Start Screen is a new feature introduced in Microsoft Office 2013. The start screen is very similar to Windows 8 Start Screen with large tiled interface. The new start screen has been intelligently crafted by Microsoft. The left hand pane lists down the most recently opened documents while the right hand pane displays different formats and templates of the document which are available for creating a new document. This goes on for every application in Microsoft Office 2013.
Like Windows 8 Start Screen, Office 2013 Start Screen has also received a mixed response. Some people like it while others want the old layout because they are comfortable with the old one for years. For those who do not want the new start screen, here are several ways to disable the start screen in Microsoft Office 2013.
Disable Start Screen using Office Customization Tool (OCT)
Microsoft Office Customization Tool (OCT) is a great tool for customizing every aspect of Office through the Group Policy Editor. This is basically a collection of group policy templates which can be installed in order to customize the installation of Office through Group Policy.
1. Download Office Customization Tool. Run it and it will extract all the files to the specified folder.
2. Go to the folder ADMX and copy all the files with the extension ADMX to the following folder: C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions
3. In the ADMX folder, you will have folders named against each language of Office 2013. You should go to the folder of language of Office 2013 currently installed and copy all the ADML files to the same folder in C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions. For example, I have the en-US installation of Office 2013, so I copied all the ADML files inside the en-US folder to C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions\en-US.
4. Now open the group policy editor by going to “Run -> gpedit.msc”
5. Go to “User Configuration -> Administrative Templates”. You can see that all the apps of Office 2013 are listed here. These were previously not present.
6. You can expand any Microsoft Office application and go to its “Miscellaneous” sub-folder.
7. On the right hand pane, open “Disable the Office Start screen for <app>”. Where <app> is the app name. For example, I want to disable the start screen of Excel 2013. I will have to open “Disable the Office Start screen for Excel” option on the right hand pane.
8. There will be three options in the next window. “Not Configured” is the default one which means that the app behavior will be the default which the vendor has set while shipping. Enabled actually means that this rule will be enabled. The rule is to disable the Start screen of that specific Office app. Disabled means that the Office app will start with the Start screen even if it is manually disabled from somewhere else.
9. This will start Excel directly into the new workbook instead of opening the Start screen.
Disable Start Screen using Windows Registry
The above method is good for disabling the Start screen for individual Office apps. If you want to disable the Start screen for all the Office apps at once, you can use the registry method discussed below.
1. Go to “Run (WinKey + R) -> regedit”. This will open the Registry Editor.
2. Go to the following Registry key:
3. In the right hand pane, create a new item named “DisableBootToOfficeStart” (without the quotes) if it doesn’t already exist. It is a DWORD item. Its value should be set to “1” if you want to disable the Start screen of all Office 2013 apps and “0” if you want to enable the Start screen for all apps.
If you want to disable the Start screen of a specific Office app using Registry, you can go to the Options key of that particular Office app. For example, if I do it for Excel, the path will be:
After going to this key, we will need to follow step 3 again.
Other ways to get rid of the Start screen
The techniques discussed above are quite technical and not suitable for a person who just wants to get rid of the Start screen as soon as possible. Here are two earlier ways that you can disable the Start screen without leaving the Office apps.
The magical Escape key
When you start any Office app, you only have to press the Esc key in order to start using the Office app in a traditional way. Pressing the Esc key will take you to a blank document where you can start writing.
Disable the Start screen using the Program Options
You can also disable the Start screen of individual Office apps by opening the program and going to “File menu –> Options –> General” and un-check “Show the Start screen when this application starts”. This will disable the Start screen for that particular program.
For those of you who want to disable the Start screen in Microsoft Office 2013, even though it is pretty good, can use any of the four above mentioned techniques to do so. Personally, I prefer to keep the Start screen enabled and use the Esc key to start working on the blank document whenever I want.
What are your thoughts about the new Office Start screen?