon

The ribbon replaced the old menu system used in older versions of PowerPoint. Instead of having to dig through layers of menus, the ribbon puts features right at your fingertips in an easy-to-access tabbed layout.

Some key things to know about the ribbon:

  • It runs along the top of the PowerPoint window, below the title bar
  • Features are organized into groups under different tabs
  • Contextual tabs appear based on the object you have selected
  • You can minimize the ribbon to hide it if desired

Main Ribbon Tabs in PowerPoint

The ribbon contains tabs that represent groups of related features and tools. The main tabs you’ll use include:

Home Tab

The Home tab has common formatting options for fonts, alignment, copying/pasting, and slide organization. This is likely the tab you’ll use most frequently.

Insert Tab

Use the Insert tab to add various objects like images, charts, shapes, links, videos and more onto a slide.

Design Tab

The Design tab allows you to quickly apply various themes and color variations that provide a consistent look and feel across all presentation slides.

Transitions Tab

On the Transitions tab, you can view and modify how slides transition from one to the next. You can set transition effects and timing on both individual slides and apply defaults across all slides.

Animations Tab

Use the Animations tab to add engaging animations to objects like text boxes, images, and charts. This adds interest to your slides as elements fly, fade, spin onto the slide.

Slide Show Tab

The Slide Show tab has tools to help you present slides, like setting up presenter view and slide show settings.

Review Tab

Proof your presentation using the spell check, comments, and compare features on the Review tab.

View Tab

Change how you view your presentation using the different viewing options on the View tab like normal, slide sorter and reading views.

Contextual Tabs

In addition to the standard tabs, contextual tabs appear based on the object you have selected. For example, when inserting a table, the Table Tools tabs allow you to format and customize the table. When an image is selected, the Picture Tools tab appears with image editing options.

These automatically appear and disappear based on what you’re working on.

Customizing the Ribbon

While the default ribbon layout works for most people, you can customize it to suit your specific needs. Options include:

  • Showing and hiding tabs and groups
  • Creating new tabs with your most commonly used features
  • Renaming tabs and groups
  • Reordering the way tabs and groups appear

Customizations apply on a per-computer basis, allowing you to set up the ribbon to best match your personal PowerPoint workflow.

Minimizing the Ribbon

If you want to reclaim screen space while working in PowerPoint, you can quickly minimize the ribbon so only the tabs remain visible across the top. Simply double click any tab or press Ctrl + F1 and the ribbon compacts down. Double click or press Ctrl + F1 again to restore it to the full ribbon view.

The ribbon brings all the PowerPoint features you need right to your fingertips. Learning what each tab contains helps you quickly navigate PowerPoint to find the tools you need.