How to disable online help in Office 2007

MS really really really want you to use their on-line help in Office 2007. Even though its slow and rubbish.

They are watching where we go, so don’t be surprised to see an even bigger deterioration in help in future Offices as they misapply their new skewed data.

Anyway, maybe you want to use the help that got installed with your applications, like I do. I finally found out how to:

Click help, then down at the botton there is one of their classic user interface blunders – a button cunningly disguised as a statusbar ‘information only’ panel. Click this apparently unclickable panel and it drops down to allow you to select to use offline content only.

Yay people with intermittent internet connections rejoice.



(Isn’t this effluent UI discoverable!)

12 Responses to “How to disable online help in Office 2007”

  1. Harlan Grove Says:

    ‘Isn’t this effluent UI discoverable!’

    You’re still laboring under the assumption that Microsoft’s REAL as opposed to stated goal was duscoverability. Their real goal, as always, is customer lock-in.

  2. Amit | Web Design Says:

    With the new Office (the 2007) design, look & feel, Microsoft have made a giant leap. True that it takes time to get use to the new ribbon and to get around quickly.. But once you are familiar with it, you rock!

    We do a lot of researches on the web, and using Excel macros,
    we have improved our research speed in 30%. That huge!!

    Using OneNote have improved our research information control (nothing get lost now) and with the sharing files abilities, now everyone can contribute to the project.

    So to summary it all, we are more then happy with the tools that comes in the Office 2007.
    We looking forward to the new one… ;)

    With the SP2 support for open source files,
    our CRM improved since we don’t have to “fight”
    with our clients anymore :)

    The 2007 was a great investment with benefits to us.

    Thank you for the post.
    Happy to learn new things every day.


  3. jonpeltier Says:

    Gee, Amit. You work for Microsoft or something? Your glowing words are at odds with most threads on the internet.

    Even after becoming familiar with the ribbon, one’s productivity is greatly diminished. No rocking here, unless you mean in a rocking chair, gramps.

    Any increased speed you may achieve using the new platform is due to coding improvements which would have had similar results in previous versions. Many have reported overall slower code execution in 2007.

    Folks have reported problems installing SP2. I have had no problems, but it’s only installed on a single VM which doesn’t get as much use as the SP1 VM.

    I admit to looking forward to the next version, if only to see how the many problems with 2007 will have been addressed.

    • sony Says:

      Seems like the recent Microsoft Office codes were developed by some 3rd world dictator. Even if you disable online help, it goes back every time you open Excel. Is this the effect of Microsoft outsourcing overseas to cheaper, freedom-challenged cultures?

  4. Harlan Grove Says:

    The UI is at best a matter of taste.

    What gets me are the problems with disappearing range names and the reduction in macro recorder functionality in 2007 vs 2003. Since I don’t use charts beyond basic scatter plots, the impaired charting functionality doesn’t bother me.

    As long as Excel 14 still supports the statement

    Application.ExecuteExcel4Macro “SHOW.TOOLBAR(“”Ribbon””,False)”

    nothing too much to worry about.

  5. swift Says:

    Thanks for the help disabling the online help. I teach 6th graders, so we’re not doing amazing stuff here. So, when they searched for a simple function, like AVERAGE, and could not find it anywhere. It was annoying.

  6. gardoglee Says:

    Ribbon or no ribbon is not a relevant comment with respect to the original post…unless, of course, you are somehow saying that the ribbon cannot be implemented without reliance on online help (sort of like the MS guy who told a judge that Windows could not function if you removed IE…) This thread was about online help, and whether one could disable it if they wished. Relevant comments might include “I don’t like online help because it is slow”, “I do like online help because it is more extensive”, or “I don’t like online helpe because even though it is more extensive that just means I get several times as many irrelevant false positive hits as I got before.” So, keep the ribbon out of it.

    • sony Says:

      I agree. The online help is crap. Another way for microsoft to force user to go to their favored websites. And they made disabling it counter-intutuitive to make it difficult for microsoft zombies to find. Good thing there is Google!

  7. Fed-up and disgusted Says:

    I have Office 2007, and there is no such selection at the bottom of the help window. Only the ability to disable “Current search scope” and “View Shortcuts”. Whenever I search for anything, I get scores of links to various web sites that want to show me videos, take me through long tutorials, and are irrelavent. What I want is a nice succinct page on the topic, like I used to get with older versions of office. It was a great reference – terse, with a few key examples. It always got me where I needed to go quickly. Like the 6th grade teacher who’s students cannot find help on the “average” function. Just alot of crap. They are flooding me with everything anybody every wrote about office. As for the Ribbon, I spend many minutes, countless times a day, trying to find something that was mis-filed in the ribbon because the categories don’t fit. I rarely had trouble finding anything with the old menus.

    So where *is* the setting to disable on-line help, and only present what is on my machine, which I *hope* is similar to the old reference type material?

  8. Matt Says:

    Thanks, Simon. This is the first article which solved the Micro-SLOTH online help “requirement.” I have Office 2010 and it still worked!

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