How to Disable Worksheet Animation in Excel 2013

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UPDATE/CORRECTION: A previous version of this article was written based on the beta version of Excel 2013. At that time enabling the Disable Hardware Acceleration setting within the Advanced section of Excel’s Options would turn off the animation, but the technique no longer works. Thank you to all of the commenters that weighed in with corrections to this article while the previous version was online. Please refer to the end of the post for the update on how to disable the worksheet animation in Excel.

Excel 2013 has arrived, and for the most part, it's much like Excel 2007 and 2010, but with some spiffy new features, such as Recommended Charts and Pivot Tables, Flash Fill, Quick Analysis, Power View, and more. I'll be exploring these features in upcoming articles, but first I want to show how you can disable the eye candy if you choose.
 
By comparison, worksheets in Excel 2010 and earlier were rather staid. You pressed Enter, and the cursor dropped to the next row with aplomb. In Excel 2013, the cursor wants to make sure that you realize it's moving to the next row, so it swoops its way there. When you change a formula, numbers flip like in a slot machine before settling into place. Click a few cells to the right, and the cursor visually whooshes into position.
 
These features are probably helpful to a new generation that's never experienced a spreadsheet before, but it borders on seizure inducing for long-time spreadsheet users. Fortunately, there's a simple fix to tone down the animation in Excel 2013. As shown in Figure 1, click on File, choose Options, and then Advanced. Scroll down to the Display section and then enable the Disable Hardware Graphics Acceleration setting. Think of this as the "turn off the bells and whistles, please" option. Click OK and settle into working in peace with your spreadsheets again. SEE UPDATE BELOW
Figure 1: Enable the Disable Hardware Graphics Acceleration option to turn off worksheet animation SEE UPDATE BELOW
 
For good measure, once you change this setting in Excel 2013, as shown in Figure 2, choose File and then Account. On this screen you can change your Office Theme to Dark Gray to add some contrast to the default, stark-white user interface. This screen is also where you can sign out of Excel if you sign in via the Sign In link in the top right-hand corner or through the Office Apps store. SEE UPDATE BELOW
 
Figure 2: Set the Office Theme to Dark Gray if you find the Excel 2013's default theme to be too stark.
 
Read more articles by David Ringstrom. 
 
UPDATE:
Here's a simple fix to tone down the animation in Excel 2013, shown in Figure 1, which I’ll describe here:
 
1. Access the Windows Control Panel:
  • Windows 7: Click Start, and then Control Panel.
  • Windows 8: From the desktop right-click the Windows button and choose Control Panel. Or, from the Start screen (also known as the Metro interface), start typing the words Control Panel to make a Control Panel icon appear.
2. Choose Ease of Use within the Control Panel (Keyboard shortcut: press Windows-U to hop directly to this window without first launching the Control Panel in step 1 above.)
 
3. Scroll down and click the Use This Computer Without a Display link.
 
4. Scroll down and click the Turn Off All Unnecessary Animations (When Possible) checkbox.
 
5. Click OK as needed or close any onscreen windows.
 
Figure 1: You can use the Windows Control Panel to disable worksheet animation in Excel 2013.
 
A second way to improve your Excel 2013 experience is to adjust the theme, as shown in Figure 2. Choose File, and then Account. On this screen you can change your Office Background to None to turn off extraneous eye-candy. I also recommend changing the Office Theme to Dark Gray to add some contrast to the default, stark-white user interface.  This screen is also where you can sign out of Excel if you sign in via the Sign In link on the top hand-corner, or through the Office Apps store. Bear in mind though that an update to Windows 8 unceremoniously links your computer to your Windows Live or Microsoft Account, which then means you can no longer simply log out of Office. The fix for this entails creating a new Windows 8 account.
 
Figure 2: Set the Office Theme to Dark Gray if you find the Excel 2013’s default theme to be too stark.
 
About the author:

David H. Ringstrom, CPA heads up Accounting Advisors, Inc., an Atlanta-based software and database consulting firm providing training and consulting services nationwide. Contact David at david@acctadv.com or follow him on Twitter. David speaks at conferences about Microsoft Excel, and presents webcasts for several CPE providers, including AccountingWEB partner CPE Link.

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Thank you sir! Death to Excel2007, Excel2010, Excel2013, Windows7, Windows8. Long live Excel2003 and WindowsXP!

Living in the past, I see. ;-) Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!
This worked for me and it makes 2013 so much easier to deal with.

I'm so glad I could help! That animation drove me batty after about 5 minutes when I first started using Excel 2013.

Thank you SO much I thought I was going to go insane....

My pleasure. That was the *first* thing I had to figure out in Excel 2013.

Thanks a lot !! I followed exactly your explanations and it's really better now :-) These animations were really uncomfortable to me, thanks again

Thank you for the feedback! Yes, to me Excel 2013 is pretty much unusable with those animations in place. To me they border on seizure-inducing.

Works for me.
<rant>
Hate the ribbon and dull themes and stupid animations in Office2013 and the constant dumbing down of MS products for noddy home users. What about the old-style Power Users - those of us who have used Office since before Office95 or the far superior Lotus123 and AmiPro - or the DOS versions? Even the DOS version of WordPerfect? (My wife still swears by it as the best wp she's ever used.)
</rant>

BTW - can the trolls go somewhere else please? Everone except M$ agrees that the Office 2013 GUI is crap. MS are notorious for changing (read "breaking") things in SPs, patches and updates. The guy is trying to help so saying things like, "this is shamefully wrong..." is way OTT. It's a blatant "I know more than you, so there!" 5 year-old attitude. Please - do grow up! if you can't say anything in a decent tone, then please - don't say anything or go say it somewhere else.

Thanks, FJ! In fairness to the early comments, the initial version this article was written for the beta version of Excel 2013. The final version required a different technique, and it took me several months to get around to updating my article for the final version. So I earned the early criticism. In any case, I'm glad you found my article helpful. And I hear ya on WordPerfect. I was never in that camp back in the day, but it definitely was the perfect solution for a lot of folks. The cryptic codes in WP didn't fit my way of thinking. Office 2016 will be arriving later this year, so who knows what new "features" Microsoft will release on us.

Thanks for the useful information! Much easier to use without the animations!

Absolutely. Maybe it's a helpful feature for beginners, but it drives long-term Excel users batty. It was definitely the first thing I had to change in Excel 2013 back when it arrived on the scene.

I fixed the problem by signing out of my account (not very helpful to those relying on OneDrive). Initially I tried to change the background color and scheme but my selections would automatically revert to what I had it before, by the time I got back to the editing screens.

Thanks for sharing your experience!

Thank YOU !!!!

I appreciate the feedback! It's definitely a relief get the animation turned off.

THANK YOU!

I'm happy I could help!

I like the new animations, except how the keyboard shortcuts slowly paint in while you're typing in a command to execute via keyboard. E.g. if you type Alt+H,I,C to insert a column, after the Alt+H, the shortcut keys slowly paint in to the Home ribbon before it will process the next part of the command.

This makes commands that used to be instantaneous take 1-2 seconds. That's pretty infuriating for a keyboard heavy user. Disabling the animations doesn't fix this.

I'd recommend setting the registry DWORD HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\Graphics\DisableAnimations to 1 instead of going through the Ease of Access center. Changing the setting in Ease of Access will affect the OS and all the software on your computer. It's a global solution to a local problem.

Thanks for the great addition to my article. For me, I *want* disable all animations everywhere in the OS, but it's great to have a targeted solution for those that want it.

Appreciate the update to this article but for ease of use, the non-relevant content should be removed as it is confusing to read directions, only to be told they no longer work. Instead, only the current methodology to correct this seizure inducing animations should be shown.

I appreciate your frustration, but there's an editorial reason why the article is the way it is. Apparently removing the old text is detrimental to search engine optimization. It's actually a bit poetic to have such a jangled up article explaining how to fix the jangled up animation in Excel. :-) Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

This worked for my client! (ease of access...)
Thank you! :)

Fabulous! Thank you for sharing your experience!

Just create a new text file, open in notepad and paste the text below. Rename the file as .reg. Open the file and merge it in the exiting registry.

---------------------------- text below -------------------------

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\Graphics]
"DisableAnimations"=dword:00000001

Thanks for the great addition to my article, Rohit. Not everyone is comfortable working in the registry, but this is great information for those that are.

"shamefully wrong"??? "did not perform"???? what gives YOU the right to demand ANYTHING?

Mr Ringstrom, thanks a lot for all these very helpful tips.

CK, your thoughts made my day. Thank you for having my back.

Worked for me :) (Ease of access). Thanks so much! Using keyboard shortcuts (which I rely very heavily on) was becoming so tedious with the animations.

Thank you for sharing your experience! The animation was one of the first things I had to figure out how to eliminate when I started using Excel 2013 when it first came out.

thanks a lot !

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