Minimizing Ribbon / AutoHiding Ribbon / Toggling Toolbars Compared

Ribbon Versions of Word - Maximize Screen Space Available

Applies to Word 2007 and later

Sometimes people working in Word want to have just a blanks screen in which to type. Word has three methods to reduce the overhead from the Ribbon. This article is intended to look at and compare the three. We do not look at Draft View, Outline View, nor Reading Mode.

In Word on a small screen or small Window, it can seem like the controls are taking over! Here is a screen shot of a normal (not full-screen) Word window:

This article is about the three Ribbon size/display tools available in Word, but the screenshot above shows some other controls that could also be used.

  • The first is the control to maximize the window -- make it full size -- in the top right corner. (Orange rectangle). (Also available through keyboard by Alt+Space.)
  • Next are the close x controls for the Styles and Navigation Panes (Teal rectangles)

Minimize the Ribbon (Collapse the Ribbon)

The one that has been around in the Interface since Windows 2007 is the command to Minimize the Ribbon.

This one simply hides all of the commands on the Ribbon, leaving the Tabs at the top. Nothing else in the document view changes. If you click on a Tab, the commands for that tab appear.  The easiest way to turn this on or off is to double-click on a Ribbon Tab.

The screenshot also shows an alternative way of minimizing the Ribbon, the control at the top right which also has the ability to Auto-Hide the Ribbon. 

  • There is no keyboard shortcut for this and none is available in the list of commands for customization.
  • The Alt key gives access to the Ribbon and the tooltip letters and numbers.
  • Alt+Space gives access to the window size controls.
  • This mode is sticky. If Word is closed with this in effect, it will be in effect when Word is started again.
  • Minimizing the Ribbon only changes the Ribbon display.

AutoHide the Ribbon - Introduced with Word 2013 - Full Screen

This view changes Word to full screen and gets rid of the Ribbon, the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT), and the Status Bar. The same control in the top-right corner of the Window can be used for this.

  • When in this view, clicking the mouse pointer at the top of the screen will bring up the Ribbon and QAT so long as the mouse pointer is in the Ribbon or QAT. The Status bar will not reappear.
  • If the control is changed to either Show Tabs (minimized Ribbon) or Show Tabs and Commands (full Ribbon) they will return but Word will remain in Full Screen mode.
  • Double-Clicking on a Tab will not alter this; the only way to change it is to use the control at the top.
  • There is no keyboard shortcut for this and none is available in the list of commands for customization.
  • The Alt key gives access to the Ribbon and the tooltip letters and numbers.
  • Alt+Space gives access to the window size controls.
  • This mode is sticky. If Word is closed with this in effect, it will be in effect when Word is started again.

ToggleToolbars - Legacy Command available by adding Keyboard Shortcut

I recently had my memory of this command refreshed.

  • This, like minimizing the Ribbon, is a toggle command.
  • It retains the Window size.
  • It hides the Ribbon, QAT, Status Bar, and displayed Panes.

  • There are two ways to get out of this mode:
    1. Use the same command to toggle back.
    2. Close and Reopen Word (This is NOT a sticky setting.)
  • This view disables all access to the Ribbon other than through toggling back. The Alt key does not give access to the Ribbon.
  • The Alt+Space shortcut to resize the Window is disabled. (Function keys are not disabled.)

I have prepared a macro-free Add-In that assigns the ToggleToolbars Command to the shortcut Ctrl+;

Toggle Toolbars Add-In by Charles Kenyon (free)

However, you can do this yourself using Customize Keyboard Shortcuts.

Toggle Toolbars Command

Minimize the Ribbon

(Tabs Only)

Auto Hide Ribbon

Reading View

Ribbon Tabs Visible?

No

Yes

No unless click at top

Some – File Tools View only

Ribbon Commands Visible?

No

No but clicking on tab brings them up

No unless click at top

No

QAT Visible

No

Yes

No unless click at top

No

Status Bar Visible

No

Yes

No

Yes - modified

Rulers Visible

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Navigation Pane

No

Yes*

Yes*

No

Styles Pane, et al.

No

Yes *

Yes*

No

Forces Full Screen

No

No

Yes

No

Non-Printing Formatting Characters Visible

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Alt-Key access to Ribbon

No

Yes

Yes

No

Sticky ? Survives restart of Word?

No

Yes

Yes

No

* These and other Panes remain visible except with Toggle Toolbars and Reading View

See also my page: Ribbon Display Problem - Missing Ribbon

 

Discussion Info


Last updated May 26, 2020 Views 109 Applies to: