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Don't Like the MS Office Ribbon? Bring Back Proper Menus.

Many people think that the new ribbon interface that Microsoft introduced with Office 2007 was a definite change for the better. But lots of people, including myself, disagree. We spent years learning our way around the traditional menu structure, which merely resulted in frustration when Microsoft decided to "improve" things.

If you use Office 2007 or 2010 and you want the old menus back, there are a handful of programs and add-ins that can achieve this for you. One of the better-known offerings is Ubit Menu.  You can get it from, and it works in both Office 2007 and 2010.  It's a tiny download, at less than 400 KB.

As you can see from the screen shot below, it adds a new "Menu" tab to the ribbon.  Click on that tab, and you'll find a traditional menu far with all your favourites.

For personal use, it's free of charge.  A commercial licence is still good value, at around $10 for the base licence and an additional 65 cents per user.


Ubit Menu


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by alancall on 15. April 2014 - 19:15  (115719)

Office 2010 has me struggling for basic commands that I had memorized over a decade ago. 8.1 was OK for tablets, but a disaster on the PCs and (non-touch screen) laptops that most of us use use for business. They are such a one trick pony. Their biggest success (the original Windows OS) wasn't even their idea, they completely stole it from Apple's OS. Nearly identical. Zune, Vista, 8.1... the massive failures keep mounting. Lucky for them they made a fortune on their first Windows OS, or they would have went the way of Netscape. Change for the sake of change, with very little real innovation. They are very out of touch with what people actually want. They will really need Windows 9 to save them. Their dynasty is long over because there are far too many other options now. Apache Open Office, Google Docs, etc. They are in real danger of losing their following. They lost a LOT of goodwill with 8.1. Tens of thousands of public, private and SOHO companies have switched to the highly similar and free Linux, Ubuntu or Open Office. Virgin Airlines, The US Department of Defense, The City of Munich, the US Navy, Google's Chromebooks, etc, etc. all use some version of Linux. It's a shame. I am not a hater. They are a US company that employs thousands of Americans and have greatly enriched it stockholders in its early years. But that was then, and this is now. It's a very different landscape and they need to adjust to the times and realities. I just wish they would do better for all of us. Their future depends upon it.

by RockHead on 10. October 2013 - 2:10  (111356)

This is without a doubt, beyond all reasonable incredulity the MOST UNINTUITIVE version of “MICROSOFT WORD” EVER!!!!!!

by Hawk on 22. July 2013 - 2:38  (109472)

If your looking for a very good compatible Office that you have a choice of ribbon or icons then Kingsoft is it. It's free and you can switch. All you have to do is find a publisher program or just keep MS Publisher.

by Digmen1 on 16. July 2013 - 8:41  (109299)

I'm an older guy and have been a user of Office since it came out.

I have Office 2010 now and I really dislike the ribbon.

I am all for change and improvement, but I do not find it easier or faster to use.
in fact I can NEVER find even the basic command in Word and Excel and Access is just impossible.

I wonder if people who leave school growing up on the ribbon find it easy to use?

by KathyLassie55 on 5. March 2013 - 23:31  (105981)

I may have missed a discussion on this in the past, but as I completely concur with the prevalent opinion expressed herein re: the infamous Microsoft ribbon, the option of Open Office is looking much more desirable. The only reason I hesitate is that I send and receive documents from other businesses using Gates' programs. Can Open Office and Microsoft operate concurrently and speak to each other without incident?

Also, I've already downloaded AddOnTools, but it appears that UbiMenu offers several better menu setups. Can I operate both at the same time, or need I remove AddOnTools first?

by Anonymous Ribbon Hater (not verified) on 19. November 2012 - 18:15  (102574)

Microsoft doesn't really care what the end user thinks...for they have made it emphatically clear the ribbon is here to stay so get use to it. Well, I like most that have responded don't care for the ribbon and wish Microsoft would heed to its customers desires since we are the ones that are keeping them in business. FLIP THE RIBBON!

by Nick Fenwick (not verified) on 14. November 2012 - 22:27  (102330)

Just got Office 2010. Immediately downloaded the interface giving the 2003 style menus but still cannot edit them to get those tools I use all the time, so I'm now two or three clicks away from what used to be just there.

It's like launching a new model of a car with three crunch gears and when the one released a decade ago was six-speed synchromesh. Unbelievable that they don't just give you a switch so you can choose.

Hats off to the guys who designed the original office, and perhaps even hats off to the guys who designed the ribbon - if it helps the over 80s use Office. But those who decided to make it compulsory for us all to use an interface aimed at people under the age of 5 or over 80 are idiots.

by MidnightCowboy on 15. November 2012 - 2:52  (102340)

I think quite a few of our more senior visitors might take exception to the implication that their age somehow "categorizes" them in the way inferred above. :) MC - Site Manager

by Nick Fenwick (not verified) on 15. November 2012 - 21:52  (102381)

My apologies if I offended anyone with my over-80 rule of thumb statement. If my daughters are anything to go by I have also insulted those at the opposite end of the age spectrum!

by Norwegian (not verified) on 28. September 2012 - 8:11  (99892)

I have used Office 2007 for two year. I still relearn to re-hate hate it.
On the work station I use most, I have set up small icons for a decent formatted textbox for example. -- By the help of a lot of work and google. It still doesn't help. It is ta ask for over an half of hour of hazzle to chnage it; not too mention to make a new one, if I have to use another work station for more than a week or two.
And for many functions, the only icon you get, is a stupid green button.

You say Office 2003 was better. Yes, that is true.
But please include that Word 6 was so too.

You can't run Office 2007 without google.
I don't expect Office 2010 to be better.

September 2012

by FxkThinker (not verified) on 13. October 2012 - 11:16  (100723)

Hi everybody,

I never learned hieroglyphics at school but no one can deny that thanks to the Ribbon, Microsoft opens the doors to illiterate people around the world to use Word on the phones they will receive soon...

I confirm that menus are always available on other systems. Systems like Mac from Apple who provide mobile phones... phones... humm

By the way, Microsoft seems to be leaving the office of professional tools by the window.


P.S. Please, don't reply with "docx", "xlsx" or "pptx" files. I reverted to Office 2003.

by Kipiatkov (not verified) on 22. October 2012 - 14:54  (101178)

«Opening the doors to illiterate people» should not close the doors for normal users, nor make such troubles as these created by introducing new interfaces without legacy option for many users having no troubles with the old interfaces.
Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien (the better is the enemy of the good).

by RC Collins (not verified) on 18. September 2012 - 20:23  (99442)

I agree with the ribbon's detractors. The ribbon is a waste of space. It's not customizable. The old bar was thin and I could add what I used frequently and get rid of what I didn't. I've been using the new Office & Windows 7 for over a year now. Their products and their attitude to the customers anger me. I will not buy from them. They don't give a f*ck about the customer, they only care about getting money out of your wallet. I hope they crash and burn. I will use Linux & android. Anything I need that is Windows I will use Virtual Box to simulate old Windows PCs. Windows Vista was a horrid. Windows 7 is sluggish, repeatedly stalls, and is a resource hog. Windows 8 is a monstrosity, tailored to who? Infants?

by Saabman (not verified) on 13. September 2012 - 22:46  (99232)

Like many others have said the ribbon stinks.

Apart from the confusing grouping and hiding of buttons - the amount of screan realestate it wastes is apallinng.

I want to see my document not a screen full of empty space.

The screen feels very cluttered with seemingly useless junk.

by geezer-geek (not verified) on 24. August 2012 - 5:09  (98230)

It's not a Ribbon, it's a Banner and it is being flown as yet another signal that the days of dedication to one's personal integrity and the value that others award it are over. Spend enough time digging around Microsoft's OFFICE web site and you get a painfully clear picture of Microsoft's malice towards anybody who questions the reasoning behind the Ribbon and in general, anything Microsoft does. Microsoft has a long history of selling operating systems and software that ignore what users want and force users to accept badly engineered products not ready for release. I'm retired (Thank God) after 40 years in the IT world and fondly remember the days when true PC literacy required a lot of work. When DOS ruled, a high level of PC literacy was an achievement that on pay day, you could take to the bank. Geeks ruled and no matter what your profession, a high level of computer proficiency was a bowl full of steroids and amphetamines for your career and your earnings potential. Nobody knows that better than Gates the value of covering your trail to keep others from following. Imagine buying a new car that's total crap, and the best the dealer offers is an endless supply of Band-Aids until they offer to sell you their New Model. Be assured the new model comes with no apologies or financial relief for the last one they sold you. Microsoft responded to the Ribbon fiasco of Office 2007 by allowing a choice of user controls in Office 2010 and in response to the endless complaints suggests users BUY Office 2010. I've already received a lot of updates for Office 2007 but a fix for the ribbon is not included? Join me and roll over, fluff your pillow, light a smoke and enjoy the familiar afterglow just like you experienced after Windows 3.11, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows ME, Vista, Windows 7, and now Office 2007. The RIBBON is indeed a Banner and the same idiots who think text messaging is NEW! will all line up to salute it. Buy the fix from the company in Germany, don't buy Office 2010. Money is the only thing Microsoft understands and if we want them to listen, stopping their cash flow will get their attention.

by dodaman (not verified) on 20. August 2012 - 21:27  (98035)

I've spent countless hours dealing with this stupid ribbon. Microsoft is big but I agree it shouldn't make major changes to platforms that have been in use for decades without knowing what its customer base thinks. After all we've all invested in Microsoft and Office; spent many hours learning the system and wake up one day and it's all changed.

by WmMitchell (not verified) on 22. May 2012 - 2:23  (93816)

What it boils down to is CHOICE! You can argue till you're blue in the face folks, but those of you who can't accept that users want choice simply want to force their _own_ opinions and choices on people who _do_ want it! If someone wants an older interface, who are you to argue differently?!? And how dare you do so. Each of us works differently and we all just want what works best for each of us.

I've gone through many, many versions of Office as so many others have done here, I'm sure. Yet its the ribbon that I hate the most. It's completely ludicrous. Its slow and clunky and reduces my speed incredibly. I've lost ONE-BUTTON access to all the commands I use repeatedly. And my custom toolbars included things that MS had never bothered to add in its basic interfaces before that while are now included don't even do as fully as my macros did (still do at home, of course). Customizing the toolbar AND THE ICONS FOR IT was a breeze in older versions. All saved to a tiny file I've carried around for years and that fit on a single floppy a decade ago and that now take up a tiny, tiny space on my usb flash drive.

Of course, Office 2007+ shure is real perdy, and if that's all everyone wanted, it would wins hands down. But it's not about eye candy or what looks aesthetically more pleasing but what allows us to work in the manner we need - and for me that means speed and efficiency which is missing in the new Office versions even after cutsomizing the severely limited QATs. Heck, we've also lost the power of CommandBars as they get pinned to the ribbon in later versions and we've completely lost their power now that they don't float anymore! No, the ribbon is a complete joke. Yet I wouldn't care if I had a choice!

Thank god for Kierans simple addin for Excel and wish I had that type of complete ribbon suppression to the old menu with PowerPoint and the other Office apps. No, not ideal at all since I've still lost the one-button speed I had before, but at least everything is more logically put together instead of having to click all over the ribbon for things that used to be under same menu if you did have to go the menu route (i.e., COPY>PASTE in the ribbon anyone?! Ha!)

Being forced to move backwards in speed and efficiency is the type of thing we object to. MS expects us to accept change at any cost and that type of autocracy is unacceptable to me. It always forces its ways onto users no matter what. And MS is proving to get worse at that as it goes along, not better. So perhaps biggest lesson MS needs learn is to change for the better by starting to listen to what a broad base of customers want and need and to provide choices. That would be a change I would embrace unreservedly.

by Christian (not verified) on 25. April 2012 - 3:18  (92566)

Hello, do you still hate the Ribbon? I do! Anything about it is awful, especially how much space it takes from 'wide' screens. And even in 2012 I am confronted with so many users (at a school, hundreds of them) who are not able to find what they need. Unto Office this situation was not possible: you simply told them where they can find the command. This was valuable for ALL of them. But now the 'dynamic' menu is DIFFERENT in it's arrangement on every screen. But most annoying is loosing so much space - and no, it is NOT comfortable to hide it so that every seconds I need it the hole thing is coming/hiding, this is so horrible, an ergonomic disaster, causing headache. - And soon we will face Windows 8 with still more hidden menus.

by Mike W. in San Bernardino, CA (not verified) on 17. September 2012 - 6:45  (99356)

Aye! Aye! to all your comments. And then you said:

"And soon we will face Windows 8 with still more hidden menus."

My thoughts exactly. Windows 7 is almost as bad as Google Chrome is. I guess MS is trying to "compete" with that idea. If an auto maker took away the dashboard, they couldn't sell the car. Sheesh, it almost makes me want to use Apache Open Office.

by me-11 (not verified) on 29. December 2011 - 22:43  (86190)

I use both the PC and a Mac and it's interesting that Office 2011 for Mac does give you an option to use the ribbon or the original style menus. Baffles me why they don't have that in Office 2010 as well. I find the ribbon cluttersome and in the way. Nothing wrong with offering choice.

by DButler (not verified) on 17. October 2011 - 21:52  (81624)

The problem is that the new UI, while it may (or may not) be nice for the majority of people, tends to slow down the some of the MOST PRODUCTIVE users of the older version (i.e., those who memorized and used the KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS).

It's good that, for the most part, the Fluent UI recognizes the 'menu key sequences' (as Microsoft calls them) from Office 2003. But one of the most compelling user-friendly features of the old menus was the highlighting/underlining of the menu shortkeys in the menus themselves. In this way, I could EASILY learn the shortcuts to things that I haven't previously used or used infrequently before. Now, there is no helpful indicator on the Ribbon that tells me the command for "Format / Sheet / Rename" for example.

The most productive PC users are the ones who rarely touch the pointing device (mouse, touchpad) and who learn the key sequences instead. Microsoft has taken most of that away.

by Anonymous yourmum (not verified) on 17. May 2011 - 13:22  (72091)

The ribbon is an absolute waste of space. I hate it. I will not use it. I will not upgrade to office 2007 or windows 7. I will stay with office 2000/2003 and windows XP on every computer of mine until such a time as those idiots at microsoft pull their heads out of their behinds and put things back to how they should be.

by beedee (not verified) on 16. February 2011 - 13:02  (66534)

The issue about the ribbon for me is not that I can or cannot get used to it. I suppose we can get used to anything. The problem is productivity. The move to the ribbon hurt my productivity in 4 significant ways. 1) the Ribbon was completely new and I had a lot of down time trying to find all the important commands that I need for my work. This issue would become less important as I learned the new system. 2) Some very important commands are no longer found anywhere on the ribbon and I have to design my own custom quick access toolbar. I quickly ran out of toolbar space for all the complex macros that I wanted to have tools for. No real solution there. 3) Many of the commands I use regularly for layout tasks now require several more clicks to get to. There is no fix for this productivity hit with the ribbon. 4) The ribbon takes up real-estate, even though it can be hidden. Each time you use the ribbon your real-estate disappears again.
I have begun moving to Open Office in place of MS Office. The ribbon was the main motivating factor.

by Eric L. (not verified) on 5. October 2011 - 15:23  (80934)

Perfectly said; I could have written each of those words myself.

I was recently looking for Edit->Paste Special in Excel's ribbon (discovered right-clicking on cell) and also Inserting a Worksheet (right-click on worksheet tab). While I'm OK w/ right-clicking, I know most users would never "discover" these commands without help.

by Homer (not verified) on 6. August 2010 - 17:25  (55548)

Microsoft also has some transition help - some quick reference guides in Excel format, and some interactive programs to run as live tutorials to hep find things

by AO (not verified) on 4. August 2010 - 17:55  (55460)

Since my employer switched to Office 2007, I have had no choice. I have learnt where to find things now, and in fact I think it is quite OK. But of course I use the auto hide option - I want to see as much text / spreadsheet etc. as possible instead of the space consuming ribbon.

by Jojo Yee on 5. August 2010 - 2:50  (55473)

I might have to think along this line, when I watch video, I need a wide screen, when I use Office Word 2007, I need a tall screen.

See the pic in

by Luc (not verified) on 4. August 2010 - 17:05  (55456)

great find Gizmo. Thank you. I just installed this piece of software and I like it, although, I would be thrilled if I could save even more screen real estate. I do not need any of the written words, (two) menu bars, I do not want to see any empty space in the menu and below the menu- waste of precious space. Also, I would have liked to be able to customize my menu the way I used to do it before 2007. I used to know all Word and Excel menus by heart, now I am entangled in the ribbon every time I try to use it... I would upgrade to 2010 if they would bring back the old menus. (just needed to vent a little, sorry) Thank you again.

by Bob on 17. May 2011 - 17:30  (72110)

"entangled in the ribbon" - that about sums it up for me... with some 256 shades of color I know I don't need. So thanks for the scissors, Robert. :)

by Homer (not verified) on 5. August 2010 - 0:43  (55469)

No offense, and not to dimish what Gizmo has done and continues to do - Gizmo started a good thing, but all the volunteers are doing a lot of work. Thank the volunteers who find the software they write about. It's very easy to see who they are, their names are at the top of the articles, very easy to see who wrote them.