A new feature of the Office 2013 applications is online templates. The Start screen window comes up when you open Word, Excel, and the other Office applications that make heavy use of templates.
While these templates may be useful to some SOHO users, they are somewhat pointless for most. We either want a blank document or our own templates.
Is there a way to change this behavior so that the default template selection is not "online" or "featured" templates?
Sure. You can either configure the Office application to start with a blank document or display your own templates.
Start with a Blank Document
If you want to start with a blank document, you can go to File, Options, General and deselect the option to Show the Start screen when this application starts
Start screen with User Templates
If you want to start the Office application with your local templates shown as the default templates on the Start screen, you need to edit the registry.
Note that even with this registry value set, you'll get the "foofoo" Start screen. For this reason, I prefer to pin my frequently used templates to the shortcut and skip the Start screen.
You first must Verify that a personal templates folder location is set in File, Options, Save before setting the registry value.
With this registry value set, the Start screen will default to the Personal Templates
The default location is C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates (or %appdata%\microsoft\templates), but you can use any folder you'd like for your templates.
Once the folder location is set, add the officestartdefaulttab name with a data value of 1 to the registry.
Administrators can use Group policy to set these values as well as the user's templates folder.
Do it for me
If you don't want to edit the registry yourself, you can use the officestartdefaulttab ready-to-use reg file to set the value for Word and Excel.
Use Pinned Templates
If you don't like the Start screen, you can pin your most frequently used templates to the application shortcut. (Or, even if you like the Start screen but have a lot of templates - it's much faster than browsing the screen.)
To pin, go to your template folder and drag it to the shortcut. When you see "Pin to [application]", drop it.
Once the templates are pinned, right-click on the shortcut to access your list of templates.