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

At this time when you ask for more information or help on any disabled button, you'll get this topic. We've tried to cover some of the more common issues, but can't cover all reasons a button is disabled.

Note: If you have a specific issue that's not covered here, please give a detailed description in the "Did this help section" at the end of this article. We do review comments and try to improve the topics.

Thanks to customer feedback, this article was updated July 26, 2016.

Why don't I see the ribbon at all?

If you're using SharePoint Online, the ribbon and tabs may be completely missing. For example, your list user interface may look similar to this:

View of a list in SharePoint

If so, you can usually bring back the ribbon if you click Return to Classic SharePoint at the bottom of your Quick Launch bar. To exit Classic SharePoint, close all browser windows, and then log back into Office 365.

If this doesn't work for you, contact your manager or site administrator.

Why specific buttons are disabled

There are a number of reasons why this can happen, with the most common being the Window 10 Edge browser. Other reasons buttons are unavailable are that they're tied to the selection of documents or list items. In some cases they will only be enabled when you select a single item, other times multiple items. If you don't have permissions, you may find options aren't available. Here 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 Windows 10, you may find that Open with Explorer stops working and is grayed out. The Edge browser is the default when you upgrade or install Windows 10. However, there are incompatibilities currently between SharePoint and Edge. To fix this problem you need to switch to Internet Explorer 11, which also ships with Windows 10, but isn't the default.

Start Internet Explorer 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 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.

There can be other problems trying to use Open with Explorer using different browsers and operating systems, here are some problems and fixes.

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

  • 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
  • You're editing a List in SharePoint and Open with Explorer is grayed out.    Open with Explorer is not available to lists, only Libraries.

  • Connect to Office or Connect to Outlook buttons are missing or 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
  • The command may use an ActiveX control. ActiveX controls are only supported in Internet Explorer, and not available in Edge, Google Chrome, Firefox, or Opera. Try using Internet Explorer.

  • The Alert Me or RSS buttons aren't enabled.    These features need to be enabled by your site administrator, manager, or owner. See Configure Web application general settings for more information.

  • You're on a page and the Quick Edit button isn't enabled.    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.

  • The Quick Edit button isn't enabled in certain list views.    Depending on how SharePoint online was updated (for example SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013), this can happen if the view is something other than 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.

      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.

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. For example, if you have the default Design permission level you cannot edit list items or documents and, therefore, any commands on the ribbon that pertain to editing list items or documents are unavailable.

If you have administrator rights see:

Note: If you're an end user with issues on your organization's specific application or website, such as how to get permissions or why you lost permissions, you need to talk to your site administrator, manager, or IT department. If you're not on a company page, contact the owner of the website for more information.

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:

  • You have the screen size reduced which makes the ribbon smaller than full size.    Some sections of the ribbon compress down to a single button with a dropdown. To view other options you need to click the arrow next to the button and expand the dropdown. See I am not seeing the ribbon items described in the Help articles for more info.

    The Manage group on the ribbon
  • The site or page is highly customized or built for your organization.    On customized sites, the SharePoint administrator can choose to not allow commands. Ask your site administrator, manager, or owner for more information.

Leave us a comment

Was this article helpful? If so, please let us know at the bottom of this page. If it wasn't helpful, let us know what was confusing or missing. Please be as specific as you can. We'll use your feedback to double-check the steps, correct issues, and update this article.

See Also

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

What version of Office am I using?

Was this information helpful?

Great! Any other feedback?

How can we improve it?

Thank you for your feedback!

×