Customize Microsoft Office 2007 blue ribbon UI to Office 2003

So I finally got around to installing Office 2007. This is what it looked like:

Office 2007 - First Look

Office 2007 — First Look

Now I don't know about you, but to me this bloo-ey look is hideous.I am not on Vista yet, by choice, so that sky blue gra­da­tion thing going on the top was not my cuppa. Why soft­ware designed for a cer­tain plat­form can­not honor a user's gen­eral sys­tem UI pref­er­ences is beyond me, but Office 2007 does insist on hav­ing it's own look and feel. As though the new rib­bon clut­ter was not enough.

I wanted to get rid of those rib­bons to begin with. So I down­loaded the the free ver­sion of Rib­bon Cus­tomizer. They offer some Pro ver­sion but it does things I don't par­tic­u­larly care about. Alter­na­tively, there is Tool­bar­Tog­gle, but on their site I did not seem to catch a free ver­sion, and I was unwill­ing to pay for this stuff.

The Rib­bon­Cus­tomizer install is pretty straight­for­ward and when you start Word 2007 after its instal­la­tion, here is how Word looks. There is an addi­tional item in the View menu at the end:

Word 2007 after RibbonCustomizer

Word 2007 after RibbonCustomizer

I clicked on the obvi­ous menu option to make Clas­sicUI my first menu tab. This is what this does:

Classic 2003 interface

Clas­sic 2003 interface

That's a good start, but I now wanted to clean up some other stuff. For­tu­nately, Microsoft chose to include the addi­tional "Min­i­mize Rib­bon" fea­ture, which con­tex­tu­ally hides the rib­bon when your focus is on writ­ing inside the doc­u­ment. So let's do that:

Minimize the Word 2007 ribbon

Min­i­mize the Word 2007 ribbon

Now to get rid of the forced Blue. Click on the "More Com­mands" option in the menu shown in the screen­shot above. Choose Sil­ver and make other adjust­ments to your taste:

Choose silver

Choose sil­ver

Now this is what Word 2007 looks like, with min­i­mized rib­bon, clas­sic 2003 UI, and a some­what less intru­sive sil­ver gradient:

Phew. I also rec­om­mend set­ting the default "Save" options as your reg­u­lar Word ".doc" instead of the new ".docx" (or other .xlsx and .pptx equiv­a­lents) as that is a bit more stan­dard even today in 2008.

  • David Bor­sheim

    THANK YOU!!! Finally, a con­fig­u­ra­tion that I can live with…

    I'll take this con­fig­u­ra­tion for a test run. Up to now, I have been doing my for­mat­ting in OpenOf­fice in order to get the num­ber­ing (in par­tic­u­lar) to work correctly.

    I have to tell you… Installing Office 2007 and find­ing the rib­bon has been the soft­ware equiv­a­lent of a coy­ote morn­ing. I have been busy hunt­ing for my Office 2003 disks. I couldn't believe that I got suck­ered into this trav­esty. I have bit­terly resented the money that I spent for it.

    I have no idea what pos­sessed Microsoft, but if this doesn't send some­body else to the head of the class, I don't know what it will take.

  • Benjy

    Excel­lent . Just what i was look­ing for

  • Pingback: Classic Menus for Office 2007 « Santosh Benjamin’s Weblog()

  • Julie

    Thanks so much for post­ing this guide — it's bril­liant. You get to keep the new ver­sion and the old ver­sion so can eas­ily switch, can't believe Microsoft didn't give this option as stan­dard. Exactly what I was look­ing for!

  • Heather

    Tears actu­ally came to my eyes when I saw the good ol' File/Edit/etc. menu on my screen. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!

  • Luke

    Thanks for post­ing this. I tried to get along with the rib­bon i really did,

  • Tony

    Just found this today and am already enjoy­ing the ben­e­fits of an indus­try tested/accepted UI. Thank you!
    For any­one who has read WOSA (best prin­ci­ples of Win dev) this is a breath of fresh air.

  • Dick

    Thanks for this. I spent two hours try­ing to nav­a­gate the stu­pid Word 2007 rib­bon just to send a busi­ness let­ter and print an enve­lope. I am sorry I got suck­ered into Word 2007 and Windows7. The com­puter is just a tool like a door­knob. Its only func­tion is to facil­i­tate get­ting to where you are going. I am sorry I gave away my XP com­puter and would gladly trade my new Win7 for my old one. Some microsoft a-hole com­puter nerd is sit­ting right now high on moun­tain dew wack­ing off and think­ing how can I mess with the users by mak­ing them waste their time try­ing to fig­ure out the secret nerd code to use the thing. Microsoft should grow up and pro­duce a prod­uct that is bet­ter and bet­ter and not add stuff to trick us into pur­chases. I would have gladly given Gates a cou­ple of hun­dred just to be left alone but with an upgraded com­puter. This new one is no faster because of all the crap they added. Apple next time for me!

  • sanam

    thanks a lot. u really did a gr8 work for all of us. i was really wor­ried abt this stu­pid rib­bon in 2007. this really works. thx for shar­ing, and is this secure to buy ribon cus­tomizer online.

  • Alex C

    Thanks. The free ver­sion of Rib­bon Cus­tomizer doesn't work on Office 2010, quit­ting with an error that Office 2007 isn't installed. Any solutions?

  • Fawnet

    Thank you; this is a great fix for my Word 2007 instal­la­tion. I hated hunt­ing around on that ribbon.

    I know it would sound bet­ter if I lied and said, "I tried to use it, I gave it a fair shake!". But what I did was switch to a dif­fer­ent pro­gram. Why would I like this; why would I want to use it? I knew where every­thing was, and you guys moved it for no rea­son. This was about as good an idea as New Coke.

  • Jimmy

    Awe­some! This is exactly what I wanted!

  • Ryan

    Per­fec­tion! Thank you so much for shar­ing. This is such and improve­ment. MS says the rib­bon was a result of what cus­tomers wanted, really…then why for the 2012 ver­sion is MS going back to clas­sic view…they are elim­i­nat­ing the ribbon…that is cause for celebration!

  • eve­lynm

    Rib­bon Cus­tomizer has not been upgraded for twp years. I also suf­fer from the new user inter­face of Office 2007. Later I find another addin Clas­sic Menu for Office 2007, It is devel­oped by the same com­pany. Clas­sic Menu for Office 2007 can be applied in word, excel, pow­er­point, access, and out­look. Though it can not be cus­tomized, it is really a use­ful tool to choose in the process of learn­ing the new UI.

  • Fraidy­cat

    I just want to say that you are an AWESOME HUMAN BEING and I hope you know it! I use your con­fec­tion every day!