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Office 2013 Tip: Disable Application Start Screens

Office 2013 Tip: Disable Application Start Screens

In document-based Office 2013 applications, there is a Start screen with templates and recent documents that you may or may not wish to use

In previous tips in this series, I looked at ways you can personalize your Office 2013 experience, focusing largely on settings that sync between PCs or are global to this suite of applications. But power users will want to make other changes to some Office 2013 applications, and some, like the focus of this tip, are configurable on an application-by-application basis.

If you’ve been using each Windows version of Office in turn, one of the most obvious differences when you move to Office 2013 is that the document-based Office applications now display a Start screen each time you run the application. This Start screen consists of a graphical grid of document templates and a list of recent documents.

Here’s what this Start screen looks like in PowerPoint 2013.

Like so many features in Office—like the ribbon—this new Start screen is an attempt to put useful but hard to find functionality right where the user needs them. And while this view can be incredibly useful, some people—especially Office power users—may want to disable it.

Fortunately, you can do so on an application-by-application basis. In my case, for example, I spend much of my day in Word, and I do not want this Start screen appearing ever; I just need a blank document. So I have disabled the Start screen in Word only. But for applications I use less frequently—like PowerPoint or Excel, leaving the Start screen enabled makes sense, because I may actually need one of the templates.

You can disable the Start screen in any document-based Office 2013 application in the Options window. To get there, open a blank document—yes, annoyingly, you have to get by that Start screen first—and then choose File and then Options. At the bottom of the Options window that appears (in the default General view), you will see an option titled “Show the Start screen when this application starts.” (It’s under the Start up options section at the bottom.)

To disable this option, de-select it. Then, repeat for each Office application for which you’d prefer not to see this feature.

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