Find Commands on the Ribbon in Windows 8 - dummies

Find Commands on the Ribbon in Windows 8

By Andy Rathbone

Windows 8 places menus inside a new tab-filled Ribbon that lives atop every folder and library. The Windows 8 desktop has such a plethora of menu items that you’ll be glad for the Ribbon and its tidy organization.

The main tabs look pretty simple overall:


The Ribbon’s tabs each offer different options. To reveal the secret options, click any tab — Share, for example. The Ribbon quickly changes, presenting all your options related to sharing a file.


Just as restaurants sometimes run out of dinner specials, a window sometimes isn’t capable of offering all its menu items. Any unavailable options are grayed out, like the Print option. (Because you can’t print music files, that option is grayed out.)

If you accidentally click the wrong tab on the Ribbon, causing the wrong commands to leap onto the screen, simply click the tab you really wanted. A forgiving soul, Windows displays your newly chosen tab’s contents, instead.

You needn’t know much about the Ribbon because Windows 8 automatically places the correct buttons atop each window. Open your Music library, for example, and the Ribbon quickly spouts a new Play tab for listening sessions.

If a button’s meaning isn’t immediately obvious, hover your mouse pointer over it; a little message explains the button’s raison dêtre. Here are some translations for the most common tabs and buttons are in the following list:

  • File: Found along every Ribbon’s left edge, this handy shortcut offers little in rewards: basically, opening new windows.

  • Home: Found on every folder’s Ribbon, the Home tab usually brings pay dirt, so every folder opens showing this tab’s options. The Home tab offers tools to select, cut, copy, paste, move, delete, or rename a folder’s items.

  • Share: As the name implies, this offers ways to let you share a folder’s contents with other people using your computer. More important, by clicking a name and clicking the Stop Sharing button, you can cut off access to mistakenly shared documents.

  • View: Click here to change how files appear in the window. In your Pictures library, for example, choose Extra Large Icons to see larger thumbnails of your photos.

  • Manage: This general-purpose tab shows customized ways to handle your folder’s items. Atop the Pictures library, for example, it offers a Slide Show button, as well as buttons to rotate skewed photos or turn them into desktop backgrounds.

Don’t like that thick Ribbon hogging an inch of space atop your window? If you’re pressed for space, axe the ribbon by clicking the little upward-pointing arrow next to the blue question mark icon in the upper-right corner. Click it again to bring back the Ribbon. (Or hold down the Ctrl key and press F1 to toggle it on and off again, which is often more fun than doing something productive.)

For more information about Windows 8 and its features, explore Windows 8 For Dummies, available online.