UbitMenu: use the Office 2003 interface in Office 2007

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UbitMenu is a free add-on for MS Office 2007 that provides the option to use an MS Office 2003-style interface alongside Office 2007’s “Ribbons” style interface.

It is installed as an additional menu in Office 2007 applications (Excel, Word, and PowerPoint), allowing for switching back and forth at will between the older and newer style interfaces.

One of the most frequent reactions that I’ve heard when people (friends/colleagues at work) upgrade from MS Office 2003 to MS Office 2007 is “why in the world did they change the interface?”.

Other comments go something like this: “I knew the old interface like the back of my hand; I’ve been using the old interface for years; why did they have to change it?; why am I being forced to embark on a whole new learning curve?”.

And so on. I’ve seen many instances where people revert back to Office 2003 partially because of this, or otherwise reinstall Office 2003 in conjunction with Office 2007 and only use the latter when they absolutely have to.

If this describes you then you will be happy to learn that UbitMenu provides the interface of the old Office 2003 interface even when using Office 2007. Here are more notes this program:

  • How it works: once installed, UbitMenu will add a tab entitled “Menu” to the Office 2007 ribbons; clicking on this will display the emulated Office 2003 interface. You can switch back and forth to any of the Office 2007 tabs at any time if you need to.
  • Scope: emulates the classic menu of the following Office 2003 applications: Excel, Word and PowerPoint. Also emulates Excel 2003 keyboard shortcuts and toolbars.
  • Omitted functions: UbitMenu, if I understand correctly, brings back some functions which are omitted in Office 2007 but not all (in some instances the functionality is gone completely).
  • Language: although the developer’s site is in German, there is an English language version available (as well as a handful of other languages).
  • Uninstallation: uninstall from the add/remove programs Control Panel just as you would any other program.

The verdict: this program does a terrific job at approximating
the MS Office 2003 interface. If you need to use Office 2007 but miss the interface of old Office this program is exactly what you’re looking for. I know that in many situations (such as corporate settings) the use of the newer version of office is pretty much mandatory, and those users will be happy to find that they can have the best of both worlds (although note that UbitMenu is free for use in a non-commercial environment only, and the corporate version is paid).

Version Tested: 01-04

Compatibility: any system that runs Office 2007.

Go to the download page (choose the appropriate language installer; approx 360K). Also see the program page (in German) or the Google-translated English version.