Proper Case for Office 2013 Ribbon Menus
Subtitle: How to stop your Office 2013 menus from SCREAMING at you
The caption text for the Office 2013 top level ribbon menu choices was changed to upper case. This was met with mixed reviews and if you prefer the Proper or Title text look of previous versions, there is some seldom used built-in functionality to shift the ribbon's captions to the way you are familiar with.
If you rename a ribbon menu caption from HOME to Home, you have to append a single character to the end it order to get it to 'stick'. This method involves adding a <space> as a suffix to 'lock in' the renamed ribbon captions. While a standard space is sufficient for this, you may wish to apply a little geekery by substituting one of the narrower Unicode space characters instead. This decision is best made before starting the actual ribbon renaming procedure. Some of the options available are,
- Common Space|Non-Breaking Space ( | )
- U+2004 or 8196 dec Three-Per-EM Space ( )
- U+2005 or 8197 dec Four-Per-EM Space ( )
- U+2006 or 8198 dec Six-Per-EM Space ( )
- U+2009 or 8201 dec Thin Space ( )
- U+200A or 8202 dec Hair Space ( )
- U+200B or 8203 dec Zero Width Space ()
Each of these special characters is available from the Windows Character map utility or Word 2013's Insert, Symbols, more Symbols command. They can also be copied directly from within the brackets in the bullet list above. Their use is strictly optional; a regular <space> (ASCII 0×20 or 032 dec) is sufficient but a character will be required as a suffix.
Renaming the Ribbon Menus's Captions Manually
The Customize Ribbon command's Rename facility can be used to modify the menu captions to something more aesthetically pleasing. There are a few methods of getting to this functionality. This is the quickest that I'm aware of.
Start by opening one of the Office 2013 programs to a new document/spreadsheet/presentation. I will use Excel 2013 for this example. As you are only dealing with the top level ribbon commands, you may wish to tap Ctrl+F1 to hide the remainder of the ribbon commands. Ctrl+F1 is a keystroke combination shortcut that can be used within any Office 2007-2013 program to toggle the show/hide of the ribbon commands. You can also double-click any of the top level (Home, Insert, Page Layout, etc) ribbon commands to toggle the view from Show to Hide and back.
Use the FILE menu to access Options (e.g. Alt+F, T). When the Excel Options dialog opens, choose Customize Ribbon¹ from the list down the left.
In the right-hand pane, select Main Tabs² from the Customize the Ribbon drop-down, Start with Home³ and click the Rename⁴…. button.
Append the Home display name by typing a common space or pasting one of the custom spaces discussed above. For this example, I will use the Hair Space character. Click OK to save your changes. If you carry through and click OK to save and close the Excel Options window, you should be presented with something like the following.
The red circle is for demonstration purposes. If this preview of your Excel 2013 ribbon menu meets your approval, tap Alt+F, T to re-enter the Excel options and repeat this procedure for each of the other top level ribbon captions.
You will be unable to change either the FILE or ADD-INS menu captions. These are not available to be renamed. You will notice that I've unchecked the Add-Ins menu item and checked the Developer menu item. To complete the menu caption revisions, return to Excel Options, Customize Ribbon and select Tool Tabs for all of the context-sensitive ribbon menu items.
The following shows the modified Tables, Design context menu.
I'll grant that this process, while simple, is a bit tedious in its repetition. See the following Importing Custom Menu UIs section for a method of making these changes more automated through importing custom mso:control XML schema file(s),
Saving, Exporting and Distributing Your Customized UI
When you have the menus set up just the way you want them, you may want to distribute the customization to another computer. Within the same Excel Options, Customize Ribbon area is a facility for exporting your changes to a XML file that can be moved to another computer and imported into the same Office 2013 program.
The export process also makes a handy tool for backing up your menu changes.
Importing Custom Menu UIs
Importing a custom User Interface (aka UI) is simply a reverse of the process to import and the command is located in the same place. Importing a new .exportedUI XML configuration file will remove all existing customization.
It is highly recommended that you export any customization you currently have before importing. The .exportedUI configuration files are in XML format and can be manually edited in any XML editor or even a TXT editor such as Windows Notepad.
I have supplied a series of .exportedUI files already set for the proper case conversion of all default menus for five of the major Office 2013 programs below in the Resources section. Importing them will overwrite any customization you've already adopted but they make a good starting point for creating your own set of files. These include the standard and context menus with a default QAT menu.
The decision to change the Office 2013 ribbon menu captions to upper case was a much debated subject during the beta testing period. Suffice to say that Microsoft listened to many viewpoints and ultimately decided on the upper case text. This decision no doubt involved a healthy dose of market research but if you find yourself in the minority then I hope this article helps you get back the menu interface you prefer.
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