How can I make a minimized Office ribbon to drop-down on hover over a tab and disappear after the mouse leaves it?

Among other annoyances, one of the worst usability disadvantages of the Office ribbon interface over traditional menus is its lack of reaction on mouse hover.

You can hide it by double-clicking on a tab (since you don't want it to take half of your already small laptop screen). But then each time you need a command, you have to click on a tab for the ribbon to drop-down over your document, then click on the command you need, and then click on the tab again for the ribbon to get out of your way.

The two additional clicks are enough cognitive load and distraction to feel as a major annoyance when you need three clicks instead of one several hundred times a day.

So the question is whether we can get back for the Office ribbon the behavior of a menu: open on hover and disappear after use.

I know I can leave the ribbon all time open, but I do need my screen for things more useful than a huge ribbon full of buttons I never use.

Note: I am OK with VBA or Auto-It / AutoHotKey or Perl / DDE scripting.


I'm going to take a different tack in answering your question. Since you seem to be so irritated with the Office ribbon (even though it's 2015 and the ribbon/Fluent UI has been around since Office 2007), why not get rid of it altogether? Here are a couple of options:

  1. UBitMenu for Office 2007/2010/2013 and Outlook 2010/2013 (free for personal use only):



  2. Classic Menu for Office 2007/2010/2013 Suites and Applications (non-free, 15-day unrestricted trial):



  • Thank you! (Upvoting your kind answer, but still not marking it as a real answer.) First, both methods seem to still living inside the ribbon, and thus occupy the same space of the screen. Second, I don't want to get used to something too individual -- ribbon is here to stay, for bad or for worse, and I have to adapt to it, in order to be able to use Word on other computers. The best interface is the familiar interface, so I have to get used to where Microsoft hid which button on the ribbon. So I look for minor improvements that Microsoft ought to have thought of but didn't. – Alexander Gelbukh May 7 '15 at 0:01
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    Perhaps this will help? – Karan May 7 '15 at 2:57
  • Thank you! This is also a good example of fixing the broken Office interface. Unfortunately it does not answer this specific question of mine: how to make the ribbon a bit more responsive. Perhaps there is no way: they wanted to do something as inconvenient as they could, and they succeeded. – Alexander Gelbukh May 8 '15 at 3:09
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    It might be possible via AutoHotkey but this particular requirement is beyond my AHK skill level. I'd advise you to also post on their forum so the real experts can take a look and respond. – Karan May 8 '15 at 3:47

You may be looking for the Shortcut: Ctrl+Shift+F1 in Excel?
This toggles the ribbon between on/on-click which is not quite hover, but reasonably close; certainly in 'on-click' mode it save having to double tap to make the bar appear and disappear again.

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