Thanks, Gene. This ribbon tutorial was excellent.
For those who haven't
gotten good instruction or instructional material about
ribbons, here is a tutorial, not very long, to read and
practice with if you wish. Don't believe all the
negative comments about ribbons until you try working
with them yourself. A lot of the negative comments,
perhaps most, are the result of people not getting good
instruction or good instructional material.
Under my signature is the
tutorial. I don't have Windows 10 so I don't discuss
the ribbons there but ribbons are ribbons just as menus
are menus. Once you learn to use ribbons, you can use
provide a brief tutorial based on what I wrote years ago
of how to work with ribbons.
a little to it here.
know how the organization of Windows has changed in
Windows 10 but this description should allow you to look
through the Windows ribbons, or any other ribbons, and
see how things are organized.
I'll discuss a structure found in later versions of
Windows that you need to know about-- the split button.
One thing you will see as you look around ribbons and in
other places in Windows are split buttons. A split
button often allows you to see more options than just
the default action. Let's take an example.
Let's say you come across a split button that says shut
down Windows. If you press enter on that button,
Windows will shut down. That is the default action.
Split buttons often show more options if you either
right arrow while on the button or down arrow. As an
example, if you are on the shut down split button, you
can right arrow and a list of options will open. the
items in the list include sleep, hibernate, restart, and
others. You up or down arrow through the list or use
the short cut commands you hear announced as you move
through the list. the letter shortcuts often take
actions without pressing enter so be careful when using
them, just as you are in menus.
review. You find a split button that says shut down.
If you press enter, the computer will shut down. If you
right arrow, other options may be displayed. Or if you
down arrow, other options may be displayed. A split
button won't work with both methods. One method, either
right arrowing or down arrowing will do so if it can be
done with the button. Try both methods if you don't
know which one might work. If you are on a tool bar
which extends across the screen from left to right, down
arrowing will open additional options. If you think
about this, it makes sense. If you are in a menu, down
arrowing will move you to the next item in the menu. So
you right arrow on the split button to cause it to
display more options. In a tool bar that extends across
the screen from left to right, right arrowing will move
you to the next item in the tool bar. So you down arrow
when on the split button to cause it to display more
options. But some tool bars run up and down the screen,
as menus do. And at times, you may not be sure which
way a structure extends on screen. So, as I said, if
you are not sure or don't know, try both methods of
causing the split button to display more options.
Often, one of them will work. If you open the options a
split button offers and don't want to work with them,
arrow in the opposite direction to move out of them.
For example, if you right arrowed to open more options,
Some split buttons don't do anything when you right
arrow or down arrow. In that case, open them with alt
down arrow. Then tab through the additional options.
I've almost never worked in this way with split buttons
but if you want to close a split button, try alt up
arrow if you've used alt down arrow to open it.
ribbons, much of the complaining about them is not
warranted if you understand how they work and how to use
short cut commands effectively and efficiently. and I
would strongly recommend against using the JAWS virtual
menus, no matter what the JAWS training material says
about ribbons being difficult to use. the training
material is just plain wrong and using virtual menus,
you will be unnecessarily dependent on one
screen-reader. There are other disadvantages to using
them which I won't go into here.
looking at ribbons and doing what is described below in
wordpad. Everyone with Windows 7 has Wordpad on their
machine. Wordpad provides a good environment to look at
and practice working with ribbons.
essence of working with ribbons is this:
Press alt to move to the upper ribbon.
You will probably be on an item that says home tab.
Items on the upper ribbon are announced as tabs such as
home tab, view tab, etc.
To see what ribbons are available, right or left arrow
repeatedly to move through the ribbons. Move in one
direction to move through all of them, just as you would
to move through all the menus.
demonstration, just so we are all doing the same thing,
move with the right arrow. When you get back to where
you started, you can keep right arrowing to move through
the items again, if you wish. You can move through all
the items as many times as you want. Or you can move
with the left arrow whenever you want to move in the
view. Then start tabbing. You will move through all
items in what is called the lower ribbon that are in the
words you tab to see the items in a ribbon once you move
to it. Tab moves you forward through the items, shift
tab moves you backword.
So tab and shift tab are used instead of up and down
in the lower ribbon are buttons. Use either the space
bar or enter to activate the button. You may find a
button that opens a menu and if you press enter or the
space bar, you will then be in a menu.
you move to an item, you will hear the short cut command
to work with that item.
But JAWS has a bug and you often won't. To hear the
short cut, use the command JAWS key tab. If you are
using the default JAWS key, it is either insert.
tabbing to an item in a Wordpad ribbon and using the
command insert tab. You will hear some extraneous
information. The last thing you will hear is the short
cut sequence. You can repeat the information by
repeating the command as often as you want.
at an item which is usually called the application
menu. Return to the main program window in wordpad by
closing the ribbons. You can either press escape
repeatedly, if necessary, or you can press alt once.
Now, open the ribbons again with alt.
Start right arrowing until you get to the application
You will hear application menu and then something like
button drop down grid. Never mind drop down grid. It's
a description you don't have to worry about. The
important things are that you are on a button and at the
application menu. Press enter or the space bar to
activate the button. Activating the button opens the
menu. Start down arrowing. you will hear all the short
cut commands necessary to open an item or take an
action. When you got to the menu item, you heard alt
f. When you open the menu and move through it, you will
hear all the letters announced. for example, if you
down arrow to save as, you will hear alt f a. that
means that, when you are in the main program window, you
open the menu as you always did, alt f, then type a.
Alt f opens the menau and a then opens save as. Ribbon
programs have one menu and you should look through it.
Many important and common commands and interfaces such
as options may be there. By options, I mean the kind of
options interface you used to find in the tools menu.
Now the we
have seen the menu, let's look at the ribbons structure
To review, and add more information, as you have seen,
you can move to the ribbon interface with alt. Then
right and left arrow, just as you would move from menu
You can also move to a ribbon using alt and a letter.
So, alt h takes you to the home ribbon. Alt v takes you
to the view ribbon, etc. Once you are on the ribbon you
want to work with, tab to move forward through the items
in a ribbon. Shift tab to move back through the items.
So tab and shift tab are used instead of up and down
Ribbons are divided into categories which you will hear
announced as you tab. for example, in an e-mail
program, a ribbon may have a category named respond.
You may hear this announced as respond tool bar. As you
tab, you will hear commands such as reply and forward in
the respond category. When you hear a category
announced, don't tab until you hear everything spoken.
You will miss the first command in the category if you
do. I'm talking about working with an unfamiliar
there are often many more commands and items in a ribbon
than in a menu. So memorize command sequences for items
you know you will use regularly.
As I said, there are different categories in ribbons to
help organize items. You can quickly jump from category
to category in a ribbon to help you see if there is a
category you want to look through.
Move to a ribbon in Wordpad. For example, alt h for
hhome or alt v for view.
Then repeatedly issue the command control right arrow to
move forward from category to category and control left
arrow to move back. When you get to a category you want
to hear the items in, start tabbing. Of course, you can
shift tab to move back.
ribbon in Wordpad and tab through it to see how it is
organized by moving through it.
Then use control right arrow to move by category and tab
to see what is in a category.
such as control o, control n, control s, control r, etc.
are mostly retained in programs
that use ribbons, though you won't hear them announced.
If you don't already know them, you'll have to find them
in ways such as by looking at a list of keyboard
commands for the program. Such lists are often
available in the help for the program. If you already
know the commands from having used an older version of
the program, most or perhaps even all of the commands
you know will work.