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Understanding Contextual Tabs in Office Excel

microsoft office excel

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Contextual tabs are special types of tabs that appear only when a particular object is selected, such as a chart or a shape. These contextual tabs contain commands specific to whatever object you are currently working on.

For example, after you add a shape to a spreadsheet, a new Format tab appears. This is not a standard tab, but a contextual tab—meaning it activates only when you work with a shape.

Follow the steps in this task to add a shape and view the contextual tab.

Work with Contextual Tabs

  1. Open Excel and start a new blank workbook (as described earlier in the “Explore Worksheets” task). When the new workbook is open, click the Insert tab.
  2. Click the Shapes command button.
  3. Click the rectangle shape in the menu of shapes.
  4. Click anywhere on your spreadsheet to embed your selected shape.
  5. Click your new shape to select it, and you see the contextual tab, labeled Format, that appears any time the shape is selected.
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