How to Disable Worksheet Animation in Excel 2013


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. 
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 [email protected] 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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I've taken both of these steps, but the swooshing slot machine remains. Is there any other setting that might turn off these effects?

Keri, the changes might not take affect until you close and reopen Excel. This worked for me in both the "preview" and final versions of Excel 2013. I've not found any other means for controlling the animation.

Here's a way to turn off animation for Office 2013.

1.Open the Ease of Access Center by pressing the Windows logo key + U.

2.Under Explore all settings, click Use the computer without a display.

3.Under Adjust time limits and flashing visuals, click Turn off all unnecessary animations (when possible).

4.Click OK."

I almost went mad with the animation of the cells. Thanks for your solution. I have to stare at excel all day. Now they're gone.

Hey David.
We have an Excel file with lots of formulas that does a PDF Report and opens it up automatically in PRINT PREVIEW.
In Excel 2003, 2007 and 2010 the print preview works fine.
But in Excel 2013, the print preview opens but the scroll doesn't work. It works all funny with lag or you have to click on each page to be able to show it.
Any ideas?

Try this technique instead:

Thanks mate. I think I tried that already but I'll let you know tomorrow when I'm at work.

Hey David. I tested it and that actually fixed the issue, thanks.
My question now, is there a way to make Excel 2013 default to this old classic print preview view?
Again, thanks for the help.

Not by way of the File menu (as far as I know), but you could add an icon to the Excel 2013 ribbon that would make it easier. Also, when you add the icon to the Quick Access toolbar it gains a keyboard shortcut, as noted, so a little retraining and you won't need the File menu based preview.

Keri, the changes might not take affect until you close and reopen Excel. This worked for me in both the "preview" and final versions of Excel 2013. I've not found any other means for controlling the animation.

I have checked the Disable Hardware Graphics Acceleration box, but am still getting the animation when moving around the workbook. any ideas?

Conor, the technique worked for me with both the beta and live versions. Unfortunately there's no other setting I'm aware of. Try closing and reopening Excel after you update the setting.

that used to work ... but it doesn't work anymore ... please help and mail me austrian at mail dot com.

Changing this setting DOES NOT work in disabling the animation (cell selection and calculations) Office 2013.

Saw this work-around on another web page.

Press Windows Key and U for Ease of Access Center. Go to "Use computer without a display" (?? yes, I know ??) and check the box "Turn off all unnecessary animations (when possible)". This worked for me after I had already disabled graphics acceleration. Don't know if it works without having to disable acceleration.

Hi Paul
Your method worked when the original suggestion didn't. Thanks! I wonder what other animations it will affect ....

The article's solution was not even an option for me, but this worked perfectly. TY!

I have been trying so hard to turn off the "1930's cash register flip" for 3 weeks now!

Thank you SO much for this! The animations were making me dizzy, which is not a good thing being that my work primarily revolves around Excel. Funny that this little trick alone made my day 200% better.

I needed to *also* do this: from Control Panel, Adjust Visual Effects, turn off Animate Control Elements inside Windows. http://www.excel-powerpivot-ti...

This article is shamefully wrong. The author did not perform their due dilligence. The correct answre is here.


Thank you for sharing your thoughts, but please bear in mind that Microsoft subsequently made changes to Excel 2013 by way of patches that made the above solution no longer work. The solution did indeed work during the Preview and initial release of Excel 2013 when this article was first written. Regardless, I appreciate you improving my article by reporting a permanent solution, and I'll soon revise this article to reflect your alternative once I have a chance to research it further.

Maybe update or take down the post so other don't waste their time?

We've updated the post to reflect the updates. As a matter of policy, we don't remove posts.

As David pointed out, it was correct prior to the patches being issued. We've updated the article with the latest info.


Thank you, this really helps!

Managed to switch off the animations - thanks for posting. As a 25 year veteran using spreadsheets, I like to move quickly down columns or across rows. One left-over effect of the animations is that the cursor is now still slowed up... there is a noticeable lag when you move down or across.

Anyone figured out a way to disable this lag as well? (And yes, I have set my keyboard repeat rate to the shortest it will go).

My approach has been to stay with Excel 2010. There's much that I do like about Excel 2013, but many things I abhor as well. The eye-candy aspects of Excel 2013 are a disservice to serious spreadsheet users.

This article was extremely helpful to me. I hated the new animation and stark-white color scheme. Thanks for showing me how to discard this worthless eye candy.

Thanks for your feedback! I'm not sure who signed off on those aspects of Excel 2013, but I'm glad they can be disabled.

thanks very helpfull

Thanks, David. I got Office2013 today (8-Jan-13) and your solution worked perfectly.

This is completely wrong. Go here:

We've updated the post with current info.

Thank you!

Everybody, Paul's solution has worked for our office.

Yikes, the "Hardware Acceleration" tip is completely wrong!

That option doesn't disable animations, it just changes where the animations are rendered, via the GPU or the CPU. They are still displayed.

Please remove or correct this post so you don't continue to distribute bad information!

Post has been updated. Thanks for your concern.

I found this very helpful. The cursor is moving faster and got rid of the design on the top. Thank you!!!

I'm glad that you found my article helpful! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Thank you so much for this tip!!! I was almost going back to windows 7 and office 2007!!! It saved me a lot of time!!!

Fabulous! The animation might be helpful to someone brand new to Excel, but it's mostly maddening for anyone that has significant experience with spreadsheets.

I've tried most of these fixes but none have fixed the animation when using "find" between worksheets??

I'm not sure what you mean. Can you elaborate a little, and I'll see if I can replicate what you're experiencing?

This was a great fix. Like most people who have used Excel, the animation was annoying. The updated fix worked like a charm and I am glad that I am starting to fix some of the more annoying problems with the Windows 8.1 upgrade.

I appreciate you taking a moment to share your thoughts. I for one am looking forward to Windows 9, which I think will get us back on a much more usable operating system.

Thanks for sharing this. Since I actually use Excel for productive purposes and not for casual use (as most people do?) I found this behavior to be seriously obnoxious. Now I don't have much in the way of complaints about XL2013.

I'm glad you found this helpful. I do still grumble about the new File menu structure in Excel 2013, but I'm getting used to it.