2 Tools to Get Classic Menu and Toolbars back in Microsoft Office 2007/2010 Ribbon


Ribbon is a modern user interface design Microsoft started to put in Office 2007 to replace a long time classic dropdown menu. It’s an interface meant to be more efficient and more pretty but it also may not be everyone’s favor, especially those who have been digging the dropdown menu for ages. If you are one of them, here are 3 tools that can help.


UBitMenu adds Office 2003 type of classic menu and toolbars back to Office 2007and 2010, under Menu Ribbon, once it’s installed. The free version, which works for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, is only for personal use, but still fairly cheap for use at work. Their license model is quite competitive, with the first license at $10 EUR and additional clients only at $0.65 EUR each.

The classic menu for Outlook is on paid version only and charges separately at the same price and model as the office version. I guess it’s fair, since the Ribbon on Outlook is quite different from Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.

UBitMenu is an add-in to Office but really, it’s just a template file, UBitMenu04_UK.dotx, added in the StartUp folder that gets loaded up every time when the program is launched. So there is no performance sacrifice and security breech.



Addintools is a high performance Microsoft add-ins and tools provider, a variety of editions to add classic menu to different Office editions in either 2007 or 2010. Most of their products are commercial with free trial. The only free version offered only to personal, is the Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 edition, with the support only to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

The Office 2003 type of classic menu and toolbars are also added under Menus ribbon once it’s installed.


A few notes

Both tools work quite well as advertised. UBitMenu could be better if you only are going to use it at home for non-commercial use. It’s also better when used at work, since its license model is more competitive. But Addintools supports a wider range of Microsoft Office products, such as Access, InfoPath, Publisher, Visio, Project, and my favorite OneNote.

However, ribbon is designed for future, and it does work better if you overcome the learn curve, IMHO, and I think you will like it better once you do. Plus, here is a fun way to get more familiar with it.



  1. Both these add-ons provide static menu/toolbar sets that cannot be customized, thus failing in the same way that the Ribbon fails.
    The issues are not merely a one-time task of learning where Microsoft has hidden commands within the often too illogical Ribbon. Some important commands are simply unavailable, customization is limited at best, the Ribbon wastes valuable screen real estate, and most commands require many more mouse clicks than previously necessary. The Ribbon seems designed to cause or exacerbate carpal tunnel injury, and buttons added to its “less slow access toolbar” do not have editable images, so they are hard to distinguish from one another.
    In the Office 2003 menu/toolbar system, nearly any command (as well as hugely powerful macros) could be placed onto a toolbar (and their icons edited to visual mnemonics), providing single click access. For example, I am running Office 2003, and my Word toolbar set takes only two rows, but provides me more than 160 recognizable buttons and selectors, each accessible with a SINGLE click. I still have room for another two dozen buttons without adding another row. All menu commands require at most two clicks to reach. This is an extremely effective interface, with far more than a hundred commands all visible at once, distinguishable, and available with a single click. The Ribbon cannot come close in productivity or usability.

    • Since I also utilized the option for customized toolbars in Office 2003 I agree completely with Steve. While Office 2007/2010 (and particuarly Outlook) introduced some nice features the “ribbon” is very counter-productive and both the native “Quick Access Bar” and various 3rd pary add-ons are at best a partial workaround. If anyone knows of a ribbon replacement that actually lets you customize the buttons please post!

  2. If Office was the only or even the primary software I used, I would suck it up and get used to the ribbon. However, as a graphic designer, I mostly use Creative Suite (supposedly much more complicated software), which has a classic menu format, so when I switch over to Office for any reason I am discombobulated to the point of distraction. The ribbon is so counter-intuitive I go nuts. I can’t find anything that’s even a hair outside the most common commands.

  3. Kent – I quote this part from your post. 

    “UBitMenu is an add-in to Office but really, it’s just a template file, UBitMenu04_UK.dotx, added in the StartUp folder that gets loaded up every time when the program is launched. So there is no performance sacrifice and security breech.”

    How is it possible to learn to CREATE such “templates” for “Custom Menus” ? 
    Any suggestions/ links? Thoughts? 

    I bet we could get groups of people together to update and post such “extensions” for Office, just how open source projects, extensions & plugins add to functionality. 


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