How to disable the smooth moving cursor in Office 2016

Updated: April 28, 2021

If you're using Microsoft Office 2016, you may have noticed an annoying thing. When you type, the cursor does not move in a discrete fashion. Instead, it smooth-flows, creating an effect like your letters are being somehow magically drawn on the screen. Why would this be a featured in a professional tool, beats me.

When I bought myself a new desktop, I installed Windows 10 on it - and also Office 2016. If I compare this experience to the previous combo - Windows 7 + Office 2010, this is a definite ergonomic regression. In particular, in Office 2016, the Styles box isn't pinned by default, and needs a little bit of tweaking, the Navigation only works with Headings and doesn't show say Title or Subtitle, and overall, it just feels less serious. But this cursor thing is the biggest annoyance. Let me show you how to disable this silly animation thing.

Option 1: Animations inside application windows

There are multiple ways to get rid of the toyish behavior. I will only show you two. The first is to disable animation for controls and elements inside windows. This will affect any program that uses these features, including Office 2016 (or any other version of the suite with the same problem).

Go to Control Panel > System > Advanced system settings. On the Advance tab, click Settings under the Performance label. On the Visual Effects tab, change the radio button to Custom. And in the field below, untick the box that says: Animate controls and elements inside windows. Apply, exit, start Office, enjoy sane behavior.

System settings, advanced

Visual effects

Option 2: Registry tweak for Office 2016 only

The second way will only affect the office suite and not any other application. It can be done through registry. After you make the relevant change, you do not need to reboot the system or anything alike, just restart Office, and you'll be good to go.

Start the registry editor (regedit). Navigate to:

HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Office\16.0\Common\Graphics

If there is no Graphics key in the tree, right-click on Common and create a new key > Graphics.

Then, in the right pane, add the following DWORD - and set its value to 1:

DisableAnimations

Registry change

If you're using other versions of Office (like 2013 or 2019), the same logic applies. The only difference is that you will need a slightly different path in the registry editor (e.g.: 15.0\Common or alike). If at any point you decide you do want the kindergarten animations, you can delete the DWORD, or set it to 0.

Conclusion

It is amazing and utterly depressing how software is becoming less and less usable over time. Paler fonts, animations that serve no purpose, supposedly stylish or trendy visuals that degrade ergonomics, accessibility or efficiency. Bad contrast, unnecessary mouse clicks. It's almost like the world has decided that we need to bring the global IQ down by 20 points, and the best way to do it is through "modern" applications. The only reason I'm writing about a Microsoft tool is because I happen to be using it, but this thing is prevalent all across the software industry, and it serves no purpose.

Anyway, while I'm pondering if I should uninstall Office 2016 and go back to 2010, here's a little tutorial that should help you make everyday usage more bearable, and definitely more productive. There is no value to animations whatsoever, and they only distract the users from the core purpose of using an office suite in the first place. Two options here: toggle animations off altogether, or use a registry tweak for Office. And we're done.

Cheers.

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