If you are using a smaller Laptop (netbook etc.) you are facing the problem (or should I say challenge) of low screen resolution.
The lack of space (on your screen) makes it difficult to see all the information you want at all times. I use my netbook as my primary email and communication computer. Mostly because of its handy size and portability. The resolution is a mere 1024x600px which is to say at least not very High-Res. When it comes to using programs like Outlook, Word etc. with large ribbons or toolbars, the space available for work is, somewhat limited.
Luckily Office has one feature that gives me a bit more space for my chores: Temporarily hiding the Ribbons
Double Click and Click
To display the ribbons temporarily, simply click (once) the desired Ribbon Tab, and voilá it re-appears. When you take focus off of the ribbon (like clicking somewhere else on the screen) the ribbon goes back into hiding.
Should you wish to reset the Ribbon bar, then Double-Click any Ribbon Tab, and it will lock back into visible mode permanently.