EXCEL 2007 Basics: The Microsoft Office 2007 Interface

A. Colin Cameron, Dept. of Economics, Univ. of Calif. - Davis

This January 2009 help sheet gives a very brief overview of the MS Office 2007 Fluent Interface for Excel 2007.

EXCEL 2007 versus EXCEL 2003 and earlier

For basic data analysis using the Data Analysis Toolpack, such as descriptive statistics and regression, versions of Microsoft Excel from 1997 on are adequate.

However, the user interface for Excel 2007 is much different from that in earlier versions. In particular


The office button is at the top left-hand corner of the Ribbon.
It replaces the File Menu of earlier  versions of  Office and Excel.
It is used to Open, Save, Print and Close files.

Office Button


The commands are organized by Tab and Group.
At the highest level is the Ribbon for each Tab.
Here this is is shown for the Home Tab. 

Microsoft Office Excel 2007 ribbon

Eventually we want to get to commands that we use.
From the Ribbon the sequence is

  1. Tabs:
    The seven tabs are Home, Insert, Page Layout, Formulas, Data, Review, View.
    - The above example uses the Home tab.
  2. Groups:
    These show related items together.
    - For example, there is the Font group (within the Home tab).
  3. Commands
    - A command is a button, a box to enter information, or a menu.
    - For example, there is the B button (in the Font group in the  Home tab) to make text bold.
    - The Dialog Box launcher is a small arrow that gives additional commands (e.g. at bottom right of the Font group).

For each of the seven tabs the Ribbon looks as follows on my computer (the look of the ribbon varies with screen resolution and with the active Excel document).
The most useful Groups for basic data analysis are highlighted.

1. Home Tab - Use to read in data and save data in various formats.

Home Ribbon

2. Insert  Tab - Use to create Charts.

Insert Tab

3. Page Layout Tab

Page Layout

4. Formulas Tab

Formulas Tab

5. Data Tab - Use the Data Analysis add-in for histograms, descriptive statstics, regression, ....

NOTE: If the Data Analysis tab (far right) does not appear on your computer you need to activate it - see Excel 2007: access

Data Tab

6. Review Tab

Review Tab

7. View Tab

View Tab


For a two-page document showing the Office Button and the Ribbons for the seven Tabs click here.

The following summarizes the Groups within each of the Tabs.
For data analysis most useful is

GROUPS WITHIN THE TAB (and Selected Commands within Group)
1. Home Tab
1Home.gif Clipboard (cut, paste, ....)

Font (font type, font size, bold, ....)

Alignment (left-justified, centered, ....)

Number ($, %, decimal places, ....)

Styles (for tables, cells)

Cells (insert and delete cell(s) or rows or columns)

Editing (find, replace, ....)
2. Insert  Tab
2Insert.gif Tables

Illustration (picture, clip art, ....)

Charts (column, line, pie, scatter, ....)

Links (hyperlinks)

Text (insert text box, object, symbol, word art, ....)
3. Page Layout Tab
3Pagelayout.gif Themes (select colors, fonts, ... for the entire document)

Page Setup (margins, orientation, background, ....)

Scale to Fit (scale or number of pages)

Sheet options (gridlines, heading, ....)

4. Formulas Tab
Function library (sum, financial, math, statistical (in more), ....)

Defined names

Formula auditing

Calculation options
5. Data Tab
Get External Data (from text, web, ....)


Sort and Filter (sort worksheet rows, ....)

Data tools (text to columns)


Analysis (Data Analysis Add-in for histogram, descriptive statistics, regression, ....)
6. Review Tab
6Review.gif Proofing (spellcheck, ....)


Changes (track worksheet changes, ....)
7. View Tab
7View.gif Workbook Views (normal, page layout, ....)

Show / Hide (gridlines, ....)

Zoom (zoom level for screen display of worksheet cells)

Windows (arrangements for multiple windows)


The following website
Microsoft Office Online Training: Up to speed with Excel 2007
is quite helpful.

For further information on how to use Excel go to