Buttons “Spacious” in Ribbon? How to Make Them Smaller!

You open Excel and notice something: The buttons in the ribbon are very big and spacious. That’s probably, why you came here, right? This layout of Excel (and actually the whole Office suite) is called “Touch Mode”. Here is how to switch it off and make the buttons smaller again.


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The problem: Buttons seem big and “spacious”

Does your ribbon looks like this?

The Excel ribbon in "Touch Mode". Buttons are big and spacious.
The Excel ribbon in “Touch Mode”.

The buttons are large and very spacious (actually, the size of the buttons is the same they just appear bigger because they are “stretched”). The problem when working on a normal computer: You can see fewer buttons. Don’t worry, that’s not a bug. The name is “Touch mode”. It’s made for working on tablets when you use your fingers on the touch screen.

How to make the ribbon buttons smaller and more “condensed”

Disable Touch Mode: Buttons are not big and spacious any longer.
Disable Touch Mode: Buttons are not big and spacious any longer.

Unfortunately, you can’t find the option for disabling this feature in the normal menu structure. If you can find this  symbol in your Quick Access Toolbar you are lucky. Just click on it and switch to mouse mode (see no. 1 on the image on the right hand side).

If you don’t have this symbol in your Quick Access Toolbar, you have two options:

  1. Add it to the Quick Access Toolbar. Therefore, click on the small arrows like shown at number 2 on the image on the right side. Next, click on “Touch/Mouse Mode”.
  2. If you use Excel 2016, you can also use the text input field saying “Tell me what you want to do”. Just type “Touch Mode” and you’ll see the button as in number 3 of the picture.

Please note: this is an Office-wide setting. So, if you change it in Excel, it also applies to Word, PowerPoint and so.


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Image by Markus Winkler from Pixabay

Henrik Schiffner is a freelance business consultant and software developer. He lives and works in Hamburg, Germany. Besides being an Excel enthusiast he loves photography and sports.

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