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What is your worst Office annoyance? It can come from any of the Office Applications (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Outlook, Access, Infopath, Visio, OneNote).

Please specify:

  • What application and version number
  • What OS you are running on (Windows or Mac OS X) and version
  • What your workaround is (if any)

One answer per post please!

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14 Answers 14

up vote 19 down vote accepted


Available in Office 97 to 2003, turned off by default in Office XP and later.

Workaround: Just don't install the Office Assistants. They can be turned off at install time.

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+1 Hah, yeah. That might trump my post. – squillman Jul 21 '09 at 23:43
That's not even in there anymore for at least two years (dunno for sure whether it might be longer as I jumped from Office 2k to 2k7). – Joey Jul 22 '09 at 1:28
I haven't seen it since I can't remember when. Stop bringing it up on every occasion guys, you're killing the joke. – hasen Jul 22 '09 at 3:55
Clippy's counterparts still live on in Open Office. Are they trying to be more like Microsoft than Microsoft? – Andrew Grimm Oct 11 '10 at 6:39
BOOO - Love clippy... Used to do animate all the time in school... I was actually a bit annoyed that him and his friends were removed! – William Hilsum Mar 12 '11 at 4:00

If you do a copy in Excel, then go do something else, most of the time, you won't be able to paste, the copy will have been lost, and you'll have to go copy again.

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+1 Happens to me ALL the time! – JFV Jul 22 '09 at 0:10
This is only because you are copying the whole range, with all its attributes etc. which are not recognised outside the application. If you copy the cell text in the formula bar then the text should persist as long as any other clipboard item, even across multiple applications. – Lunatik Sep 1 '09 at 9:54
That's good to know, though mighty inconvenient. Note though, that this behavior even happens completely within excel. – Lance Roberts Sep 1 '09 at 15:16
Use ClipX – Jonathan Parker Sep 10 '09 at 4:54

Personalized Menus - conceptually I get the idea, but nothing annoys me more than having to expand stuff to find the items I need. Thankfully they can be turned off.

enter image description here

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Conceptually it's still a horrible idea. See – Joey Jul 22 '09 at 1:32

Microsoft Office ;)

More seriously, the temp files that seem to exponentially grow after opening and closing documents / spreadsheets. I'm not using the latest Office so this may have been fixed.

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Office 2007 defaulting the Save As... to .xlsx, .docx, .pptx.

We have clients that are on OpenOffice / older Office versions and every time we have to manually change this to the non .nnnx versions before save - or after.

Solution - I don't have a clue.

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Your clients should really consider upgrading. The "x" filename issue was released before older MS Offices even had a chance to patch. – bobby Sep 1 '09 at 12:21
OpenOffice 3.0 can open .nnnx formats. As for Office older versions, you can use compatibility packs. Or, you can make Office 2007 save to the older formats as the default – Sathya Oct 29 '09 at 5:36

The UI change to the ribbon bar. Not because it is bad in and of itself, but there were functions I had to use occasionally which I just knew where they were. I know it's just a matter of learning where the functionality now lives, but because I don't use it all the time, I end up having to hunt around for it every time.

Fortunately I came across UBitMenu which gives you a ribbon tab with the "classic" menu and toolbars. Very handy.

enter image description here

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Took me about a week for Word to get used to it. But the ribbon actually makes finding commands much easier because commands are grouped with thought and logic and not just throwsn together randomly as it frequently seemed to be the case with the menus. From my experience and watching other people, those who are less computer-literate usually have no problems adjusting and are much more comfortable with the new UI (and let's face it: those are far more numerous than we are). – Joey Jul 22 '09 at 1:37
I agree the Ribbon is so much better than the original toolbar – Ivo Flipse Jul 22 '09 at 4:21
Oh, I'm not saying the new UI is bad. The situation is that I use to be a fairly heavy MS Office user at a previous job where I was writing lots of documentation - so I got quite familiar with the UI then. Now I am only a sporadic user, so I'm never really getting use to the new UI. I'm sure if I had to use it more then I would adjust a lot quicker - in the meantime, UBit saves me a fair bit of frustration. – Evan Jul 22 '09 at 4:21
I like the ribbon as a UI concept, but there are some oddities. For example, if you go to a table it adds something to the title bar and shifts the document title way over to the right. Stupid and inconsistent. – DisgruntledGoat Jul 22 '09 at 10:27

I find the fact that OneNote isn't (yet) cloud-aware (like Evernote) to be annoying. It spoils an otherwise perfect product.

Bring on Office 2010! ...and hopefully an iPhone client!

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Use dropbox to sync it with online and other pcs. – svandragt Aug 6 '09 at 12:35

In MS Excel if you have a bunch of content that you've copied to the clipboard if you press ESC to get rid of the flashing dashed border around where the cells were copied from then Excel deletes your content from the clipboard. WTF?!

It goes against the expected behavior of the clipboard where the content is only erased when you replace it with new content... or you have a large amount of data on the clipboard when closing an application, and you are asked if you want to delete it.

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In Windows 7, Excel 2007 won't return to it's original size when trying to drag it while maximized.

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Hmm, interesting. Word used to do that too in the Beta but that was fixed in the RC. I'm sure it has to do with the ribbon and Office implementing its own title bar but I wonder why it works now in Word and not in Excel. – Joey Jul 22 '09 at 1:30
+1 I just noticed this earlier today. – sblair Jul 28 '09 at 21:16

MS Word. I have found when creating documents with lots of images and embedded content from other applications like Visio the screen refresh seems to not display the embedded content at all. It usually just displays an empty white section where the content should be.

Minimizing and maximizing the window would usually get it to refresh, however this is really annoying when editing a large document with lots of embedded content.

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Visio will always open a document in the existing instance unless that instance is blocked by a modal dialog.

That's the only way I've found to get Visio to open multiple instances so I can have one on each monitor.

Excel is even worse. It pretends to have multiple instances open (two or more entries in the task bar) but both actually open the same Excel window.

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+1 the multiple instance issue is a huge pain with multiple monitors. – dlux Sep 1 '09 at 21:28

One of my biggest peeves in Office is the limited amount of colors you have to work with in Excel... Windows, pretty much any version at least through 2003.

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Uuh, Excel has a colour mixer where you can choose whatever colour you want ("More Colours"). Anyway there are only so many colours that are easilly distinguishable (so you don't have to say "Its cornflower, with a hint of apple") – Mark Henderson Jul 22 '09 at 1:35
The color mixer an Excel 2007 thing? (broke my own rule and edited with more version info...) – squillman Jul 22 '09 at 2:00
Excel 2007 and later have the full 32 bit palette of colours. – Vaibhav Garg Feb 28 '10 at 11:22
Yeah, I know. At the time I was still working with Excel 2003. – squillman Mar 1 '10 at 14:57

Not really a gripe about Office per se, but the fact that the OpenOffice folk can't get a viable alternative to Office VBA working is a major pain. This is the only thing that prevents OO adoption in many corporate environments.

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My biggest annoyance is that, after more than 10 years, Word still makes it almost impossible to do numbered lists or outlines on the fly. It's a struggle to get the numbering right - Word keeps wanting to restart the numbering at 1 - and the indents just won't line up. I understand that this can all be done with styles, but it shouldn't be necessary to apply formatting to make such a simple thing work properly.

Whenever I need to do an outline or any list with indented sections, I do it in OneNote and then paste it into Word - it's much easier that way.

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