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The Ribbon's Tabs in Word 2007 - Word 2021/365

Microsoft Word adopted the Ribbon User Interface (UI) with the introduction of Office 2007. This page explores some of the variations on that Ribbon through the versions. In composing this page, a deliberate choice was made to not resize images. This makes for a wide page, especially on mobile devices. Narrower versions with resized images are available as narrow version and very narrow version. They may not be updated as often.

I was not a great lover of the Ribbon; it has grown on me. MS tells us that it is easier for beginners to use, and they may be right.

For experienced users, there is a tremendous learning curve. From Word 2007 on, it has been possible to modify the Ribbon. In Word 2007 this required an ability to code in vba and XML. In the later versions it has been possible to make much more limited modifications through the interface. All versions since 2007 have included the Quick Access Toolbar as the only easily modifiable toolbar. This is in sharp contrast to Word 97-2003 where all of the menus and toolbars were easily modified from within the interface.

For a start on modifying the ribbon using XML and vba, I recommend Greg Maxey's site, starting with Customize the Ribbon (It doesn't take rocket science) . An essential book, and not just for Word 2007, is RibbonX: Customizing the Office 2007 Ribbon - by Robert Martin, Ken Puls, and Theresa Hennig.

What I will do here is show some variations over time on the tabs I commonly used in Word.

Incidentally, I recently discovered that if you hover your mouse pointer over the Ribbon and use the wheel on the mouse, it will scroll horizontally through the tabs!

The non-context tabs (always available): Home - Insert - Draw - Design - Page Layout - References - Mailings - Review - View - Developer - Help

Some of the contextual tabs: Outlining - Table Design - Table Layout - Header & Footer Tools - Drawing Tools - Picture Tools - Equation Tools - Learning Tools

Other: Print Preview (legacy)

Problems with Ribbon display are discussed at the bottom of this page. Commands Missing - Missing Tabs - Strange-Lookng Ribbon

Not Ribbon "Tabs" - Backstage - The Office Button and File Button on far left

On the left end of the Ribbon is a special button to take you to Word's "backstage." In Word 2007 this is the multi-color Office button. In the later versions it appears to be a blue tab named File. You do not see the document when you click on one of these. You also do not see any of the Ribbon tabs when your are in Backstage view. Pressing Esc returns you to the document view in the tab that you were viewing last. If you don't see your tab's controls chances are that you have minimized the Ribbon. There are screenshots from the Backstage view at the bottom of this page.

Minimizing the Ribbon - making more room to see your document

If you right-click on a Ribbon tab one of the options is to minimize/maximize the ribbon. Double-clicking on any tab or pressing the Ctrl+F1 key combination will do the same thing. In Word 2010 and later because the File Button is blue/black, it is easy to think that the File "Tab" has been selected or become the default when the Ribbon is minimized. Here is a sample of a minimized Ribbon.

If the Ribbon is minimized, you can use the same process to bring it back: (1) double-click on any ribbon tab, or (2) right-click on any ribbon tab and uncheck "minimize the ribbon," or, (3) Press the Ctrl+F3 keyboard shortcut.

In Word 2013 or later, there is an additional switch that can cause it to entirely disappear until you move your cursor to the top of the screen. That is the AutoHide option. The control for this is an arrow in a box at the top-right corner of the window by the X to close a document. Using AutoHide also hides the QAT and the Status Bar. It gives you your document in print mode with the rulers.


The non-context tabs in Microsoft Word - Display regardless of where you are in a document


The Home Tab - the basic workspace in a document:

Word 2007

-Word 2007 - wider

-Word 2007 - narrower

I won't do this with each tab. The three tabs above are all screenshots of the ribbon on the same computer. Word repackages the ribbon tabs to fit the available space.

In the wider version, it gives more space to the Styles Gallery. In the narrower version some buttons shrink or lose captions. The combination of screen size and resolution determines what you will see,  so your ribbons may not look exactly like any of the ones shown here. Another example showing different screen layouts is in the Word 2010 version of the Drawing Tools contextual tab below. Your ribbon may or may not have a Developer Tab, that is up to you.

The Word 2007 and 2010 tabs shown are from a laptop running Windows Vista. The Word 2013/365 tabs are from a desktop tower running Windows 7 on a larger screen or from a laptop running Windows 10.

Word 2010

Word 2010 - Narrower

(Note the collapse of the QuickStyles Gallery and Editing Group. The Quick Styles gallery is now available through the button. Other groups are compressed. This is less than half as wide as the one  immediately above it.)

Word 2013

Beginning with Word 2013 the Change Styles and Quick Style Sets were moved to the Design Tab.

Word 2013 in Touch Mode - see below

Fat Buttons Funny Ribbon Help

Word 2013 - Narrower


Word 2016

Original Word 2016

Word 365 in 2018 - Note Voice/Dictate Group on Right - this is likely to be the starting point for Word 2019


Word 2019

Word 2021

In 2021 Word introduced "New Experiences" This changed the ribbon giving more rounded areas and messing up the Styles Gallery.

At the time of this writing, it is possible to reject them and retain the old look with the more useful [Quick] Styles Gallery.

This also changed the control for Ribbon display, moving it from the Title Bar to the bottom right corner of the Ribbon.
This is similar to the control in Word Online.

Word Online

Word Online is a different program. It looks much the same but has fewer features.
The Dialog Launcher for the Styles group launches the Apply Styles Dialog, not the Styles Pane.


Word for the Mac (2019)

The Insert Tab

Word 2007


Word 2010


Word 2013


Word 2016

Word 365 in late 2018 - likely to be 2019-2021's Insert - note that Feedback (smiley face) no longer there - it has been moved to under File tab

The Store icon has been changed to Get Add-Ins. It serves the same function. Note the addition off 3D Models and Icons under Illustrations.

Word 2019/2021/365

Slightly different look, retains 3D Models and Icons under Illustrations.

Word Online



Word for the Mac (2019)

WordArt Dropdown in the Insert Tab

WordArt has been a component of Word for some time and continues under the Insert Tab. However, its appearance differs.

Word 2007

This gallery dropdown is the view of WordArt straight from Word 2003.


Word 2010

This changed dramatically in Word 2010. However, once WordArt is created, the use of Text Effects under the Drawing Tools Context Tab can manipulate it.

Note, that this is in a document in Word 2010 native .docx format. If the document is in Word 97-2003 .doc format we see the same gallery as in Word 2007.

However, it is possible to have your cake and eat it too! The next screenshot is from a Word 2010 screen in a document formatted as a native Word 2010 .docx document. An Add-in containing a custom Building Blocks (AutoText) gallery is in use. That .dotx template also has a QAT modification to allow quick access to the gallery. This was done using tools from Greg Maxey's site (not required, just easier) and contains no macros. This Add-In can be downloaded for free from my downloads page.

If instead, you used Insert > WordArt in this document, you would get the Word 2010 dropdown.



Word 2013

Word 2016/365

The Draw Tab - Word 2016-21/365 only


The Design Tab - Word 2013-21/365 only

This tab takes controls that were previously on the Home, Page Layout and Insert tabs and expands them.

It is primarily about Quick Style Sets and Themes. I don't know that it introduces any new controls.

Here are some of the galleries accessed through this tab:

Themes (formerly on the Page Layout Tab)


[Quick] Style Sets (formerly by Styles on the Home Tab)

(Theme) Colors:

(Theme) Fonts:

Can give access to this dialog:


Watermarks (Formerly on the Page Layout Tab)

Page Background Colors

Page Borders

Paragraph Spacing (Also on Layout Tab but without Gallery)

If you move your mouse pointer over choices, a tip will show you what the settings will be.

Custom Paragraph Spacing takes you to the Manage Styles Set Defaults Dialog


Theme Effects

Word 2016/365

The Design Tab in Word 2016 is unchanged from Word 2013.

Word 2019/2021/365


The Page Layout Tab

Word 2007


Word 2010

The Page Background Group was moved to the Design Tab beginning with Word 2013.

Word 2013/365


Word 2016/365 - Layout Tab

The Layout Tab in Word 2016-2021/365 is the same as the Page Layout Tab in Word 2013.

Word 2019/2021/365 - Layout Tab


The References Tab

Word 2007


Word 2010


Word 2013


Word 2016/365

Word 365 as of 9/2018 - likely to be Word 2019/2021

Note that in later versions of Office 365, the Feedback (smiley face) is under the File button, not at the top of the Ribbon.

Word 2019/2021/365

The Mailings Tab

Word 2007


Word 2010


Word 2013/365


Word 2016/365

Word 2019/2021/365


The Review Tab

Word 2007


Word 2010


Word 2013/365


Word 2016

Word 365 Sept. 2018 - added Resume and Ink groups

Word 2019

Word 2021/365 - Added Editor Control in Proofing Group


The View Tab

Word 2007


Word 2010


Word 2013/365


Word 2016/365

Word 365 Sept 2018 - likely to be Office 2019 - added SharePoint Properties button

Word 2019/2021/365

See also Ways to View a Document in Word - Office Watch


The Developer Tab - see Developer Tab in Microsoft Word 2007-2013/365

(This is an optional tab. If you don't see this tab on your computer or have questions about the controls on the tab, use the link above.)

Word 2007


Word 2010


Word 2013


Word 2016

In Word 2016+ the Developer Tab is displayed by default.

Word 2019/2021/365


The Help Tab (Office 365/2019 and later)


Some Contextual Tabs

Some of the tabs only show up when Word thinks you can use them.

The Outlining Tab - Activated by Selecting Outline View under the View Tab

Most contextual tabs show up on the right side of the Ribbon. The Outlining tab will pop up before the Home tab!
The Outlining tab has been unchanged since Word 2007.

You deactivate the Outlining tab by clicking on "Close Outline View" or by changing to a different view.

The controls in the Outline Tools Group are self-explanatory, I believe.

See my page on Outlining in Microsoft Word for more.

The next group, though, should be handled with caution.
I advise not doing anything with the Master Document controls until you have read and thought about my page on
the Master Document "Feature" in Word.

Outlining Tab - Word 2007

Outlining Tab - Word 2010

Outlining Tab - Word 2013

Outlining Tab - Word 2016

Outlining Tab - Word 2021/365

The Table Tools Design Tab (Contextual) - must be in a table

If you insert a table and are in the table, you will see two additional tabs: Design and Layout.

Table Tools Design Tab - Word 2007


Table Tools Design Tab - Word 2010


Table Tools Design Tab - Word 2013

Note the draw table and eraser commands have been moved from this tab to the Layout tab.

Table Tools Design Tab - Word 2016

Word 2019

Note: the Header Row checkbox in the Table Tools Design tab has nothing to do with whether or not the table's first row is repeated on subsequent pages. That is controlled on the Table Tools Layout tab.

Word 2019-2021/365 (Contextual) Layout Tab change

The Table Tools encompassing tab has disappeared! The Table Design is now so designated and the Layout Tab is still there.


Word Online

The Table Tools Layout Tab (Contextual) - must be in a table

Word 2007 - Table Tools Layout Contextual Tab


Word 2010 - Table Tools Layout Contextual Tab


Word 2013 - Table Tools Layout Contextual Tab

Note the Draw Table and Eraser are in the Draw group on this tab in Word 2013-2021/365.

Word 2016 - Table Tools Layout Contextual Tab

Word 2019-2021 - Table Tools Layout Contextual Tab

Word 2019-2021/365 (Contextual Table) Layout Tab change

The Table Tools encompassing tab has disappeared! The Table Design Tab is now so designated and the Layout Tab is still there.

Word Online - Table Tools Layout Contextual Tab


Header and Footer Tools Tab (Contextual) - must be in a header or footer

Header and Footer Tools Design Tab - Word 2007

Header and Footer Tools Design Tab - Word 2010


The Header and Footer Tools tab is similar in Word 2013.

Header & Footer Tools Design Tab 2016 / 365

In Word 2016 a button is added for Document Info.

Word 2019/2021 / 365 (Design under Header & Footer Tools)

As is often the case, the Document Info button simply gives you another spot to find a command.

It returns the functionality of the AutoText entries for Document Name and path from the Menu versions of Word.

The Author and Document Title are the same as the Author and Title Document Property content controls.

File Name and File Path are simply the FileName Field without and with the /p path switch.

Both Document Property and Field are also under the Quick Parts button.

Word 2019-21/365 (2020) - an unannounced change to the title of the tab - now Header & Footer

Note, the contents of this are the same, only the tab name changed. This is a contextual tab.

Word Mac

Here is the contextual tab as of October 2019 in Word 365

They are similar but not exactly the same.

Word Online - Header and Footer Tools Contextual Tab does not exist.

Instead when you click on Insert > Header and Footer, you are placed in the Header for editing. A table is created and the Table Tools tabs become available even though not activated. An options menu is available or some of the header and footer options.



Drawing Tools Format Tab (Contextual) - must have a drawing object selected or be in one

Drawing Format Tab - Word 2007

Drawing Format Tab - Word 2010

(wider screen version - note expanded captions for some icons)

The 2010 version appears to have dropped a number of options to allow for the WordArt and Text groups. In reality, the effects have been moved to the Shape Effects drop-down.

(Narrow version of 2010 Drawing Tools Format tab)

Drawing Format Tab - Word 2013

Drawing Format Tab - Word 2016/365 - adds Accessibility group with Alt Text button

Word 2019/2021 / 365


Picture Tools Format Tab (Contextual) - must have an image selected

Picture Tools Format Tab - Word 2007

Picture Tools Format Tab - Word 2010

(Picture Shape moved from Picture Styles to a drop-down under Crop in the Picture Size group)

compatibility mode - Word 97-2003 format - Word 2010


Picture Tools Format Tab - Word 2013

Picture Tools Format Tab - Word 2016/365 - adds Alt Text button in Accessibility Group

Picture Tools Format Tab - Word 2019/2021 / 365

Compatibility mode - Word 97-2003 format - Word 2019/2021/365


Equation Design Tools (Contextual) - must have equation selected - can insert an equation from the Insert Tab


Immersive Learning Tools Contextual Tab

On the View menu in Office 365 (and perhaps Office 2019) there is a button for Learning Tools. It brings up the following tab:

Other - the Print Preview Tab

This is a legacy from the menu versions.

In Word 2007, it was available under print.

The tab is virtually unchanged in later versions but you can only get to it using a QAT button or keyboard shortcut.

When this tab is showing, you can type and do basic editing in the document. The button for "Print Preview and Print" gives the same screen you would get from the document by pressing Ctrl+P.

More on the Backstage View

Again, backstage contains information about the document and Word. It gives you access to controls for the document like Save, Send and Print; it gives you access to control over Word options that let you change how Word works in all documents. Again, in any version of Word you can return to the document view and other ribbon tabs by pressing the Esc button on your keyboard. The Backstage could easily be the subject of a separate page and perhaps some day it will be. Here are just some pictures.

Backstage - Word 2007

Backstage - Word 2010

Backstage - Word 2013


Backstage 2016

But, in the fall of 2019, this initial view using the backstage Info tab changed to using the new backstage Home tab. See 2019-2 below.


Backstage 2019

In the fall of 2019, backstage's initial view changed to the backstage Home tab from the Info tab:

Backstage 2019-2

Problems with Display of the Ribbon


Commands Gone - Described Using the Following Terms (Word 2007 and later)


The File Tab has Become the Default Tab (Word 2010- current)



The Commands are all gone


  1. Double-Click on any tab - This is a Toggle to hide or display commands.

  2. Right-Click on any Ribbon tab and Un-Check the "Minimize the Ribbon."


Most of the Tabs are gone - The Ribbon disappeared!

You may be in Reading View. Word will be maximized and there also will be no Status Bar at the bottom.


The Ribbon is Gone, but I am not in Reading View (Word 2013 and later)

Word is maximized, filling your screen. No QAT, no Ribbon, no Status Bar. If you are showing the Navigation Pane or other Panes, they will be shown. The Ruler may be shown.


  1. If you move your mouse pointer to the top of the screen the Ribbon, the QAT and the Status Bar will appear.
    This is temporary. The Ribbon is set to Auto-Hide.

  2. Change the Auto-Hide setting using the control at the top-right of the window.
    The control is a small rectangle with an up-pointing arrow.
    Choose to either display the Ribbon or the Ribbon and Commands.

AutoHide the Ribbon - Microsoft Word - Microsoft Office









The Ribbon is Missing and I am not in Reading View nor is AutoHide available - Word 2007 and later

Word does not have to be maximized, it can be in a regular window (not Full-Screen).

Toggle Toolbars Missing Ribbon Word Help

Also, no QAT, no Status Bar, No Navigation or Styles Pane, just the document and rulers. The ToggleToolbars legacy command has been invoked. If you close and reopen the document, this will go away. For more on this, see Minimize the Ribbon / Auto-Hide the Ribbon / Toggle Toolbars Compared



The Commands on the Ribbon look strange - different - very wide spaces between commands

Word 2013 introduced Touch mode for touch screen use that gives more space between controls. This can be disconcerting if you do not know what is happening.

Here are the Home tabs in Touch mode for Office 2013 and Office 365

Fat Buttons Funny Ribbon Help


There should be a button with a hand and index finger extended on the QAT. Use this to change to mouse mode if you want more information on your Ribbon tab and more QAT buttons displayed.


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