First Published 10 Mar 2024

Customised ribbons can be created in different ways:

Application-specific ribbons are created using XML in a user defined system table USysRibbons.

For example, my UK Postal Address Finder (UKPAF) app has a custom ribbon called UKPAF Help:

The XML used to create this ribbon is as follows:

Similarly, my JSON Analyse & Transform for Access (JATFA) app has a custom ribbon called JATFA Help which was created with similar XML:

JATFA Ribbon
The USysRibbons table can also be used to restrict the ribbon menu to limit what end users can do.

For example, a highly locked down ribbon is supplied with my Secure Your Database example app. In this ribbon, only the File menu is shown:

Simple File Ribbon
This ribbon also removes all items (except Feedback) from the Backstage menu screen which is displayed when the File menu item is clicked

Simple File Backstage View
All ribbons created using the USysRibbons table are automatically included when you distribute your application.

Customised ribbons can also be created from Access Options by clicking the Customise Ribbon menu item

Access Options
The Customise Ribbon screen allows you to add built-in menu items to custom groups in existing Access ribbons or to create your own custom ribbon

Customise Ribbon
It is also possible to create your own ribbon menu items.
For example, the External Apps ribbon was created to allow easy access to external apps that I regularly use with Access

Run External Apps Ribbon
Ribbons created using this approach become part of the user interface. They are NOT supplied with the application in which they were created.

If you want to distribute a custom user interface ribbon you must first export it.
From the Customise Ribbon screen, select Import / Export then Export all customisations

Export Customisations
On the next screen, choose a location for your exported ribbon file:

Exported UI
The exported file contains XML similar to that in the USysRibbons system table and can be opened in any text editor such as Notepad.

Exported UI Text File
Distribute the file with your app. The end user will then need to open the Customise Ribbon screen, select Import / Export then Import customisation file

Import Customisation File
If you intend to distribute ribbons regularly, creating ribbons using the USysRibbons system table is a better approach.


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Colin Riddington           Mendip Data Systems                 Last Updated 10 Mar 2024

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