Excel: Find Icons on the Ribbon

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Problem: The new ribbon user interface might be great for people new to Excel, but I knew the old Excel perfectly well. Why did Microsoft put pivot tables on the Insert tab instead of the Data tab

Strategy: The transition does not take that long (in cosmic time), if you follow a few basic rules.

Here are some simple guidelines:

  • The Home tab contains the most frequently used commands. If you want to find something, start looking on the Home tab. The Excel 2003 Edit menu, Format menu, and Formatting toolbar is here.
  • The most-used commands on the Excel 2003 Insert menu are not on the Insert tab in Excel 2013! Instead, commands to insert cells, rows, columns, and worksheets are on an Insert dropdown on the Home tab. Commands to insert a function or a name are on the Formulas tab. Insert Comment is on the Review tab.
  • The Pivot Tables command has been moved from the Data menu to the left side of the Insert tab.
  • Most Excel 2003 File menu commands are on the Excel 2013 File tab. This tab is called the Backstage view and is discussed in detail later. A few File commands are elsewhere. For example, Save Workspace is on the View tab. Page Setup and Print Area are on the Page Layout tab.
  • Everything on the old Window menu and most things from the old View menu are now on the View tab.
  • Help is now the question mark icon at the top right of the window. Everything else that used to be on the Help menu is now under File, Help. Except Clippy. Clippy has retired.
  • The old Tools menu has been split among many tabs. You will find these commands spread among the Review, Formulas, Home, Data, View, and File tabs.

Microsoft does not provide a classic mode, but third party companies do. Check out the Classic Excel Menu from AddInTools.com or Toolbar Toggle. With both of these add-ins, you can work in the Excel 2003 menu, and then switch over to the ribbon menu when you need to access new features.