Why SharePoint ribbon buttons are unavailable

The SharePoint ribbon helps you find the commands that you need to complete tasks, but occasionally buttons on the ribbon are grayed out, or unavailable.

The Ribbon with disabled buttons

When you ask for help on any disabled button, you'll get this topic. We've tried to cover the more common issues, but can't cover all reasons a button is disabled.

Notes: If you have a specific issue that's not covered here, please give a detailed description at the end of this article in the feedback section.

We review and update topics based on your comments.

Updated November 29, 2016 thanks to customer feedback.

Open in Explorer is grayed out

Open in Explorer is a super helpful feature, though under some conditions it doesn't work. The following are some specific problems and fixes.

The Open with Explorer button is typically disabled for an unsupported browser or unsupported OS.

Open with Explorer option selected but not enabled.

In SharePoint Online or OneDrive for Business, Open with Explorer is called View in File Explorer, and is under the view button on the toolbar.

If you're using Chrome, FireFox, or the default Microsoft Edge browser in Windows 10, you may find that Open with Explorer is grayed out. To fix this problem you need to run Internet Explorer 11, which also ships with Windows 10, but isn't the default. You can update to it with earlier versions of Windows.

Start Internet Explorer 11 in Windows 10
  1. Click Start Windows 10 start button .

  2. Type Internet Explorer, and then select Internet Explorer.

To keep SharePoint Online from opening Microsoft Edge when you open pages in the future, change your default browser to Internet Explorer 11.

To change your default browser
  1. In Windows 10, click Start Windows 10 start button , type Default Programs, and then click Default Programs.

    Default programs in Windows
  2. Under Web browser click Microsoft Edge, and then click Internet Explorer in the Choose an app dialog box.

    Selection of Edge or IE browser in Default programs
  3. Close the Choose default apps dialog box.

Here are some other things that can go wrong.

Buttons only work when you're doing something

Some tabs, groups, and commands on the ribbon are available depending on what you're doing in SharePoint. The most common issue is the need to select an item before certain buttons are enabled.

Depending on the task, you'll need to select one or more items in your library or list to enable file and list specific buttons.

  • View and Edit properties, Check In or Out, Share or Download a copy buttons are not available in a list or library. You need to select an item or document before these will be enabled. If you select more than one item, some of these will be grayed out again.

    Ribbon with edit buttons grayed out

    Before selecting an item

    Edit section of ribbon with item selected

    After selecting an item

  • You selected a group of documents, and the edit and view buttons are grayed out. These items only work on a single selection. However you can do other commands, such as Check Out.

    Edit part of ribbon with two items selected in list

More resources

Here are some list and library related links that may help you.

When you're editing a page, such as adding Web Parts or other contents, the Save, Save as, and the Rename page buttons under the Page tab are disabled if you haven't clicked Edit first.

To enable and save or rename a page, click Edit first. Make your changes, and then click Save, Save as, or Rename.

Page ribbon showing disabled buttons

Alert, connect, and Quick Edit

Here are some things that cause these buttons to be disabled.

Make sure you have Office 365 with the specific apps installed, and are the latest versions.

Ribbon with disabled connect to outlook button with it highlighted

These features need to be enabled by your site administrator, manager, or owner.

For more on feature settings, see Configure Web application general settings.

For more info on Alerts and RSS feeds, see Create an alert or subscribe to an RSS feed

If you're on a page with several Web Parts, try clicking the library or list you want to edit and then try the Quick Edit button again.

This can happen if the view isn't the default. Here are some possible fixes.

  • Use or create a view that uses the Default view style for the list. Select LIBRARY or List and then click Modify View. In the Style section of the Edit View page, select Default and then OK. For more info, see Create, change, or delete a view of a list or library.

    Note: This method affects the way the view is displayed on the page

  • Use the Datasheet View in the Current View section of the Library or List tab on the ribbon. The Datasheet View allows for inline editing of list items.

Problems caused by missing permissions

If you don't have the proper permissions, some buttons will appear disabled or not visible and some buttons won't work with specific features.

Permissions are assigned by your administrator. When you try to access a specific page or feature and get an Access Denied error, look for a Request access link on the dialog. Click and fill out the request. Here's a typical Access Denied dialog with a Request access link:

SPO Access denied dialog box.

If you don't see a Request access link, then that feature may have been disabled. If so, contact your administrator or help desk to request access.

If you have administrator rights see Understanding permission levels.

Notes: If you're an end user with issues on your organization's specific page or site, such as how to get permissions or why you lost permissions, you need to talk to your site administrator, manager, or in-house IT department. If you're not sure who to talk to, ask your manager, receptionist, or colleague.

If you're on a website, contact the owner of the website for more information. Look for "Contact" or "About" on the page. If there isn't a contact, enter the domain name into a whois registry on the Internet, such as https://whois.icann.org/. The results should give you the Admin contact of the site.

Why some buttons are enabled, just not visible

You can be in the right area with the right permissions but some buttons don't seem to appear. Here are some more reasons that buttons are not visible:

Some sections of the ribbon compress down to a single button with a drop down. To view other options you need to click the arrow next to the button and expand the drop down. See I am not seeing the ribbon items described in the Help articles for more info.

The Manage group on the ribbon

On customized sites, the SharePoint administrator can choose to not allow commands. Ask your site administrator, manager, or owner for more information.

Why don't I see the ribbon at all?

There are several situations where you won't see the SharePoint ribbon at all.

If so, you can usually bring back the ribbon if you click Return to Classic SharePoint at the bottom of the Quick Launch bar on the left of your screen. To exit Classic SharePoint, close all browser windows, and then log back into Office 365. If you don't see the classic SharePoint option, check with your administrator or IT dept, as they may have disabled it.

Quick Launch bar on left of screen with Return to classic view highlighted.

With on-premises versions of SharePoint, your organization or company may have a highly customized site, which doesn't included the ribbon. If your site is highly customized, you'll have to contact your manager, site administrator, or IT Department.

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See Also

I am not seeing the ribbon items described in the Help articles

What version of Office am I using?

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