3 Ways To Make Office 2013 More Like Office 2010

Ryan Dube 25-04-2013

make office 2013 look like 2010A few months ago, I had a great opportunity to get a drastically discounted copy of Microsoft Office as part of a corporate discount program. When I went to purchase the product, I assumed it would be Office 2010, which is what I’ve been using at work for the past two years. Well, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it was actually a discounted license of Office 2013. Thinking that I was extremely fortunate to get one of Microsoft’s cutting-edge versions of office for so cheap, I hurriedly downloaded and installed it, looking forward to diving into the experience of Microsoft’s latest and greatest Office offering.


Boy, was I ever in for a surprise. It doesn’t take much Googling to come across negative feedback out across the Internet about Office 2013. The most common complaints circle around how different Office 2013 is than Office 2010. There’s the odd splash page when you launch Office apps. There’s the strange menu bar without the ribbon that you became accustomed to in Office 2013. There’s the fact that saving takes a few extra steps, because apparently Microsoft is now using its Office products to try and promote SkyDrive.

MUO readers were well warned about these problems right from the beginning.  Christian described a lot of the issues you could expect with Word 2013 Word 2013: An In-Depth Review Of What You Should Expect It’s been three years since Microsoft launched Office 2010. Released alongside online versions (Microsoft Office Web Apps) of its popular applications, the jewel in the crown of the suite was, of course, Microsoft Word. Offering... Read More back in 2012. Christian then went into even more depth by writing a full guide to what’s new in Office 2013 Microsoft Office 2013: The Unofficial Guide If you're considering an upgrade to Office 2013, or you've just paid for the package and want to make the best of it, this Microsoft Office 2013 Guide is for you. Read More . In March of this year, Christian then offered a few tricks and tips to get rid of Office 2013 annoyances 5 Tricks to Disable Annoyances and Improve Office 2013 Microsoft Office 2013 has been available for some months now, and as is always the case with a new release there are a few quirks and annoyances that have led to users wondering if they... Read More , and then apparently got so fed up with the whole thing that this month he’s started warning people not to buy Office 2013 Have Office 2010? Don't Buy Office 2013, Here's Why I’m coming to the end of my trial period with Microsoft Office 2013. Over the weeks it has been a reasonably solid experience with one or two quirks causing me no end of frustration. But... Read More at all.

Making Office 2013 More Like Office 2010

Let’s take a step back here – is Office 2013 really that bad? After all – it is still Office, and has all of the same functionality as Office 2010 did. Just check out our Office 2013 guide Microsoft Office 2013: The Unofficial Guide If you're considering an upgrade to Office 2013, or you've just paid for the package and want to make the best of it, this Microsoft Office 2013 Guide is for you. Read More to see what it’s capable of. So do we really need to throw the baby out with the bathwater? Instead, I wanted to see if there were any tweaks that could be done in Office 2013 to make it look and feel a little more like I was used to with Office 2010 (which, to be honest, I’d hardly even got used to after using Office 2003 for so many years).

Well, let me just say that trying to make Office 2013 look like 2010 really isn’t all that hard – it just takes a little bit of poking around, switching a setting here and there, and sort of forcing the applications to open by default with the behavior and appearance that you liked in Office 2010.

What You Want Office 2013 to Look Like

Taking a look back at Office 2010, it’s pretty easy to see what people miss when they upgrade to Office 2013. The ribbon that took such getting used to after the earlier Office products suddenly grew on you. Once you learned how and where to find everything, it just became second nature, right?


make office 2013 look like 2010

Every Office 2010 product had that ribbon bar. Once I learned how things were organized under each menu item, I honestly became much more productive using the last couple versions of Office than any other.

make office 2013 look like office 2010

Then along came Office 2013 – and all that was laid to waste. When I first opened Word, I thought that it would be like starting all over again – trying to relearn everything.


Office 2013 Isn’t Really Much Different

When I first started using Office 2013, it really was shocking. First, there was that big huge splash page with all of the templates. My first thought was, “what the…??” After a few moments of hunting, I found the blank document that I wanted. How annoying!

make office 2013 look like office 2010

And if you want to browse to a document to open it, you have to scroll waaaaaay down to the bottom of the left navigation area to find the browse option, except it isn’t called “Browse”.

make office 2013 look like office 2010


Then, when the blank document opened, I thought maybe I had opened the wrong application. Microsoft Word had suddenly transformed into some cheap mutation that looked like a cross between WordPad and Notepad. Seriously – this is considered an improvement?

office 2013 look like 2010

Finally, clicking on one of the menu items, I saw the ribbon bar that we’re all so familiar with. Not pleased, I struggled through creating and saving my first document – a letter that I was writing to someone. Not pleased with my first experience with Office 2013, I actually contemplated returning it for a refund.

office 2013 look like 2010


Thankfully, it wouldn’t come to that. There are a few tricks you can follow to set things back in order, and get Office 2013 looking and behaving as much like Office 2010 as possible.

Tips to Revert Office 2013 back to 2010

The first is to disable the start page. In his article on getting rid of Word annoyances, Christian mentions getting rid of the start page using a registry hack. You actually don’t have to do that. Just click on File and then choose options Options, and finally click on the General tab. About halfway down the page, you’ll see a setting to “Show start screen when this application starts.”

office 2013 look like 2010

Just deselect it. The next time you launch the application, the start page will never show up again!

Secondly, the ribbon bar. I really don’t like the ribbon bar disappearing on me. I want it visible and accessible at a moment’s notice. You can actually make it stay pinned down by going over to the lower right side of the ribbon bar and pressing the little “pin” icon.

3 Ways To Make Office 2013 More Like Office 2010 officefix5

Another way to do it is to click on the window icon with the up arrow in it, and choose the selection to “Show Tabs and Commands”. This will set the application so the ribbon bar is always accessible and visible, just like in Office 2010.

3 Ways To Make Office 2013 More Like Office 2010 officefix7

So, here’s my newly modified editing screen where I’ve opened a new document. The ribbon bar opened up automatically and stayed there. Now that’s a beautiful thing. I might keep Office 2013 after all…

3 Ways To Make Office 2013 More Like Office 2010 officefix6

Then there’s the save option where SkyDrive is relentlessly promoted. Every time you click Save As, it defaults to SkyDrive, and you have to click on Computer to see your local directories. It’s Microsoft’s effort to push the cloud, but this sort of in-your-face pushing of technology is not the way to get on the good side of consumers.

3 Ways To Make Office 2013 More Like Office 2010 officefix2

Well, never fear, because there’s a fix for that too. Go to File, Options, and click the Save menu item.  On this page, you’ll see a setting to “Save to Computer by default“. Select that box.

3 Ways To Make Office 2013 More Like Office 2010 officefix10

Now, when you go to “save as“, it defaults to your computer, and there’s the browse button on the right side. One click on Save As, and you’re there. Hey, saving clicks is what it’s all about, right?

make office 2013 look like 2010

So there you have it, with three little tweaks, you’re able to get rid of the annoying Start Splash page, keep the ribbon bar in place just like in Office 2010, and default the Save As option to browse your computer. The marketing of SkyDrive in Office 2013 was a huge complaint from everyone, so that particular checkbox is very much appreciated.

Now, I use my Office 2013 products all the time. With the tweaks above, it feels almost exactly like when I use 2010 at work, except there are plenty of little hidden features to discover, if you’re into things like saving to the cloud or using these apps on a touch screen display. Whether those features work well or not is another story entirely, and one meant for another article, another day.

Are you an Office 2013 user? What changes did you make to make the experience more tolerable? Do you love or hate Office 2013? Share your thoughts and advice in the comments section below!

Related topics: Microsoft Office 2010, Microsoft Office 2013.

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  1. Gus
    April 12, 2020 at 5:07 pm

    Long ago I learned not to automatically upgrade to 'new and improved' versions of software. When designers keep changing my tool, I wind up having to pay more attention to the tool than to what I'm trying to accomplish with it. A good tool becomes invisible, a part of you, so that you don't have to think about it. Microsoft has become a prima donna that requires adulation and attention before you can just use it. That said, you may not be surprised that in 2020 I'm still happily using MS Office 2010. Yesterday I just upgraded because I need a single feature not available until the 2013 version. And boy!, did I forget about all the Pain Of Upgrade: Change for the sake of Change! That should be Microsoft's tagline.

    Anyway (now that's out of my system)...

    THANK YOU for these tips! It also appears that when you make these changes in Word, MS applies the change to other members of the suite as well. (Point for Microsoft.)

    One thing you don't mention, though, is why MS Office doesn't automatically use my Windows theme. The Office windows look blank and flavorless, and its not easy to tell which is the active window. Its like MS' office suite is working against its own operating system. I haven't discovered an Office setting that will make it play nice. Any solution for this?

  2. TBE
    August 21, 2017 at 10:09 pm

    A big complaint is that tabs in the ribbon ARE IN ALL CAPS! I feel like I'm being SCREAMED AT! Shapes of tabs used to be rounded. Now they're square and utilitarian. I feel like I'm in a sanitized hospital. I think I'm going back to Office 2010. Old look outweighs the new features.

  3. David Le Maitre
    April 13, 2017 at 6:24 am

    Thanks! Your advice has meant that I do not have to get irritated by the changes. I still miss that textured look. The current one is like a flat white coffee - "flat" is cheap and sucks!

  4. 2bczar4u
    January 6, 2017 at 1:25 am

    I am generally not behind the technology 8-ball but with office I am still using 2010. However recently because of some of the features I have seen touted in 2016 and even the fixes to issues of 2010 released in 2013 as an upgrade (&*^%!), I thought I might pursue it. Don't want a subscription version because you just keep paying and paying and paying...... and never own anything. They throw in a few new 'tidbits' to justify this bloated pricing but most of the constant upgrades are really just fixes to problems. I kinda thought that 2013 and above looked a bit 'weak' in its interface design and now listening the comments in here you have confirmed my suspicions. I used to have a little app that would link to the latest posts from Tom's Hardware but since Google decided to ditch their gadgets, that is no more. Now you have to give everybody your email address if you want to subscribe and now I get 20 times the spam and crap I ever did before. Anyway, thank you for this blog and thank you all the rest of the posters, I will definitely think twice about upgrading. Still using Windows 7 Pro too after I heard about the update crap they are pulling. Windows 8 was bad enough with that stupid Metro design and forcing advertising on the users. BTW use Opera. It is an awesome browser.

  5. Anita de Alava
    November 17, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    Thanks, thanks, thanks!!! My husband hates Office 2013, he is a huge fan of XP. I made all the changes you posted to revert Office 2013 back to 2010. Hope he gets more use to the environment and don't want to through it away.......

  6. Denise Tavares
    October 28, 2016 at 2:37 pm

    Thank you so much. Very helpful!

  7. Captain Hottub
    February 16, 2016 at 5:13 am

    Just wait! Now, Windows 10 AUTOMATICALLY UPLOADS updates to OTHER PEOPLE, using your computer's resources and YOUR BANDWIDTH.

    Places like Tom's Hardware and Maximum PC tell you how to turn off these annoyances.

    ... I've been doing this the early days of DOS.

    Just remember Tom's Hardware, and you'll save yourself some time.

    If you're a hardware nut/maximum performance for gaming etc. like me, then you'll seek out the experts/expert users at those two places I just mentioned.

    AND, if Windows 8 is working fine for you, _do_ _not_ _upgrade_ to Windows 10.

  8. Musique
    February 4, 2016 at 10:34 am

    Office 2013 is bloody awful to use! If you're used to previous Versions of Word, Excel or PowerPoint my advice is leave it well alone. The cost in terms of time, nerves, blood pressure, eternal farting about trying to find even the most basic functions etc etc etc is just not worth the effort. I'd like to bin the bloody thing, but ist now Standard at my workplace. The only way I can work productively with it is to use an add - oncalled menu that makes it look a little like previous Versions. Why oh why oh why oh why did Microsoft have to do this to us poor customers????

  9. Richard J.
    December 27, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    I've been an Excel user since about 1995, and belatedly upgraded a few months ago from Excel 2010 to Excel 2013. I am not sure how many of the problems I am experiencing are due to deliberate user-interface changes or are caused by instability of the product, but I am appalled at the result. I have a complex Excel/VBA application which I use almost daily, and has been developed since 2004. The screen design as I move between different worksheets is completely disrupted. Excel often locks up and has to be forcibly closed using Task Manager, or a workbook sits there and refuses to close. I switched from workbook A to workbook B today, clicked on a cell in B and tried to scroll down using the wheel on my mouse, but it scrolled on A instead. I am near to reverting to Excel 2010. Excel 2013 is not fit for purpose in my view.

  10. Rich
    December 16, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    I have been using Office 2013 for most of this year. It was horrible the day I first used it; it is horrible today. I spend almost all day either in Word, Excel, or Outlook... as I would think a lot of us do. It doesn't take long to get a headache when a row in Excel isn't highlighted as it used to be.... or the cell marker/cursor is a barely visible green outline rather than a full colored cell.
    There was a time when I felt Microsoft was an innovator that would never be equaled in the computing world. This version of Office, even a year later, has changed that opinion. And in the corporate world, even if a newer, better (which of course means something like the older) version came out, I would still be stuck with this "build" until our corporate IT decides to upgrade... and that doesn't happen too often. When technology is at an all time high, Microsoft as reached and all time low......

  11. robinsg59
    December 16, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    My eyes are already sensitive to looking at a screen all day - this sure didn't help!! And if I change it to dark gray, all the icons in my quick access toolbar disappear into the background.
    I do not understand why they need to change everything so drastically whenever they come out with a new version!!

  12. I hate Win 8 and Office 2013
    December 10, 2015 at 8:45 pm

    Microsoft trying once again to cram their metro look down to users who want nothing to do with it

  13. vigneshm
    December 10, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    looks like ppl are not welcoming the 2013 ... just like me

    2010 was way greater.. i was not feeling any lags ... but 2013 is just slow anuimation and it annoys me.. so taht i would check for a website like this and would type in hate ful comments...

    looks are one thing usability matters you MS morons

  14. Benjamin
    December 1, 2015 at 5:06 pm

    I AM color BLIND and I still hate that bland color scheme! My Excel graphs all faded away in my documents. Also hate the square corners that came with the Office windows. All other windows have the rounded corners from Win 7. I didn't have to pay for it, as it's our company's latest update from Office 2010 (I just wish Microsoft would STOP messing with the interface with every new version of Windows and Office!).

    Contrary to the author's preference, I always tried to shrink the ribbon every time I open an office document, as it occupies valuable VERTICAL space on my monitor (esp. on the laptop!).

    Still, thanks very much for the hints. I'll learn to survive Office 2013 over time, and just hope that our IT dept. does not switch to whatever comes next too quickly!

  15. Jim
    November 26, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    Do NOT buy 2013 unless you are totally color blind!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What a bunch of crap. Gray gray and more washed out gray. To MUCH space wasted to blank areas (of course gray). You cannot tell where one program begins or ends if you have several files open. NO EDGES!!!! NO COLOR!!!! What kind of morons are working in MS????? What big moron makes these decisions???? I thought I went color blind when they installed this 2013 crap. I may as well go back to b/w monitors. Where are hackers???? i will PAY you money to hack this 2013 office to get edges (of course in color and adjustable widths) and adjustable colors instead of the gray and gray and more gray washed out look. And why cant I put the ribbon on the side instead of the top??? Oh yeah, whats with the scroll bar disappearing if I am not on the page??? And when I do go the screen, I must click first to be able to see where the slider is at instead of me going directly to whether I wanted to scroll up or down. What morons!!!!!!!

    • Greg
      December 3, 2015 at 11:20 am

      100% in agreement.
      Hell I'm 150% in agreement - turns out that more than 100% is actually possible.

  16. Anonymous
    November 9, 2015 at 11:20 am

    I can not believe they released office 2013. Office was always a great product. For every business application office was sooooo easy. I do not believe they actually tested or tried 2013 before releasing it. It takes longer for basic tasks and the operations are harder. I can only guess that Microsoft is saving up to afford colour for the next version. As this one actually hurts your eyes if you use it for a long time.

  17. Anonymous
    November 2, 2015 at 8:10 pm

    OMG....THANK YOU SO MUCH for helping get rid of that annoying splash screen. I removed that and then continued reading about the other 2 annoyances you found and I changed my settings immediately. You have saved me boat loads of aggravation.

  18. Anonymous
    October 8, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    How can I get the themes from 2010 Office back? for use on 2013 Office. There are only 9 themes available now and my homework assignments for Excel are instructing me to use themes that are no longer available, but are on the 2010 version.

  19. Anonymous
    September 10, 2015 at 5:47 pm

    Anyone else find themselves clicking X and closing the wrong window because now they are all the same color? Any fix for that? I hate it. Also, labels has been ruined. One cannot save a favorite label template. It saves a blank.

  20. Anonymous
    September 4, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    Easy peasy.
    File -> Options -> General -> midway down is Personalize Your Copy of Office -> Office Theme
    Select light or dark gray

    • Anonymous
      October 9, 2015 at 3:09 pm

      That's the problem I want to overcome. I don't want white, light gray or dark gray. I want my Windows Theme instead for all my Office apps.

    • Marcia Thompson
      December 6, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      Thank you for that! Dark Gray at least makes it usable... my eyes were straining! And why is this option not available in Display on the Control Panel like it has been for umpteen years!!!

    • DeLorme
      April 12, 2017 at 8:21 pm

      MARRY ME

  21. Anonymous
    August 19, 2015 at 6:57 am

    I have been struggling with the color of the screen. Unlike 2010, the color options in 2013 are very limited. The hue for the three (3) theme options are somehow the same. 2010 color options are way better especially for someone who does not have a perfect vision. Is there a way to improve this? Hopefully someone can help me. Thanks!

  22. Anonymous
    August 17, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    One more thing that may be of interest. Rather than going to that dumb fullscreen File section every time you want to save a document with a new name: look at the top left next to the redo button, there's a little down arrow. Click it and go to More Commands, then select and move Save As into the quick access toolbar, now it'll be at the top right with the regular Save button.

    • Anonymous
      August 17, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      Thanks, Pongley. That tip saved my sanity.

      • Anonymous
        August 17, 2015 at 7:10 pm

        You can do the same thing with the options button too, just look above the left column in the quick access toolbar where it says "Popular commands", drop it down and go to the fifth option "File tab", it'll be in there, just pop it over like before.

  23. Anonymous
    June 26, 2015 at 10:04 am


    I need to get read of the animations in Excel - I have to work with it all day long and that is just awful for eyesight and attention span.

    Is that doable? Is there a way of running the application under a previous version?

    And why don't macros function with this version?!?

    Thank you for your time!

    • Anonymous
      July 21, 2015 at 12:38 am

      John, here's a way to do this. Press Windows+U (brings up the Ease of Use menu in the Control Panel) and check Remove Unnecessary Animations Where Possible.

      • Rebecca
        December 7, 2015 at 3:19 am

        Matt - I can't find the "Windows+U" anywhere. Is it in the heading of the Excel Document? I looked in the Control Panel on my PC but don't see that choice there either. Help!

  24. rosi
    May 7, 2015 at 10:05 pm

    haha. I speak english, and french and spanish... seven languages so far, soon japanese or chinese, not decided yet.

    All your suggestionis are good. but I decided to stick to office 2010. 2013 it TOO white for my like, (sorry for the capitals but i truly detest the look of this office version) Dark grey is too light, the icons are so flat, well the only good thing is the marker that let you go to a specific point in large documents.

    The bad paart it hurt my eyes, and everybody eyes, it gives me headache and nausea. It is immposible to work with it for long perios of time.

    Microsoft, lil Bill G. why do you hate your customers?
    Why do you hate the worl?
    Why do you love white?

    • Anonymous
      October 9, 2015 at 3:50 pm

      rosi, I'm with you! I cannot stand the lack of color selection. I have severe eye strain staring at a bright white screen with black letters all day. Even my Outlook window is painful. I have my Window color set to a cream color, which makes reading all day less of a strain. But the Office 2013 apps don't use the Windows Theme as 2010 did. It will apply it to the content of a document or spreadsheet, but the miserable two-dimensional app frame is a pain and causes errors when slipping between opened windows.

  25. xxx
    May 6, 2015 at 11:18 pm

    Seriously? You think you're "saving clicks" with your tweaks? I suppose it's all relative, but for people who actually need to be productive this is a joke. And what "tips" do you have for those of us who need to be able to work without the headache induced by the phenomenally bad window coloration?

  26. Celine
    April 28, 2015 at 10:54 am

    Thank you so much for the tip (within the comments section) about getting rid of the all caps on the ribbon tabs - I've been looking for a way, and this is the first time I get a solution.
    Is there an option to increase colour contrast beyond the three office theme provided? It's a start but I'm finding the screen still way too bright.

  27. Jim Davis
    April 16, 2015 at 12:45 pm

    I cannot believe how far backwards Microsoft has gone with Windows 8/10 and Office 2013! It feels and looks like I'm back in the days of Windows 2! This sucks. I love 3D graphics and Icons. This crap is so disappointing!!!! If there was ever a push to move to Linux or Apple this is it!

  28. Jason
    April 7, 2015 at 2:34 pm

    Functionally, MS Office 2013 is terrific. Stylistically and HMI/HFE, it's terrible.

  29. Joe
    March 18, 2015 at 6:12 pm

    It's not the presence of the Ribbon that makes Office 2007+ so annoying; it's the absence of efficient menus. Making the menu-substitute more elusive is not the answer; what's needed is proper menus again.

  30. Sal
    March 12, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!!!! A hug, even. Thank you!!! You pinpointed my main gripes and how to fix them . Saved years off my life from stress!

  31. jvmerc
    March 6, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    There are several problems with people developing interfaces in today's world. Lack of creativity, lack of real world usage, lack of effort and a misunderstanding of computing trends.

    Office 2013 is a great example. I can still do more with older versions of Office than I can with any of the versions since 2003. Ribbons are horrible space consuming and confusing. Lost the ability to use menus. The interface hurts the eyes with the lack of contrasts.

    FYI MS, the desktop is not going away. Tablets aren't good for much more than games, internet, email and videos. Love to see people in an office environment perform their day to day tasks on a tablet alone. At home I have 2 laptops and 5 desktops that are used regularly. I have a 24" touch screen monitor attached to 3 of my CPUs. I run XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8. My wife runs Vista. Both laptops are of the same age. One is XP the other is W7. I'm technical by trade so when I buy or build I like to max out things like memory and disk. When I build I buy reasonably current, above average processors.

    I beta tested Windows 8 and initially thought cool. As I used it more found it impractical and its the least used OS. I'm sure I'd like it more on a tablet.

    I primarily use my W7 laptop but religiously use my XP desktop.

    Application developers today try to oversimplify and end up reducing the functionality and user experience. Office 2013 is a lot of BLAHHH.

  32. Mike
    March 5, 2015 at 10:37 pm

    I had to upgrade to Office 2013 at work, but fortunately still have Office 2010 at home - and will keep it until I see some significant improvements. I have had at least 3 disappointments for every slight improvement over Office 2010. A lot of the changes made seem to show MS does not understand how their products are being used...what might seem like an improvement at a superficial first glance is just the opposite. 2013 changes are just one irritation after another.

  33. Ian
    February 23, 2015 at 11:35 pm

    Like you I got my copy through a company programme, and like you I hate the 'look' of the thing. I assumed that the reason it opened the way it did at work on our intranet was it was some 'web version'. Nope - its the same on the alledged 'professional version'.

    I know this may seem 'First World Problems' but it is so ugly. Icons etc are the same, but it lacks the soft rounded appearance of 2010, just stark grey on white flatness. It looks like something from the early 90's.

    I like to think of myself as a function over form person, but if I have to stare at this for long periods of time I'm going to hate it. Come on Microsoft - give us an appearance update.

    It will be a toss up which to use - my full version of 2013, or my Free version of 2010, which is nicer to look at, but loses 1 fifth of the screen with the 'Its free - why don't you upgrade' area, plus less functionality (advanced functions beyond a straight word processor are missing)

  34. C Barrett
    February 20, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    Thank you, thank you! So much better.

  35. David
    February 14, 2015 at 1:39 pm

    The article doesn't address the #1 complaint out there that a couple other have pointed out. The change in color theme.
    I have been an application developer using Microsoft product for years.
    Microsoft in the past has been all about choices for their users. Office 2013 is a real change from that.
    As an IT Manager for a small company of five hundred, I have decided to avoid 2013.
    Just the number of Help Desk tickets that would be generated because of the color scheme is enough to make me say no.
    As an end user, I find no compelling reason to make the switch. With the exception of the seperate windows for Excel, I see nothing that would make my life easier in the upgrade.

  36. Jo
    February 3, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    It's not "ribbon bar", it's just plain "ribbon".

  37. Channel 2012
    January 17, 2015 at 12:45 am

    That doesn't really help at all, those are things I would've changed anyway. How do we get rid of the ALL CAPS IN THE MENUS (seriously, someone needs to buy the Microsoft Office designers a new keyboard that doesn't have the shift key stuck) and the nasty bleached interface?

    That said, Office 2013 is otherwise pretty much the same as 2010, but the animations are so much smoother and more elegant (never thought you'd see "Office 2013" and "elegant" in the same sentence now, did you?) that I was pleasantly surprised when I tried to use it for the first time. It's tough to say whether or not it's worth it, I guess that's up to preference, but it's at least worth a try (in a virtual machine or on a friend's computer of course).

  38. Gadi
    January 8, 2015 at 11:10 am

    Thank you Ryan and all for the insights and advise.
    I have similar pains with this office version.
    I liked the way to shorten the Save cycle!

    My MAIN pain - the difference between the Office 2013 windows, and the rest of the windows on my Windows7 screen. There is hardly a border line, and I many times click not on the windows that I intended. Anyway to configure that????


  39. Timothy Takemoto
    January 5, 2015 at 7:11 am

    Like Cameron and others I am upset first and formost by the lack of contrast. and flatness of the 2013 themes. It is difficult to read, partly because I am old. I would like the option of a classic theme, preferably as much like word 2000 as possible. Does anyone know where I can an old timer's theme? The three that come with are not making me happy.

    And as with 2007 and 2010 I am slowly adding things to the quick bar so that I don't have to click between grrr ribbons.

  40. Laura pittman
    December 10, 2014 at 3:11 am

    Comments I haven't heard are about save and send via outlook. It took me quite a while to find the option. It's "share,". So much social media. Share via office account. Too many clicks to do what I once did with one. I don't want to share my expense report, I want to email it toy my employer. This program sucks. I just purchasesd a new computer with it. Have to work on it at work, but they haven't upgraded yet. Thank god or I would not get anything done. The new computer will be auctioned and I will convert to apple. I've fought it for years as I loved Microsoft usability but it's now gone. They suck beyond words. I hope Microsoft is reading this. Bring it back to normal.

  41. Hyman T
    October 18, 2013 at 4:36 am

    I have been trying to get the program to let me just 'save as', but it does not. You must always make a choice to save to computer or to something else. True, one can do F12 or put an icon on the ribbon of 'save as'. But this is extra work.

  42. Hyman T
    October 18, 2013 at 4:36 am

    I have been trying to get the program to let me just 'save as', but it does not. You must always make a choice to save to computer or to something else. True, one can do F12 or put an icon on the ribbon of 'save as'. But this is extra work.

  43. mfoster90
    October 12, 2013 at 2:05 am

    All the feedback is helpful, but I have to ask why when I have one document or spreadsheet open and minimized and I open another one the first one pops up off the taskbar instead of staying minimized. Is there any way to change that behavior?

  44. mike
    October 6, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Dont buy it if you like a bit of colour in your life. It looks so boring. What a let down.

  45. Mimi Posey
    September 15, 2013 at 4:52 am

    Thanks! You really helped!

  46. S60AWD
    August 12, 2013 at 3:28 pm

    Heres the major problem however.... the UI of office 2013 is so devoid of colour and detail that everything looks flat and the same.

    Office 2010's ribbon uses colour and shadows to make areas look distinct. 2013 has flattened everything down and it much less intuitive to use.

    I got 2013 but went back to 2010. Just like most people with Windows 8 have gone back to Windows 7.

    • Sandgroper
      August 13, 2013 at 5:46 am

      Thankyou S60AWD - sad what they've done and doesn't make logic as to why they "fix" something when it's not broken. . Interesting comments about Windows 8 too. I'm about to buy a new Desktop and have been agonising over Win 7 or Win 8 awaiting Win 8.1. Decision made - Win 7

  47. Sandgroper
    August 12, 2013 at 7:09 am

    Thanks for the good info Ryan - I've just installed 2013 (from 2007) and getting used to it. One big problem I have and hope you can solve for me (and others?) is the colour palette - the "red" is no longer red - it's more like brown. Is there a way to add a true red?

  48. olad
    July 30, 2013 at 8:03 am

    How did you get 'text boundaries' to revert to office 2010 type?

  49. Joseph
    July 8, 2013 at 12:33 am


    Thanks for taking the time to work out these options. I found them very helpful and will implement them tomorrow morning. I am not against new things or learning new things, but it seems to me the MS changes things just for the sake of changing things. While this is fine for someone whom has never used the software before for those of us who have worked with it for years it is a pain. Changes in the name of security and/or productivity are great and acceptable. Changes for the sake of making something look new id not the best way to endear you to your customers. IMHO

  50. Freya
    June 20, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    My biggest problems with Office 2013 were the screaming capitalised menu headings and the harsh, glaring, flat-colour UI. They were distracting, painful to look at, and even switching from the white to the dark grey theme didn't make it any easier on my eyes. I wear glasses and have an astigmatism - and I'm an English literature postgrad student, so I spend many, many, many hours staring at Word documents! - so in the end, that was a deal-breaker for me: I went back to 2010 only a few hours after installing my (fortunately heavily discounted) copy of Office 2013. I just pray that the visuals will be improved for later versions of Word...

  51. Cameron
    June 5, 2013 at 1:20 pm

    I have always used as many features in a software product that I can. I find that taking a few(or many) minutes to learn how to work smarter/faster with new software benefits me in the end. I am the first person in my office to use MSO 2013. I used 2010 for years. Took me a while to add my personal customization but that taught me much about how the software works. I did really appreciate this article because it highlighted a few things I did not like but was so busy getting my work done that I stop to try and figure them out. The suggestions help me take care of them.

    The one issue I really have a problem with is the color scheme. On my laptop the wording on the Ribbon,etc., is too small and hard to read. There is not enough contrast to help see things. Any assistance changing the color or contrast would be greatly appreciate.

  52. Joy
    May 13, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I agree with your comments on Office 2013! My problem with both Office 2013 and Office 2010 is that is actually takes more clicks to do a task than it did with 2003. And as you stated, "saving clicks is what it's all about." On the subject of clicks, keyboard shortcuts are much more efficient than either the mouse or touch screen (I can't imagine wanting to lean forward, raise my arms, and use the screen for simple commands).

    I'm having a problem that you didn't address; the keyboard shortcuts that I've set disappear the next time I open the application. Have you heard of this? Thank you.

  53. null
    May 9, 2013 at 6:51 am

    Excellent post. Perfect article: clear, upbeat, useful... pinpointed the very things that annoy me most about Office 2013, and solved them in under a minute! Okay, I still dislke all caps for menus...

  54. Tom
    May 6, 2013 at 12:11 pm

    I have to use Microsoft Office at work, but frustration factor is high.
    2013 has a few nice new features, but as many others after all I don't like it. Never would spend loads of money for it privately.

    At home, I use SoftMaker Office 2012 Professional. It's easy to use, offers seamless compatibility to all MSO formats, has all features 99% of the users need, it's cheap ($99 for three licenses including em Client 5 Professional, Berlitz dictionaries, and free support), I cannot understand still so many people buy MSO.

  55. Tom
    May 6, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    I have to use Microsoft Office at work, but frustration factor is high.
    2013 has a few nice new features, but as many others after all I don't like it. Never would spend loads of money for it privately.

    At home, I use SoftMaker Office 2012 Professional. It's easy to use, offers seamless compatibility to all MSO formats, has all features 99% of the users need, it's cheap ($99 for three licenses including em Client 5 Professional, Berlitz dictionaries, and free support), I cannot understand still so many people buy MSO.

    • Miguel
      June 21, 2013 at 6:42 pm

      Really? Microsoft Office365 Home Premium gives you five licenses for $99. Why would you use Softmaker for the same price, with fewer licenses and features?

  56. 584710471920
    April 30, 2013 at 10:07 am

    This is not a very good post at all. You've give us some outstanding posts in the past but this feels very amateurish and more Microsoft bashing than needs to be from a professional like you. This feels more like something an elderly retiree would be blogging in their leisure time rather than a professional report.
    Seriously though, the splash screen was so obvious, huge 'blank' document staring at you. Open new documents on the left. D'oh! The ribbon was not minimized when I installed it so, I highly doubt it was for most others.
    I hope you grow to like it, because people like you and me should understand more than its aesthetics.

    • Ryan Dube
      April 30, 2013 at 3:17 pm

      Thanks for the feedback. We're trying to offer help for folks of all levels, and these complaints about Office 2013 are common across the net.

      With that said, I take your advice to heart, because when you have a reader base that has come to expect a certain 'level' to the article in terms of expected reader experience, it's important to bring an A game every time. I'll keep that in mind when choosing topics to write about, and I appreciate your honesty.


  57. Ron
    April 26, 2013 at 6:55 pm

    There is a simple fix for upper case tabs.
    Go into Options > Customize Ribbon. In turn, Right click on each tab name, select "Rename" from the drop menu, then add any character (a space, underline, period) before or after the tab name text. OK to save the change.

    It takes a few minutes because you have to do it for every tab, in every app, but it does help.

    Now, if only MS will come up with a better "color scheme" than the current three lame choices. I really do miss the higher definition icons and button borders from previous versions of Office.

    Overall, it seems the MS has a design strategy (tragedy!) to dumb down their Windows and Office UI's to the limitations of the lowest common denominator hardware. Unfortunately they chose 7" smartphones as the low value. Ignoring or reversing all of the graphical processing power in desktops with 27 inch monitors! All because they want a "one-size-fits-all" UI solution for everything from the phone to projected PC images.

  58. apstco
    April 26, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    2013 is cheaper and cleaner but man people are such whiners. What MS has actually given people are options on how to use the UI, which is what people said they wanted when the ribbon first appeared, but that same group that whined about the ribbon in the first place now whines that it isn't there by default. Amazing.

    • VDC
      October 10, 2013 at 2:41 pm

      Add color schemes like Win 7 has and I would love it and wouldn't "whine", as you put it. Otherwise I HATE the way it looks and is a washout on the monitor. I feel "snow blind" after looking at it for any period of time. I finally had to change the settings on my monitor to at least give it a "flesh colored" look. Why couldn't MS give us colors for F's sake?!!!

  59. macwitty
    April 26, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I'm an not and will no be a Office 2013 user. But Ryan Dube, I love your question: What changes did you make to make the experience more tolerable?

  60. Scott M
    April 26, 2013 at 11:06 am

    I don't use Office on my own Pc,I use Open Office,but many friends do and several have expressed some frustration and wished it was more like the older Office they were familiar with.I will be passing along to them.

  61. Nevzat A
    April 26, 2013 at 7:31 am

    I love the new templates, office 2013 rocks IMHO.

  62. Joculex
    April 25, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    I just wonder what Microsoft are doing to their products. Everyone is trying to make Windows 8 back into Windows 7 and now Office 2013 back to 2010. Have they lost interest or is this a stop-gap as Vista was? Windows 7 and Office 2010 are both just fine for me so I will not be changing for many years to come. How stupid is the idea of a 'touch sensitive PC monitor'. Just who would bother stretching over the keyboard and mouse just to tap the screen? Maybe Win 8 is ok for tablets or mobile phones but it sure is not for me!

    • Ryan Dube
      April 26, 2013 at 12:23 am

      Yeah - I agree, I'm shocked how much resistance there is to the latest Microsoft releases of their most popular products. I really do like Win 7 and probably won't move on soon. With that said - after helping a friend get his touch screen PC up and running, I realized just how productive you can be with a touch-screen. It's just so amazing how much faster you can do certain things like scrolling, and accessing large buttons (so much faster than clicking with a mouse).

      I'm not really 100% sure it'll dramatically improve productivity, but I suspect it could.

  63. dragonmouth
    April 25, 2013 at 11:12 pm

    There is one sure, easy, inexpensive way to make Office 2013 look like Office 2010 - don' upgrade. Stick with Office 2010. It'll save you a lot of money and a lot of headaches.

    • Ryan Dube
      April 26, 2013 at 12:24 am

      Yeah - in my case I was sort of forced to because that was the only option available at such a dramatic discount from the company program. (Maybe that's why it was so cheap??)

      I actually stuck with Office 97 for YEARS until people that had upgraded to Office 2003 started laughing at me - forcing me to upgrade to save my pride...

  64. Thomas Vercamer
    April 25, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    I actually like Office 2013.
    I've been using it for a month by now, and there are some advantages such as an easy way to go back where you left of the previous time you worked on a document.
    There is also an improvement considering the visual effects, everything seems to go more fluently.
    However, there are also a lot of things where Microsoft really messed up (such as the capitalized menu-items, the extra steps to save files - as Ryan said - and so on)

    Personally I like working with Office 2013, but if you are using Office 2007 or 2010, I wouldn't advise you to upgrade. There simply aren't enough advantages or extra features to do so...

    • @peterforint
      February 15, 2015 at 4:07 pm

      With ever more powerful computers it's so disappointing to see such decline in the GUI. Stick with 2010 or even 2007 if you have the option.