Office 2010 - Access

Lesson 4: The Ribbon and Contextual Tabs

4/76 Lessons 

The ribbon

The “Ribbon” has four standard tabs apart from “File”: “Home”, “Create”, “External Data”, “Database Tools”.


Clicking a tab shows us various groups in the “Ribbon”, depending on the selected tab. For example, in the “Home” tab, we have the groups- “Views”, “Clipboard”, “Sort & Filter”, “Records,” “Find” and “Text Formatting”. You can see this in the picture above.

Each group has its own command buttons which will be explained further in the following lessons..

The “Ribbon” can be minimized and maximized in different ways. One way is to double-click the selected tab. A second way is, to right-click on any tab, command button, or group and choose “Minimize the Ribbon ” from the pop-up menu. The third way is by pressing the keys “Ctrl” and “F1” on your keyboard.

To maximize the “Ribbon” again, double-click on the tab, or press the ” Ctrl ” and “F1” keys on your keyboard.

When the “Ribbon” is minimized, all command buttons are still available for you. Simply select a different tab and all command buttons in this tab will be displayed.

If you click a command button, it automatically minimizes the “Ribbon”. Before I proceed with customizing the “Ribbon”, let me start by talking about contextual tabs.

Contextual tabs

Besides the regular tabs that appear, contextual tabs appear at the end of the “Ribbon” when editing objects. As the name suggests, a contextual tab offers access to buttons that you may need, for example a table, when you are editing specific objects.

Contextual tabs are always on the right end of the “Ribbon”. The tab name, in this case “Table Tools”, appears on the title bar. This is done to make room for the (sub) tabs within the tab, which are added to the standard row of tabs. These (sub) tabs are under the contextual tab.

The various groups that appear when a (sub) tab is selected, all relate to the object opened in our database.


Customize the ribbon

New in “Access” 2010 is that we can also customize the “Ribbon”.
We have a number of ways to customize the “Ribbon.” The first way is in the “Backstage” view. Choose “Options” and in the “Access Options” dialog, choose the “Customize the Ribbon” category. A second and much quicker way is to right-click (Command-Click for Mac) on the “Ribbon”, and select “Customize the Ribbon” in the drop-down menu. In both the cases, the following dialog opens:

On the left (a), we find all the commands that can be added to the “Ribbon”. On the right side, we find the structure of the “Ribbon” (b), as it would look. You can view all main tabs (1), the different groups (2) and the various command buttons (3).

To view the contents of a main tab, group, or command button, click the plus icon. To hide this again, click the minus icon (4).

You cannot remove a main tab from the “Ribbon” but, you can hide it. Just click the checkmark for the main tab (5).


Only groups listed under a main tab can be removed but you can delete anything under main tabs when the “Remove” button (1) is highlighted in bold. You can change the default order of the tabs, by selecting the main tabs and click on the arrow buttons in the dialog box (2) and you can change the name of a main tab by selecting the tab, and clicking the “Rename” (3) button below.


Now we know how to hide a main tab. It’s a small effort to make your own tabs containing your own groups and command buttons.

You've completed Lesson 4