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How to Work in Ribbon Groups in Office 2011 for Mac

When you click a Ribbon tab in Office 2011 for the Mac, it displays buttons (or commands) arranged in groups. Many groups offer submenus with big, easy to see previews in galleries. Some groups have the dynamic content of the erstwhile Office 2008 Elements Gallery. Many commands that used to be in the Toolbox now live on the Ribbon tabs. Like menus and toolbars, the Ribbon tabs are context-sensitive, displaying different commands depending upon what you selected and what you’re doing.

Click any of the Ribbon tabs to reveal the commands available for that tab. Commands are grouped, with the group labels in a small band just under the top row of tabs. Group dividers are perforated lines dividing the groups within the Ribbon tabs. Many commands offer submenus when clicked. Some submenus even have additional options at the bottom.

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Beyond the default tabs, the Format tab displays whenever you select an object that can be formatted. For instance, you can see the Format tab if you select a picture, text box, shape, SmartArt, or another object. To format selected text, use options available on the Home tab.

When you select an object such as a picture, you’ll only end up making the context-sensitive Format Picture tab visible, but to actually use the options within this tab, you may have to click the tab to display the commands available.

Some groups on the Ribbon tabs contain galleries of options. You can see more options by clicking the arrows at either end of the gallery, which works the way the Elements Gallery did in Office 2008. New in 2011 is the ability to display submenus for galleries.

Further, some galleries have a downward-pointing arrow below them. Clicking this arrow converts these galleries to a drop-down gallery.

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