Fixing Display Problems in Office 2013 Applications

Fixing Display Problems in Office 2013 Applications

I've heard of issues with released Windows Updates causing Office 2013 application display problems before, but it never affected me until this last round of updates (July 2014). After applying Patch Tuesday's offerings, Microsoft Outlook started exhibiting extremely slow screen refreshes when I'd jump between email folders. I haven't noticed similar issues in other Office 2013 applications, but I spend the majority of my day in Outlook, so the problem was becoming frustrating.

Sifting through threads in the community, it was obvious that this latest round of patches was causing display issues for Office 2013 applications on an even grander scale than before, so at least I'm not alone on this one. It just amazes me that applications like these could cause actual display problems.

Fortunately, there's a fix. You have to turn off Hardware Graphics Acceleration in each installed Office 2013 application that is demonstrating the problem.

Though the screens might appear a bit different in each Microsoft Office 2013 application, the option to turn off Hardware Graphics Acceleration is located in the same spot: FileOptionsAdvanced.

This issue is so common, it seems, that Microsoft has posted up an actual KB article on it.

Here it is: Performance and display issues in Office 2013 client applications

The KB articles states that additional problems can result, including blurriness, screen flickering or flashes, completely black or white display, performance problems, and even application crashes. So I guess I should feel a bit lucky that my only complaint is slow refreshes.

Apparently, the problem stems from certain types and versions of specific video graphics hardware. For those companies that standardize on the same computer models across the board to supply end-user computing needs, this can be a huge situation.

For those with a multitude of users experiencing the same problem, you can disable Hardware Graphics Acceleration through a GPO after adding the Office15.admx and Office15.adml files to your domain controller. Guidance for doing this is also included in the KB article.

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