Types of commands on the Ribbon

If you take your mouse pointer over a Ribbon command, a pop-up box will be visible that contains the command’s name and a brief description of the command. Observe the Ribbon commands closely. You will see that command buttons are of different styles. We have classified the command buttons into the following categories:

Simple Buttons

The simple button is really simple. An example of a simple button is the Increase Font Size button in the Font group of the Home tab. Some simple buttons do their job immediately; others may pop-up a dialog box so that you can enter additional information.

Types of commands on the Ribbon

A simple button: Increase Font Size

Read More: How to show the Developer Tab on the Ribbon

Toggle buttons

If you click on a Toggle button, it changes its color. An example of a Toggle button is the Bold button in the Font group of the Home tab. Say you want to make a cell’s data bold. To do this, make the cell active (just clicking on the cell), click the Bold command button and enter something in the cell from your keyboard. The entered data will be bold and the Bold button’s color will be changed. If you click again on the Bold button, the data in the active cell will be normal again and the Bold button will be back to the previous color.

A toggle button. Bold Button

A toggle button. Bold Button

Simple drop-downs

You will find that some Ribbon commands have a small down arrow, these commands are drop-down commands. If you click a drop-down command, other commands will appear below the drop-down. An example of a simple drop-down is the Format command in the Cells group of the Home tab. If you click on this drop-down command, other relevant commands will appear on the screen.

A simple drop-down command: Format command

A simple drop-down command: Format command

Split buttons

A split button is made up of two parts: a one-click button and a drop-down button. If you click the button part, the command is executed. If you click the drop-down part(a down arrow), a list of other relevant commands will appear on the screen. An example of a Split button is Merge & Center in the Alignment group of Home tab. To merge and center the text of a cell, click the left part of this command. To get more commands related to Merges & Centers, click the arrow part of the button.

Split Buttons: Merge & Center

Split Buttons: Merge & Center-left part selected

Split Buttons: Merge & Center

Split Buttons: Merge & Center-arrow part selected

Difference between Drop-down Button & Split Button

Both types of buttons have small arrows. When you take your mouse pointer over a simple drop-down button, the whole button will change color. The split button has two parts. If you take your mouse pointer over the left part, the left part will change color, arrow part will not change. Selecting the arrow part will change the color of the whole command button and display relevant commands in the drop-down menu.


A checkbox control turns something on or off. An example is the Headings command in the Show group of the View tab. When the Headings check box is checked, the sheet displays Headings (Column letters & Row numbers). When the control isn’t checked, the headings don’t appear.

Check Box-Headings

Check Box-Headings


There is only one Spinner button in the Excel Ribbon. It is Scale in the Scale to Fit group of Page Layout tab. If you click the top part of the spinner, the value will increase, and clicking the bottom part will decrease the value.

Spinner Button: Scale

Spinner Button: Scale

Dialog Box launcher of Excel Ribbon

Some Ribbon groups contain a small icon in the bottom-right corner. It is known as a dialog box launcher. For example, the Home tab has dialog box launchers for the Clipboard, Font, Alignment, and Number groups — but not the Styles, Cells, and Editing groups. If you click the icon, Excel will display a dialog box with commands relevant to the group.

What is Ribbon in Excel

What is Ribbon in Excel? Dialog box launcher.

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