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  • Office Tips

    Posted on AlexEiffel Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Home Forums AskWoody support Office Office Tips

    This topic contains 6 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  AlexEiffel 8 months ago.

    • Author
    • #94660 Reply

      AskWoody Lounger

      I want to share what I do when I install Office 2013-2016 as I think some of you might like it. Usual disclaimer: this is only what I do, I don’t pretend it can’t have any bad consequences, use at your own risk and don’t do it if you don’t know what you are doing.

      Please note I disable things like ability to log in, access online help and Onedrive as this irritates me greatly. If you use that, some of the things here are not for you. If you are like me and want nothing to do with the automatic integration of the cloud and things like the suggested saving spot is always Onedrive first, then you might be happy. This is for a standalone workstation.

      If you already have files on Onedrive, I don’t recommend doing these as I think sometimes it is hard to remove Onedrive without loosing the files and I wouldn’t want you to not have access to your files anymore and since I don’t play with Onedrive, I don’t really know what will happen.

      First, I made a registry file I use to set a few things on 2016. If on 2013, switch the 16.0 to 15.0. It contains:
      Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

      ; Deactivates the ability to sign in in Office 2016. To reactivate, just set the value to 0

      ; setting from 2 to 0 disables access to external files and sharepoint integration.
      ; not sure if it also removes access to online help, but this “help” is so bad anyway.

      ; deactivates the annoying start screen for all Office apps. Don’t want to be asked whether I want to create a birthday card or a resume each time I start Word. What a dumb idea.

      ; deactivates the absolutely irritating animations started in Office 2013

      ; if you open an old .xls file, prevents from always asking to save even if you didn’t change the file

      ; restore the Office 2003 menus and removes the ribbon

      Other tip:
      If you have trouble activating Office because the link to click “enter a product key instead” don’t work, you can use the command line (adjusting for the version number you have on your machine) :
      cscript “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15\OSPP.VBS” /dstatus to obtain the activation status
      and then
      cscript “C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office15\OSPP.VBS” /inpkey:<product_key> to enter the product key

      You can uninstall Onedrive in programs and functionalities and if you have a Windows Home version and wants to get rid of the Onedrive Icon on the left pane of the file Explorer, there you go:

      I didn’t get the registry values for those below, but you might want to take a look and see if it could be useful to you. Sorry if the terms are not always right, I translate from the French version.

      I start Word and then click on File, Options, Saving.
      There I deactivate the backstage mode which makes saving a file more like older versions of Word. Try it on or off to see what happens when you press CTRL-S to save.
      I deactivate “show other places for saving even if a connection might be necessary” right below the backstage mode.
      I also click on “Always save on the computer”.

      Then, and this does not always apply only to Office 2013-2016, I change a few of the defaults I find very annoying. Your mileage may vary. I like the very old Office style of working with paragraphs.
      I go to the paragraph box (ALT-L-P-A on my French version, not sure the shortcut works in English, maybe try Alt-H-P-A), then I remove the 8pts after in spacing, I select simple for line space and then I select justified as alignment. Then I click on Set as Default at the bottom of the box so all new documents are like that.

      I go to the View tab on the ribbon and click on show ruler as it is useful to put tabs there.

      There you go. I hope some of you will find it interesting and useful to them.

      • This topic was modified 8 months ago by  AlexEiffel.
      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #94777 Reply

      AskWoody MVP

      It might be good practice to do a backup before starting on the tweaks mentioned in @alexeiffel‘s post #94460, just to be safe.

      • This reply was modified 8 months ago by  Kirsty. Reason: Oops typo!
    • #94788 Reply

      AskWoody MVP

      Another approach is to configure Group Policies instead operating directly on the registry. This would allow an easier roll-back if this is needed.
      Some desired settings may not be found in the Group Policies, in which case the only option remaining would be to operate directly on the registry, but only for those settings not covered in policies, likely not many.
      Download current admx templates from here:

      Office 2013 Administrative Template files (ADMX/ADML) and Office Customization Tool

      Office 2016 Administrative Template files (ADMX/ADML) and Office Customization Tool

      1 user thanked author for this post.
      • #94845 Reply

        AskWoody Lounger

        Do you know if the group policies are saved somewhere else than in the registry? Is there any difference between setting the policy in the registry directly and using gpedit to do it, provided it is done properly of course?

        I am also curious to see if lgpo works with those admx templates as I could prepare the settings using the group policies and just extract them after using lgpo.

        • #94857 Reply

          AskWoody MVP

          The templates work with LGPO. They are true Group Polices and not Group Policy Extensions, which do not work with the LGPO.
          You have to place the templates under C:\Windows\PolicyDefinitions in the corresponding folders. You may find that not all templates are translated in French, but I don’t know exactly. The language is only a descriptor.
          You have to use either the built-in Administrator, disable UAC AND Admin Approval Mode or take ownership of the folder if using another admin user. I prefer the first option for most administrative tasks.

          Group Policy set their configuration under:
          HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies (not common for Office)
          HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies (again, not typical for Office)

          The tricky part is that if you set the registry directly (without the GUI provided by the GPEdit, you will not be able to identify easily what was configured. This last configuration is maintained in a cached location which if I remember well is under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Group Policy Objects but it cannot be easily edited after the fact. The easy fix is to identify what was configured outside of the GP Editor and toggle the switches few times to be stored in the registry and visible in the editor.

          1 user thanked author for this post.
        • #94860 Reply

          AskWoody MVP

          Just in addition to my post, is your enquiry about if the GPO settings are stored in a different location than the application settings? The answer is yes and you have the locations in the other post.
          It works by taking precedence over the application settings.
          A true Group Policy correctly designed, would delete its settings when set to Not Configured and what is left behind are the applications/Windows specific setting in the “normal” area of the registry, i.e. the one not under Policies.
          There are Microsoft designed admx templates which are slightly broken like those for FEP/Forefront Endpoint Protection and I think some leftovers of broken settings are in the newer SCEP policies. They are functional but the editor behaves inconsistently. I had fun one day not long ago and found what was broken in the relevant admx, among others were paths ending with forward slash where the correct syntax was to end without a slash 🙂

          The Office templates are clean and fully functional from what I know.

          • This reply was modified 8 months ago by  ch100.
          1 user thanked author for this post.
          • #94994 Reply

            AskWoody Lounger

            Ok I wasn’t clear. I wasn’t talking about application settings vs GPO settings, but registry settings like
            [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\FlipAhead]

            vs setting it manually in the GPO.

            I was wondering if pushing that registry setting was doing exactly the same thing as setting the GPO manually or loading it using LGPO. I was wondering if that was how the GPO stored its settings, directly in the registry or if it had another copy somewhere else in the registry or in a file. If that was the case, it might mean pushing a registry policy setting using the registry could be overrun later by an older GPO setting done manually that would be reloaded? However, when I use the registry like this, the GPEDIT shows the change right away so I thought that was all there was to it and I didn’t have to worry about that, that setting using the registry in the appropriate policy section was the same as using gpedit. That would mean in theory, after having found every setting I used with LGPO in the registry (which I did for more than a hundred of them), I would just need my registry file and not even LGPO to push the settings on a standalone workstation.

            It’s funny I tried to push settings on a home version that way and lots of them seemed to work. It is interesting to see a home version says “those settings are managed by your enterprise”.

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