Outlook 365, how to go back to OLD ribbon graphics and icons

Brass Contributor

I find outlook totally unusable since it updated to the new for-toddler icons.
Not only is it ugly, it's distracting and unusable. As if outlook is broken and running in safe-let's-go-back-to-1995-mode.

How can I revert to the old layout and look, without losing the security updates?

I'm using system restore now to always go back to the sane look, but I guess that's not really feasible in the long term. I will now also turn off office updates. But that can't be the goal either...

Shouldn't there be an option for us to pick a look?

Should we start a petition to give us that choice. Or am I the only one who doesn't like it? I think I'm even totally allergic to it...

58 Replies

Sadly, the team decided that this is not a configurable option. If the new look annoys you that much, your only option is to revert back to an older build: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/2770432/how-to-revert-to-an-earlier-version-of-office-2013-...


Incidentally, the article seems to be broken atm, hopefully it works when you click later :)

Ha ha...it's not just Outlook, its all of Office 365 … I followed the revert procedure and yay! my Word icons are back to normal. But today I opened Excel and lo and behold...there are the icons for toddlers still! I also noted that right click paste options have altered there. 

I knew I should have gone for Office 2016. I surely wont be renewing my subscription if this continues.


Would a petition work? Probably not, I guess there must be many more toddlers using Office than there are serious users, although I suspect the toddlers are using cheap ebay codes, luckily for them.

It's a very new look and with all new things it takes some time to adjust to. Same thing happened from the Office 2003 versions to 2007.. Also use Microsoft uservoice to release your anger and vote for improvements instead :) Microsoft will make improvements all the time..That's what makes an subscription better as well...



I'm not adverse to adjusting, when there's a real reason. I have spent time and effort customising my Office layout (although it seems actually it's not 'mine' after all). Icons for my macros and commands are easily distinguishable using the limited range of icons MS allows me to use, given I cannot create and assign my own any more (yes people were actually able to design icons, fully customise toolbars and menus, and did use their own a few Office versions previously). Customizability, which is ultimately usability, disappears with every reincarnation of Office, for the sake of eye candy.


Fifty shades of grey is not working for me at all. Any idea how I get the rest of Office to revert to previous build (I cannot understand at all why the revert only changed Word).

So there is a "real reason" for the new icons. They are scalable to all the different size resolutions that people operate Office on nowadays. The old ribbon had fixed size graphics that worked on a limited resolution range before being blurred.

Fair enough but how does colour relate to being scalable? I work on different monitors at different resolutions, icons have not been a problem yet. But for me colour is a major issue.

There should be a choice at least. It's like leasing a blue car then getting up one morning and finding it's now fluorescent pink, and controls have been moved about because someone decided it should be so.

Thankfully MS don't make cars 

Please make your voice heard and vote for it!

I keep using the clunky Feedback button in Office apps, if that's what you mean. Where eIse can I protest or praise? (There have been some positive changes in the past.)

Will do, although I see scattered topics on same subject, so possibly not greatly effective.

I so tossed between going Mac or staying with Windows when upgrading my pc, using Office was the major decider tbh. I hope I won't live to regret that. I just don't get why they change stuff that's not broken and break stuff that works fine (like numbering comments).

I understand the need to make a set of scalable AVAILABLE, and maybe even the default for new installations, is not a bad thing.


Not keeping the old icons available for the Windows native apps and removing even more customization options is simply laziness.


Microsoft was able to create the "simplified" (read as dumbed down) ribbon and allow us to switch back and forth. There was no reason not to leave the old icons and layout available.

This is a link to a suggestion on this topic:




It would be a good place to vote so that the votes are congregated in one place.

I don't like the way the new ribbons behave more than the way they look. I keep trying to set up and order things how I want them and they keep changing on me. I don't like having to "open" the ribbon all the time to see the buttons I put there. Also, I use a third-party extension in Word that was affected, and it's taking a while to get used to some of the odd changes that occurred in the icons. Some of them don't "look like" the thing they do anymore, or at least not as close to it as before. .

@Brian Reid I agree, simplified icons are probably .svg

it makes since to me, as a web dev myself, I'm trying to develop scalable interface for any device/screen.

plus the icons look great with the windows dark theme, the colors really pop.

@Geert Verschaeve You are NOT the only one, and "for-toddlers" is a perfect way to put it. Yes, it's true things take time to get used to, but when a new version of something comes out it should be an IMPROVEMENT. This new look is, for the most part, unnecessary and terrible. Why do so many things take up so much darned room?? That's not my only complaint, by why????


When the toggle was there to let users see upcoming changes the related dialogue boxes stated users would be able to revert certain things back to the old look, but where is that instruction now, when we really need it??


Not happy! Not happy at all!!


Guess what? Having reverted my office to how it had been and having turned updates off, I just installed a language pack and FFS icons are back and toolbars are stuffed. All my toolbars are now drop-down instead of collapsed icons because of course the sizes have all changed.

Now to spend ages trying to find how to revert back again,

Back to my car comment - it's like buying a sleek black car and waking up to find it's got zebra stripes on!


@SJP363 I get the need for scalable, fair enough. I guess it would look better with a dark theme.


But guess what, not everyone has 40" monitors. Not everyone wants to work with a dark theme. How come we get a choice of theme but not icon colour scheme? Would it be soooo difficult for MS to provide a separate icon set? Way back when, you could use any icon on your sys, or even create your own icon - shock horror! That was when Office really was mine. The many, many toolbars were mine. That was true customization. So many years forward from then, and yet MS have gone so far backwards.

Disappointed doesn't even begin to describe my feelings after so many years of buying and using MS products

@Geert Verschaeve    I agree with you.  The User Interface for all the office products are less usable and not as functional.  The new interface UI takes up more screen real estate, is at best clunky.   I understand the technical reasons for the interface being that it is web-based.  But from a UI standpoint it is not as usable and functional as the old interface.  Yea I know, I am just old school and get with the program!  Hey, banks are doing it too.  Their apps provide the same usability experience on desktops and mobile devices.  But to achieve that, companies like Microsoft and others have failed at the user experience!  The new apps are not as functional for humans.  The various functional areas of the app are not as clearly defined as the old apps leaving users viewing a confused blob of similar colors and shapes on the screen.   I have to use the new products for work.  But for home use we are digging out our disk and going back to some of the previous version.  Thank you for your time!

@Geert Verschaeve 

I wish I had an answer, I couldn't agree more.  This is UGLEEEE and childish looking.  UGH!  Why DO this do this to us?