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Microsoft Removed the Classic Menu Bar from the Office Suite. Options to Get the Menu back, use the Quick Access Toolbar

Updated on January 22, 2015

Office Menu Bar Missing

Although the menu bar's replacement was with a ribbon and has occurred and existed as such for several years now, people still struggle with trying to find functions and features in software such as Word and Excel.

Microsoft Office 2010 ribbon replaced the menu bar.
Microsoft Office 2010 ribbon replaced the menu bar. | Source
Microsoft Office 2010 minimum ribbon.
Microsoft Office 2010 minimum ribbon. | Source

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A "ribbon" bar Replaced the Traditional Menu-bar.

Why Change a Good Thing?

How annoying, the menu bar worked fine the way it was.

For the many "newer" Microsoft Office users, the menu bar change is not a new thing and it makes no difference. For many, many more people who have seen Microsoft Office progress through the years one release after another for well over a decade, the new ribbon takes getting used to.

For so many years with each release Microsoft would add new features to the Microsoft Office product. The new features were great and at times took getting some effort and practice to know them to make their presents productive - this is especially true of Excel. The one thing (at least visually) that has stayed a constant over the years and releases has been the good old menu-bar or toolbar. For some reason, and I have my theories and suspicions, the menu bar has been done away with and replaced by a ribbon.

What was wrong with menu bar? I am still currently getting adjusted to it and its name. Sure enough, every new release of MS Office had some new features and functionality added but the menu bar was always there to comfort and remind us as we looked for the right button on the toolbar to accomplish our task or looked through the drop-down menus for the "thing" we needed. After all, exploring the menu bar drop downs was part of the excitement of exploring a new release. But, not anymore.

I have too many times wasted time looking for stuff in Word for example or Excel that was always in the same place for so many releases before. Now it becomes a hunt for the known "thing" not the new "thing" in the new release.

All Good Things Must Come To An End

It's as if a whole new group of programmers and program project managers created this version of Microsoft Word. The only remaining resemblance to versions of past is the name. On the positive side, what also resembles all prior versions is the functionality. Many more features have been added and apparently Microsoft has been listening to feedback of users.

Let's see, the first windowed Office Suite came out around 1995 or something close to that. I think I recall Office on Windows 3.1. Many of the original developers, programmers, and project managers I guesstimate stayed with the company for many years after that. They continued developing Office in their 40's and 50's. Now I suspect many of those programmers have gone, retired moved on, etc. It looks as if a whole new crop of programmers and project managers have moved in and have influenced the difference in the interface.


Office Word 2010 With a Menu Bar is Shown Below

Word 2010 with Menu Bar

Office 2010 with Menu bar.
Office 2010 with Menu bar. | Source

There are ways to get the Menu bar back in Office 2010 and 2013

Get the Menu Bar Back in Office 2010 and 2013

So just recently I had a user go into a panic because they had to use Excel 2007. Excel 2007 and 2010 and the latest 2013 release also has the ribbon.

I did a little looking around and there are some products that will make the 2003 looking menu appear in 2007, 2010, and 2013 Excel. They were inexpensive. I looked for another way accomplish the same goal. On of which was a free add-on but unfortunately was an add-on that also causes a browser to open to their site.

I did not having the browser controlled like that and have a page automatically loaded to a site I do not want to go to. If they are causing a browser to open to their site, what else are they doing "behind the scenes" that I didn't know about so I removed it. I found VB script that could be used to create an add-on. Unfamiliar with creating add-ons in Excel, I gave it try, spent an hour or so on it but did not get it to work (yet?). I had to move on to another bigger problem at the time and never got back to it. Perhaps another day

There is another way to add menu bar options to the ribbon that does not require an add-on. It is done by going to "Excel Options, select customize, then choose all commands, and select favorite Excel menu options. They will get added to the ribbon. This method perhaps will take a lot of trial and error to get the right potions in place and of course I did not really know what the user needed except the WHOLE menu bar.

There are third party solutions to return the menu bar. (as in non-Microsoft developed/provided solutions).

Three of which are:

1. Classic Menu for Office (Free)

2. UBitMenu (Free)

3. Another non free tool that can be used is from They have a product that has a evalation to it so it can be tried before purchase to show classic menus and toolbars in Office 2010, 2013 and 365 .



Customize the Quick Access Toolbar in Office 2013

MS Office Quick Access Toolbar

Microsoft Office has introduced another menu however that has some value. This menu is a good addition and although it does not replace the traditional menu bar, it can be customized to contain some of your most used and favorite menu options.

As the name implies, the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) provides a quick access to frequently used features and functions of Microsoft Office. It is customizable to display Commands that are specified by the application (some defaults are usually set) or set by the user.


Whether the application is Microsoft Office, an edition from way back in the past or the latest Microsoft Office Suite, Microsoft provides support for their Office Suite of products and all their other applications and operating systems including application servers such as MS SQL and MS Exchange. Not always thrilled with their operating system and major application support, at least in the area of Microsoft Exchange, but they do manage to get the job done. Microsoft professional services uses Easy Assist for PC remote support software . It's a web based support software for on-demand PC remote support over the web. I recall the days when support came only in the form of a phone call with a support representative who would talk through the support session without even the capability of seeing the remote screen.

Microsoft Product Support

Microsoft's support is very good in the instances I have used them. I have utilized their support for much more serious issues than Microsoft Office applications. Working with servers and server applications has led to instances where Microsoft's support was required. Microsoft's professional support uses an application called Easy Assist ( ) With Easy Assist, Microsoft's professional services tech support can provide remote support to customers anywhere in the world and that is the case for online remote support software in general. It permits support technical support to assist users over the Internet. They, in the times I have used them, resolve the issue. I have to say however that it really depends on who you get initially to help you makes the difference on how quickly you'll get to the end of the call. Although they do have a wealth of resources to consult with during the call, my biggest qualm about their support is they tech support staff has no sense of urgency what so ever.



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    • pctechgo profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from US

      You are absolutely right. It looks as if there was an attempt like you said to get those features that were already in Word or Excel more easily "findable". I did not know about the study but it does make sense to do one before making such a change to an interface that for almost decades was consistent. I am still getting used to it. I am not a heavy user of Word so it's a slow learning curve process. I am a fan of the Quick Access Toolbar however. Thanks for your comment wordnut.

    • wordnut profile image

      Mister Word 

      5 years ago from Californiaaah

      It seems that Microsoft did a bunch of focus groups around 2005 to find out what new features users wanted in Word 2007. Turns out that that almost every "new" feature requested was already in Word -- users just didn't know they were there hidden in some sub-menu! The Ribbon is an attempt to put available features in users' faces when possibly needed. As to how successful that was, well...


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