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How to Disable Worksheet Animation in Excel 2013

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Mar 1st 2013
Author/Presenter/Spreadsheet Consultant Accounting Advisors, Inc.
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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.

Replies (61)

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By Jeff OsierMixon
Jun 25th 2015 20:12 EDT

THANK YOU!

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By Tmdean
Jun 25th 2015 20:12 EDT

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.

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By Joe
Jun 25th 2015 20:12 EDT

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.

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By Service Desk Specialist
Jun 25th 2015 20:12 EDT

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

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By Rohit Sankhe
Jun 25th 2015 20:12 EDT

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

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By CK
Jun 25th 2015 20:12 EDT

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

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

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By Kumar
Jun 25th 2015 20:12 EDT

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.

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By dex
Jun 25th 2015 20:12 EDT

thanks a lot !

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By rgAnalyst
Oct 30th 2015 16:49 EDT

For reasons that escape me, Excel 2013 started exhibiting cursor-swoop in the past day or 3. Maddening does not even *begin* to describe its effect.

I'd tried disabling the hardware graphics acceleration and creating the recommend DisableAnimations key in the Registry. Nuthin'.

Happily, I found this article. The cursor now goes where I place it, without tarrying between cells.

Many thanks.

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By CharlieChaplin
Dec 18th 2015 13:18 EST

Thanks so much for the instructions. This feature of Office 2013 was driving me crazy, especially since I am still recovering from a subdural hematoma and it was making the headache worse. Your comment about seizure inducing was spot on.

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By dennis.fudge
Jan 5th 2017 11:23 EST

Thanks for this tip- I ran across this by chance, and the animation has been driving me crazy.

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