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Understanding the Ribbon Interface in Creo 2.0

Posted by NancyPardo on Jul 30, 2012 10:39:14 AM

Creo 2.0 is the release that everyone is racing to implement. One factor driving this adoption is the compatibility of Creo 2.0 with Windchill PDMLink 9.1, Windchill 10.0 and 10.1. Other factors are the compelling functionality as well as the widespread agreement that Creo 2.0 is ready for “primetime”.


With this article, we will dive into the ribbon interface in an attempt to bring everyone up to a common level of understanding as well as clarify several areas where early adopters of Creo have had questions.

Getting Started with the Creo 2.0 Ribbon Interface

The ribbon is a series of tabs and icons arranged horizontally at the top of the Creo application window.

 

Ribbon1.png

Figure 1

 

On each tab of the ribbon, icons are arranged together into groups of related commands. (Figure 1) Each group of icons may also have an overflow panel that has additional commands that can be accessed by clicking the small arrow. (Figure 2)

 

Ribbon2.png

Figure 2

 

The icons themselves may be different sizes. (Figure 3) For example, some icons are full size with a label, some are small with a label and some are small without a label. When Creo is used on smaller screens or if the window is made narrower, large icons will become smaller or icons with labels will have the label automatically removed so the entire ribbon can still be displayed. The “collapse priority” can be controlled by each user and it determines which icon groups will shrink first to accommodate a smaller window size.

 

Ribbon3.png

Figure 3


Also, some icons drive only one function and other icons are referred to as “split icons” that have a flyout menu. (Figure 4)

 

Ribbon4.png

Figure 4


The flyout menu is another way that related functions are collected into a common launching point. It is important to understand that clicking the icon will launch the main command and clicking the arrow will present the flyout menu.

Finding Commands on a Ribbon

When you first begin using Creo 2.0, you can dive in with the confidence that the Command Search function has your back. Think of this as a better and faster “menu mapper”. If you can’t find the command you want to use, simply click the Command Search icon and enter the item you are looking for. The key here is you do not need to use “wildcards”. Simply begin typing a portion of the command you are looking for and the system will dynamically present a list of functions containing the string you have entered. Figure 5 breaks down this workflow.

 

Ribbon5.png

Figure 5


Several important things to note about this capability:


  1. Hovering your cursor over the item in the list will open the tab it is on and highlight the icon in yellow on that tab. Now you know where to find it next time!
  2. Clicking an item from the Search list will actually launch the command.
  3. Command Search will find mapkeys too!

Collapsing and Expanding the Ribbon

Experienced users may feel that the ribbon consumes too much vertical screen space. No problem, the ribbon can be collapsed to enlarge the viewing area for your model or drawing. This can be accomplished in two ways:


  1. Double Click On A Tab.
  2. Click the Minimize/Maximize Ribbon icon.

 

Ribbon6.png

Figure 6

 

When the ribbon is collapsed, single clicking on the tab will temporarily display the ribbon overlapping the screen so you can select a command. Double clicking the tab again or clicking the Minimize/Maximize Ribbon icon again will return the ribbon to normal display. Even if you prefer to drive Creo with the ribbon maximized, understanding how the ribbon can become minimized will help avoid confusion while transitioning to Creo 2.0.

Take Advantage of the Quick Access Toolbar

Out of the box, there is a small row of icons above the ribbon, known at the Quick Access Toolbar. This toolbar can be positioned above or below the ribbon and can be customized to include the icons you would like to see all the time.

 

Ribbon7.png

Figure 7


The Quick Access Toolbar is unique to each mode of Creo. In other words, the Quick Access Toolbar that is present when working on a solid part will be different than the Quick Access Toolbar for drawings, assemblies or sheetmetal models.


The Quick Access Toolbar is important as it provides a simple way to place small icons on the UI all the time.  For people that prefer the smaller icon arrangement of prior releases, this is your opportunity to develop something similar in Creo.

Customize the Ribbon to Make it Your Own

The Creo 2.0 user experience has been improved by providing simple ways for every user to tailor the ribbon to suit the way they use Creo. Consider the out-of-the-box arrangement a good starting point, and build what works for you from there. The two ways to customize the ribbon and its behavior are:

 

Customizing the UI using the right mouse button popup commands: This is a slick way to tweak the UI on the fly and a great place to begin to personalize Creo 2.0. Hover your cursor over any icon and press the right mouse button to use these commands:


  1. Add to Overflow. Move lesser used icons off the ribbon and into the Overflow panel to develop a simple and clean UI.
  2. Add to Group. Move icons from the Overflow panel to the ribbon if you use them frequently.
  3. Add to Quick Access Toolbar. Place a small shortcut icon for this function onto the Quick Access Toolbar.

Ribbon8.png

Figure 8

 

Customizing the UI using the Options Dialog: Click File > Options and there is a nice, simple dialog box for customizing the ribbon. (Figure 9)

 

Ribbon9.png

Figure 9

 

Within this dialog box you can:


  1. Set the order of the tabs from left to right.
  2. Remove a tab to simplify the ribbon if the functionality is not being used.
  3. Add a custom tab to the ribbon.
  4. Arrange the order of the groups on any tab.
  5. Remove any groups on a tab that you will not use.
  6. Add a custom group on a tab to suit your needs.
  7. Add, move or remove any icons from within a group or the overflow list.
  8. Rename any of the tabs or groups.
  9. Define the collapse priority.

 

You can also drag and drop tabs, groups, priority and icons while in the Options Dialog instead of using the dialog “up/down” arrows to change the sequence.

Summary

With Creo 2.0, PTC has brought the user interface up to the Microsoft standards and beyond. The larger icons and labels will be helpful to seasoned users with challenged eyesight as well as those that are new to Creo 2.0.

 

In addition, Command Search will allow users to remain productive during the transition and learn where their favorite functions are located. And the ability to easily customize the layout and behavior of the ribbon should allow the development of an efficient user interface aligned with how Creo is used in a particular organization or role.

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