3 ways to customize the Microsoft Office start screen

Save time in MS Office with these start screen tweaks

microsoft office word start screen
Credit: Screenshot by Melanie Pinola

The new start screen in Microsoft Office 2013 launches every time you open Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, prompting you to choose a template or create a black document, spreadsheet, or presentation to get started. Depending on how you use MS Office, this is either an annoyance or a chance to make better use of that startup screen. Here are three ways you can customize the Office start screen.


1. Skip the templates

The start screen is an annoying extra step if all you want to do is get typing or calculating right away. If you want to always open a blank document when the program launches, all you have to do is go into the settings under File > Options > General and uncheck the "Show the Start screen when this applications starts" option. Goodbye start screen!

word start screen
Screenshot by Melanie Pinol

If after that point you want to create a document from a template, however, you can go to File > New and choose the template you want to use.


2. Add custom templates to your start screen

If you often use a few different templates in your work, however, maybe the start screen isn't that bad. You can make it better, though, by adding your own custom templates to the start screen. Custom templates or ones you've downloaded outside of Microsoft Office won't show up in the program unless you browse to the download location. Here's the workaround, via AddictiveTips: Paste your template to C:\Users\[YourUsername]\Documents\Custom Office Templates.

word thank you template


Then, the next time you launch Office, you'll find the custom templates under the Personal tab on the start screen.


3. Pin documents to your recent tabs

On the other hand, if there are a few documents that you're continuously working on, you'll save yourself some time by pinning those to your "Recent documents" list so they'll always be available from that screen.

To do this, open the file you want to pin, then go to File > Open and next to your filename in the "Recent Documents" list, click the pushpin icon on the right to pit it to your list.

word pin document


Next time the start screen opens, you can head to the open menu and quickly access your most-used files. You can also do this with folders, as How-To Geek explains.


Either way, the start screen could be a whole lot more useful than you might find it now--or you can get it out of the way every time you use Microsoft Office.

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