Excel 2013If you recently upgraded from Excel 2007 or Excel 2010 to either Excel 2013 or Excel 2016 for Windows, you’ve probably noticed a change that can be quite distracting (and even annoying!). Microsoft Excel now animates certain actions as you work. For instance, when you move from one cell to another, it animates the move. When you paste copied information, it animates the paste. Or when you enter a formula, it animates the calculation. While these animations may look cool at first, over time they can become distracting to many users – especially those who are used to working in earlier versions of Excel. The animations also use unnecessary computer processing power, which is sorely needed on slow machines or when working in large workbooks. Many Excel users have decided to turn these animations off, myself included, and so I thought I’d share an Excel tip on how to do this in Excel.

How to Disable Animations in Excel 2013 for Windows (and presumably in Excel 2016)

Disabling this “feature” in Excel 2013 for Windows is a two-part process; disable hardware graphics acceleration in Excel and turn-off controls and elements animation in Windows’ Performance Options.

  1. To disable graphics acceleration in Excel, open the File ribbon, click ‘Options’, go to ‘Advanced’, then under ‘Display’, check the ‘Disable hardware graphics acceleration’ box.
  2. To disable controls and elements animation in Windows, go the ‘Control Panel’ (Windows Key + X + P), in the search box in the upper-right hand corner of the Control Panel, search for ‘Performance Options’. Click the “Adjust the appearance and performance of Windows’ under ‘System’. The ‘Performance Options’ box opens. Uncheck the ‘Animate Controls and Elements Inside Windows’ box.
Sidenote: Are you using Office 365 with Excel 2016 yet? I recently switched to a monthly subscription (rather than purchasing a new license every few years). I pay like $7 a month, and so far no complaints. You might consider doing the same.
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Turn-Off Animations in Excel 2016 for MacExcel 2016

UPDATE (April 5, 2016): As of April 2016, Microsoft has enabled deactivating the animation features in Mac Excel. In order to turn off this animation and assuming you have Mac Excel 15.21 or greater, you’ll want to go to Excel > Preferences > Edit and uncheck the “Provide feedback with animation” checkbox.”

PREVIOUS TO UPDATE: I am a Windows user, but have heard from my Mac friends that this “feature” also exists in Excel 2016 for Mac. Unfortunately, as of the date of this post, there is no known way to turn off animations in Mac (see update above). However, there is a movement by Mac users to convince Microsoft to add a disable button for this feature. If you’d like to upvote this idea, you can do so at Microsoft Excel’s User Voice Forum. It is as simple as clicking ‘Vote’ next to the “Allow User to Turn Off Cursor Glide” suggestion. Perhaps, if enough people express an interest in being able to disable animations on the Mac, Microsoft will act.

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