Make Office 2007 look like Office 2003

Over at PC World yesterday, Rick Broida touched on a subject  that may hit home for many, Restoring 'Classic' Menus to Office 2007. He's new to Office 2007 and, like many, misses the familiar interface of previous versions of Office. To that end, he suggests UBitMenu, software that was also written up earlier this month at Freeware Genius.

While Computerworld hasn't covered UBitMenu, a long article by Richard Ericson, Hands on: Show Office 2007 who's the boss, back in April 2007, covered three similar products. 

The first was Classic Menu from Addintools which, like UBitMenu, installs as a new tab on the Ribbon.  Also covered was ToolbarToggle which was described as being "... for those power users who want the improvements of Office 2007 with the familiar tool bar functionality and customization of Office 2003." Here's an enticing suggestion from the article: "Hide the standard Ribbon, and with ToolbarToggle sitting at the top of your screen, you might almost think you're working with Office 2003 again."

The article also discussed Ribbon Customizer, a commercial product from Patrick Daniel Schmid that, unsurprisingly, lets you customize the ribbon. But, Schmid also offers a free Starter Edition that can be tweaked to add Office 2003 menus to Office 2007.  

Classic Menu got a 4 star (out of 5) rating at Download.com. ToolbarToggle has not been rated and UBitMenu is not even listed. Ribbon Customizer is incorrectly listed with the wrong price and vendor.  

ToolbarToggle costs $20 for the full version, there is also a lite version for $13 and a 5 day free trial. Ribbon Customizer costs $30 as does the full version of Classic Menu which includes menus for Word, Excel, Access, Outlook and PowerPoint 2007. Individual versions of Classic Menu support just one of these applications and are available for $16. UBitMenu is free for use in a non-commercial environment. The commercial version is $13.50 (the shopping cart currently seems broken, you can only buy one copy at a time).

If you are new to Office 2007 be sure to see Preston Gralla's Word 2007 Cheat Sheet, a long walk-through of the new features. Computerworld also has cheat sheets for Excel 2007 and for Powerpoint 2007.

If you have any experience with these products, feel free to comment below.

Update March 20, 2009: Office Watch discussed Classic Menus back in May of 2007 and covered UBitMenu a couple days ago.

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