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How to Change the Capitalization of Office 2013’s Ribbon Bar

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Office 2013 is now upon us and, much like Windows 8, there are plenty of people who are unhappy about the way things look. One aspect of the interface that has caused confusion, annoyance and derision is the decision to completely capitalize the tab labels in the ribbon.  If this is something that offends your eyes, it can be addressed in a few easy steps.

Microsoft’s decision to use all caps for these labels is a little odd. It is unlike any other software, including Windows 8 – even though the same style of ribbon is used throughout the operating system.

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Something that many people are unaware of is that Office’s ribbon labels can be renamed and this fact can be exploited to change the capitalization to something more in keeping with other applications.

You might expect that making such a change would involve editing the registry, but in fact it is something that is built into the office suite. Right-click one of the tab labels and select the Customize the Ribbon option.

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To the right hand side of the Word Options dialog, right-click one of the ribbon labels and select the Rename option. Enter the label you would like to use and click OK followed by OK.

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You will find that the labels you have renamed retain whatever capitalization you typed.

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Interestingly, as soon as you change the label back to its default, the capitalization changes to ALL CAPS mode once again. So what about if you want to keep the original label name, but only want the first letter capitalized?

The easiest way to do this is to rename each of the labels in turn, simply adding a space to the end of the default name – for some reason this forces Office to use a more conventional form of capitalization.

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Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done to adjust the capitalization of the File menu, but this simple tweak helps to improve the look of Office immensely.

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Have you found any tweaks for Office 2013? What do you think of the latest version of the office suite? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Mark Wilson is a software fiend and a fan of the new, shiny and intriguing. Never afraid to get his hands dirty with some full-scale geekery, he’s always trying out the latest apps, hacks and tweaks. He can be found on Twitter and Google+.

  • Published 02/11/13

Comments (10)

  1. Daniel

    Just happy to see Light and Dark Grey themes. Now I can work with office and not worry about my eyes seem like they are bleeding because the whiteness

  2. Patrick

    Nice! But is there a way to export / import these? Having to rename the complete menu is quite time consuming….

  3. jrobie

    Thanks for this, I just wish MS would stop screwing things up so we wouldn’t have to jump through so many hoops (and implement so many 3rd party workarounds) to clean up after them?

  4. James

    If this winds you up… you really don’t have enough going on in your life!!!

  5. Ruja

    Really creative. Thanks for sharing.

    @Patrick: In office 2010 you can export them, I assume they would have kept the feature in Office 2013. It is just next to the “New Tab” “New Group” “Rename” buttons below the “Edit Ribbon” dialog.

  6. Frieder

    Thanks howtogeek for raising the awareness of this serious problem. I just can’t understand what Microsoft did there. All this uppercase text looks atrocious.
    I am still trying to find a solution that really solves the root cause, i.e. avoiding the call to “ToUpper(…)” or something similar. For VS2012 it is a simple registry key (search for SuppressUppercaseConversion) but for Office2013 they did not include this option. So it must be somewhere deep down in the Office system files and it requires a much more serious hack. However it would normal-case everything in all Office applications including the FILE menu as well as all the text in the status bar. If anyone has more information or ideas how to achieve this please respond.

  7. James

    What are Microsoft on? They can’t release anything or do anything in the last year or two that doesn’t have something stupidly altered, omitted or plain screwed up! Closing MSN and Live Mesh, for example, does no-one any favours, and as for Win8… well.. This uppercase stuff has to be a bug… no-one would (or would they??) deliberately make such a change. Obviously no-one with common sense is moderating production releases. I am staying with Office 2003. Does everything needed; and without that unintuitive, screen-wasting ribbon, I can work far more productively.

  8. James

    @Frieder “serious problem” ???

  9. Frieder

    It’s a problem to me as it keeps me from using Office 2013 since it looks so ugly.

  10. BearBass

    Is it just me, or is Office 2013 unusuably ugly? Seriously, I hate to be so shallow but damn.

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