Ribbon Acting Strangely

Written by Allen Wyatt (last updated October 10, 2020)
This tip applies to Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365


When Geoff opens a document in Word the program displays another tab of the ribbon instead of the Home tab. When he then clicks on the Home tab, all the tabs at the top overwrite the top few lines of the Word file, including the vertical scroll bar. Geoff has no idea how it happened, but it's driving him nuts. He wonders how to get his system back to "normal."

Actually, the description that Geoff provides sounds very similar to how Windows works when the ribbon has been "collapsed." This condition allows the ribbon to take less vertical space on the screen, but still allows all the ribbon functions to be accessible. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. The ribbon can appear collapsed at times.

While the ribbon is collapsed, if you click any of the tabs (well, they would look like tabs if the ribbon wasn't collapsed), the contents of that tab expands downward, obscuring whatever part of the document was there. When you click somewhere else in the document, the ribbon again collapses to the single line.

If you want to return your ribbon to normal, try any of the following:

  • Double click any of the tabs on the ribbon.
  • Press Ctrl+F1.
  • Click the tiny upwards-pointing arrow near the upper-right corner of the screen, to the right of the question mark icon or the search icon (depending on your version of Word).

Your ribbon should now be expanded and function as normal.

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (13308) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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