Part 1 and part 2 of this feature tour showed you how to create your own Ribbon customization using the Customize Ribbon dialog. That dialog allows you to create one customization only though. This might be sufficient for many, but what if you want to use multiple different Ribbons, maybe one for each of your common tasks? What if you want to create a customized Ribbon and share it with colleagues, friends or simply post it on the Internet? RibbonCustomizer™ Professional supports all of these scenarios. Part 3 of this feature tour already demonstrated this ability via the Classic UI tabs.
There is one more scenario that RibbonCustomizer™ Professional supports. It lets you very easily hide all Ribbon customizations and hence return to the original Microsoft Ribbon. Then, just as easily, you can switch all customizations back on. As MVP, I answer a lot of questions by providing steps. Those steps have to work on the user's machine, which means that I have to provide them using the default Microsoft Ribbon. Yet, at the same time, I like to customize my own Ribbon. Without the show/hide feature, I could not do both at the same time. To demonstrate this, I created a simple customization that removes the Home tab of Excel, as you can see in the following screenshot.
When I quickly want to hide all customizations, I click on the text portion of the Customize Ribbon split button and select Show/Hide Customization indicated with the red arrow in the next screenshot.
After using this menu option, the Excel Ribbon is back to its default. The Home tab is back. The following screenshot also shows that the icon of the Customize Ribbon button is grayed out, meaning disabled. When all customizations are hidden, the Customize Ribbon dialog cannot be opened.
In order to show all customizations again and also gain access to the Customize Ribbon dialog back, click the Customize Ribbon text again to open the RibbonCustomizer™ menu and select Show/Hide Customization again. You can see the menu with the disabled items and the Show/Hide Customization menu item indicated in the next screenshot. After you toggled this setting, the Ribbon will be back to its customized form and the Customize Ribbon dialog will be accessible again.
RibbonCustomizer™ supports so-called packages. A package is a file that contains a customization, all the labels you created in all their languages and some additional data. A package is essentially the internal file format of RibbonCustomizer™. All customizations made via the Customize Ribbon dialog are stored in packages. You can explicitly save any customization in a package, and you can load multiple customizations as packages, even at the same time. You can exchange packages with other users of RibbonCustomizer™. Packages use the file extension ".ribx".
If you are not interested in the technical details of the package file format, skip this paragraph. Technically, a package is an XML file containing all the custom labels, the Ribbon ID the package is for as well as some other meta-data. The XML file uses an XML Schema defined by pschmid.net Ltd. for this purpose. One element of this XML file contains within a CDATA block the actual RibbonX describing the customization. The RibbonX shown there is designed to work with RibbonCustomizer™ and therefore is not very likely to be usable without this add-in.
You can create a package directly in the Customize Ribbon dialog. For this particular example, I created a customization that removed the Styles group from the Word Home tab and replaced it with a smaller, more compact and in my opinion more useful group. The new Styles group shown in the following screenshot contains a large button (Quick Styles) which opens the QuickStyles gallery as a drop-down gallery. The previously large Change Styles menu is now smaller. Styles opens the Styles task pane while the Styles combobox so familiar from previous Office versions is now also present.
I can now save this customization as a package and make it available to other users of RibbonCustomizer™. To do so, I open the Customize Ribbon dialog and click Save Package as indicated in the next screenshot.
Clicking this button first opens a Save As dialog, where you can enter the filename for your new package. I called it StylesGroupReplacement.ribx and saved it on my desktop.
After choosing Save, the add-in wants to know some information from me about the package. The only field I have to fill out is Name/Description, but as you can see in the following screenshot, I filled out the others too. After pressing OK, RibbonCustomizer™ created the file on my desktop. After you saved the package, you can leave the Customize Ribbon dialog either by pressing OK or Cancel.
In order to demonstrate the effect of this package, I first used Reset Ribbon in the Customize Ribbon dialog and left the dialog with OK. To add the package to my Ribbon, I opened the Customization Schemes submenu and selected More as shown in the next screenshot.
This opened the Customization Scheme dialog shown in the following screenshot.
There are four elements to this dialog. The area marked with 1 shows all current packages that are available to be enabled/disabled. By default, RibbonCustomizer™ installs the Classic UI tabs for Word as packages. The Add button (2) lets you add new packages to this list, while the Remove button (3) lets you remove any packages after first selecting them in 1. The Close button (4) closes the dialog. To add my new package, I clicked the Add button and chose my package file in the file open dialog presented to me afterwards. As you can see in the next screenshot, the file was added to the Packages list. You should also note that RibbonCustomizer™ does not show the file name, but rather uses the Name/Description I entered when saving the package. After adding my new package, I closed the dialog.
The immediate effect of adding this package is that the Styles group on the Home tab is replaced with the new group created earlier. Looking into the Customization Schemes submenu, the new package is now listed there and has a checkmark next to it as you can see in the following.
The Customization Schemes submenu allows you to quickly enable/disable individual customizations by toggling them.
The item Default under User in that submenu deserves some explanation. Default is the customization created in the Customize Ribbon dialog. If you uncheck Default, all the customizations done directly in the Customize Ribbon dialog will not be applied to the Ribbon. This can be useful, if you just want to see the effect of one or more packages without having to use Reset Ribbon and delete all your regular customizations. Please note that the only way to enable Default again is to check it in the Customization Schemes submenu. Also, if you have not yet created any customization via the Customize Ribbon dialog, Default will not be shown in this list.
A package is just a file. That means, you can share it with other users of RibbonCustomizer™ any way you want. If you want to share it will all users of RibbonCustomizer™, then you can upload it to the RibbonCustomizer Packages forum. I uploaded the Styles group replacement to this forum. If you want to use this particular package yourself, you can download it from there.
There is no limit as to how many packages you can load per Ribbon in the Professional Edition of RibbonCustomizer™. The Starter Edition is limited to three packages per Ribbon (meaning three packages for Access, Excel, PowerPoint and Word each and three packages for each of Outlook's 19 different Ribbons). The Classic UI tabs installed by default count as two of those three already. You will have to remove them if you want to more than one of your own packages. Note that if you had more than three packages during the trial phase and your trial expired, RibbonCustomizer™ will only show three packages. As you remove packages, previously hidden packages will become visible to you in this situation.