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New Ribbon and Help Screen


August 28, 2018 - by Bill Jelen

New Ribbon and Help Screen

In a was against their customers stuck on buying perpetual licenses of Excel 2016 or Excel 2019, Microsoft introduced a new Ribbon shortly *after* finishing Excel 2019. You read that correctly - if you fork over $399 to buy Excel 2019 when it is released later this fall, you will be stuck with the older-looking interface. Customers with Office 365 will have the new interface.

The icons in the new Ribbon seem to lose definition. Take a look at the Bent arrow in the Pivot Table icon and the black sun in the Illustrations icon. This is in the new Fall 2018 version of the Ribbon for Office 365 customers.

The new ribbon
The new ribbon

Contrast this with the Excel 2016/2019 ribbon and former Office 365 ribbon. In those versions, the pivot table arrow is curved. The Values area of the recommended pivot table has data, the Table has headings instead of triangles, mountains are filled in and the Sun is yellow.

The older Ribbon had more details.
The older Ribbon had more details.

Another difference is how Office shows the selected tab. Previously, the selected Ribbon tab was a different color, making it look like a Pendaflex folder tab. Now, the line is thicker and moved to the bottom of the tab.


I've been using the new ribbon for a few weeks and I can say that I neither hate it nor love it.

The new change seems reminiscent of when Excel 2010 transitioned to Excel 2013. They used ribbon tabs in ALL CAPS and everything became very white.

Excel 2013 Ribbon
Excel 2013 Ribbon

Contrast with Excel 2010 ribbon that seems very high definition compared to the newer icons.

Back in Excel 2010, everything was very high definition.
Back in Excel 2010, everything was very high definition.

New "Home" Category in the File Menu

When you see the start screen or open the File menu, there is a new category in the top left called Home. The three top choices are now Home, New, and Open.

The Home category is a combination of some parts of New and some parts of Open. At the top is the "New" icon, plus some tutorials and templates. Below the line, you can choose from Recent Files, but not Recent Folders.

A new "Home" category when you open the File menu.
A new "Home" category when you open the File menu.

At the far right, just below the templates is a hyperlink to "Find More In New". At the bottom far right is "Find More in Open". These are both equivalent to clicking the words New or Open on the left side of the screen.

New redundant hyperlinks on the right side of the screen offer the same choices as on the left side of the screen.
New redundant hyperlinks on the right side of the screen offer the same choices as on the left side of the screen.

Watch Video

Download Excel File

To download the excel file: new-ribbon-and-help-screen.xlsx

Let me know what you think of the new Ribobn by posting a comment in the YouTube comments.

Excel Thought Of the Day

I've asked my Excel Master friends for their advice about Excel. Today's thought to ponder:

"Don’t Panic! Pivot!"

Title Photo: Jesse Roberts on Unsplash


Bill Jelen is the author / co-author of
Excel Dynamic Arrays Straight to the Point

The new Dynamic Array Functions are just one side-effect of an effort to completely rewrite the Calculation Engine in Excel. Joe McDaid and the rest of the CALC team have the laid the groundwork for all future functions in Excel. Yes, the first crop of SORT, SORTBY, FILTER, UNIQUE, SEQUENCE and RANDARRAY are awesome and powerful, but they are just the first of many new functions that will come to Office 365 over the coming years.