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Replacing the Office 2007 Ribbon Bar … January 31, 2008

Posted by Doriano "Paisano" Carta in Microsoft, Screencasts, Tips.
Tags: , , ,

How to Replace Microsoft Office 2007’s Big Ugly Ribbon bar with the old familiar Office 2003 Toolbar
Paisano’s Stupid Office Tricks Series Vol 1 Episode 1
One of the most common complaints that I’ve heard about Microsoft Office 2007 is about the big ugly ribbon bar that some GUI genius from Redmond decided was an improvement over the old interface. Its context sensitivity is supposed to make the experience more productive and intuitive but most users don’t like it. In the following 1-minute screencast you will see how to hide the ribbon bar and enable the much smaller and customizable Quick Access Toolbar (new name for the old toolbar).

Watch the PaiCast to see how it’s done in no time at all!

1 Right-Click anywhere on the big Ugly ribbon bar and select Minimize the Ribbon Bar
2 Right-Click anywhere on the Menu Bar and select Show Quick Access Tollbar below the Ribbon
3 Click on the Customize Quick Access Toolbar dropdown icon (Last item on the toolbar)
4 Select More Commands
5 Click the dropdown menu for Choose Commands from…. and select All Commands
6 Select the command you want on the left and click the add button to add it to your toolbar
7 Click OK when completed


1. user905 - February 16, 2008

This is great! A few clicks and the big Ugly ribbon is dead! To think, I nearly spent $20 for some ‘toggle’ thing utility. I’m back to familiar territory. Your short click-thru and pie-cast is a link I’m passing on to colleagues.

All Hail Paisano!

2. jamesacampbell - February 17, 2008

20 bucks for a toggle utility? that sounds ridiculous to me… all it takes it to play around with the advanced settings in office 2007 to get rid of it if you must, but I actually find it pretty intuitive and useful… but then again, I do not need to conserve real estates on my desktop since I am running a 17inch wide screen on my sony vaio. I say all hail office 2007 for emulating some of apple’s intuitive look and feel.

3. Steve - April 14, 2008

Intuitive? We have roughly 25000 people in our department, and about half those are Word users. Only about 10% would be what you would call computer literate. So, about 12000 users who have to be retrained to use the more “intuitive” ribbon bar? Don’t think so.

4. D.M - December 2, 2008

I agree with some of the comments that indicate useful new capabilities. They are certainly welcome.

Massive changes to the user interface are NOT welcome. The costs have been and continue to be immense! I recognize that the new interface is probably very easy to learn for those that have never used the products before. And I’m confident that MS spent heavily on focus groups. But someone dropped the ball, and in a VERY big way.

I suspect that the Office product group did not have the final say since the new ‘improved’ interface extends to the OS as well with Vista (another failed abortion).

It surprises me that MS did not seem to consider or care enough about the MILLIONS of established corporate end-users and customers to enable a SIMPLE option to switch between the old and new user interface. The cost of lost productivity while users try (sometimes in vain) to locate old familiar commands, Direct and indirect training costs associated with re-educating an esablished workforce is crippling.

We did a trial deployment of the 2007 suite, and had to revert back to the 2003 version. (Thanks for SA!). More $$$ down the drain… thanks, MS!

Considering the fact that MOST of our corporate users do not use even a fraction of the ‘advanced’ features of the ’97 or 2003 versions, we are seriously considering reducing our licensing from thousands to probably less than a hundred, and using OpenOffice to take up the slack. Even that has some retraining involved, but at least the visual interface does not create an immediate psychological roadblock to our user-base, AND the licensing costs saved even in the first year will pay for the very minimal costs associated with the switch.

wizarddrummer - November 20, 2011

Glad to hear you are considering switching… but the big question is when are the rest of the people going to STOP using Microslop products and migrate to ANYTHING else?

Surprised that Microcheese doesn’t care? Pleeeeeeeeeeeeeeez When have the EVER cared? This is the most arrogant company on the face of the earth. “…confident that MS spent heavily on focus groups” Um how old are you? or better yet “What fracking planet are you from? Good F$*K&NG GRIEF!

FOCUS GROUPS? Are you kidding me? If they had spent even $1.25 they would have found out that 99.9488388483% of the people are against major interface changes that BREAK currently running applications / or cause major retraining!

I’ve been fighting this company ever since its creation. I used to love to develop many years ago in the Unix / DEC and ESPECIALLY the NeXTSTEP world … but, sadly more jobs and opportunities came from the stupid lemmings that keep buying Microphlegm’s horribly designed products. Microsludge is like the USA Government w/14 TRILLION in DEBT. Microswill has 14 TRILLION ANNOYANCES and has cost the world untold BILLIONS AND BILLIONS OF DOLLARS in extra development costs, retraining; its endless.

I hate developing now because during the process I usually have to spend 40% of my time fixing, reparing, tweaking, rebuilding, etc; doing anything other than Develop and then I have to try and FIX it again when they change interfaces.

In this life we can’t escape Death, Taxes and MicroPoop Annoyances.

Developers UNITE! Lets get together and burn the company to the ground!

5. Doug Kimzey - December 30, 2008

Could not agree more – users get frustrated when the UI they hve known for a decade change drastically. The ribbon bar probably cost companies millions in lost productivity while users competent in Office 2003 had to go on a safari to locate commands in 2007.

This was compounded by drastic changes in the charts interface – that are not in any way intuitive.

The lesson from Windows Vista and Office 2007 is simple: Cute does not equal productive.

6. OpenOffice is my new friend - January 2, 2009

The 2007 interface is so juvenile that it looks like something that might’ve been cooked up by Playskool. Once again, some idiot visionary in Microsoft has committed a major oopsie, or what I would call an another ‘Simcity Society’.

If Microsoft knows what’s good for them, let’s hope they’ll make available a 2003-reversion option in the future patches.

Until then, I’m switching to Sun’s open source OpenOffice.

7. carlos - February 28, 2009

or simply refuse to use 2007… 2003 is quite decent, why bother paying $$ to then have to fight with the UI.

Besides: 2007 is severely screwed up. Example: I had an old excel spreadsheet with 5 columns on 2000 lines that I then needed to make an x-y plot. 2003 handled it with ease (1 second for updates). 2007 simply could not handle the dataset. Uh? (this on a dual core 2 GHz machine with 4 GB of ram… go figure).

2007 SUCKS!

8. Heather - April 30, 2009



Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to the people who wrote this add-in. They have saved my life, because the beating of the forehead was nearly fatal at times!!!

9. Mike - July 5, 2010

Thank you so much for this article. I love you.
(Been struggling with the damned “ribbon” for months!)

10. Fran Wheeler - November 29, 2010

Doug Kimzey, Don and Fran Wheeler are trying to contact you. Please call our office.

11. daniele margutti - August 29, 2011

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15. kwjander - April 2, 2013

God du… Ribbon Bar and flexibility of MS Office 2007..10..13…
I work with MS Office 97 & 2003 which can make icon group to help me to access tools very very easily. But NOW NO NO NO…

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