I'm working on a small monitor (a Netbook actually) and the Ribbon takes up quite some space of my visible area.
Is there any way I can make it go away when I'm not using it?
When you create a new message, double click on the top of the “Message” tab to minimize the Ribbon. Now only the names of the tabs will be shown.
When you click on one of the headers when the Ribbon is minimized, the Ribbon will pop-up like a (wide) menu and allows you to click on the option that you want. When click on the option or when you click in the message of the body, the Ribbon will automatically hide itself again.
To have the Ribbon be visible all the time again, double click on the “Message” tab once more.
As an alternative, you can also click the little down arrow on the right side of the Quick Access Toolbar to make a menu appear. Here you can enable/disable the option “Minimize the Ribbon”.