Display issues in Office client applications

Symptoms

When you use Microsoft Office programs, you notice that visual features differ from one computer to another. For example, you see animations in Excel when you scroll through a worksheet on one computer, but you do not see the same animations on another computer. 

Additionally, you may experience one or more of the following symptoms that reduce the functionality of an Office program:

  • An Office program is blurry.
  • Your screen flickers or flashes.
  • An Office program is either mostly all white or all black.
  • Text in your document is not displayed well.
  • Your Office program crashes.
  • The performance of an Office program (other than startup and shutdown) is reduced.
  • In Microsoft Lync, there may be video delays or slowness when you are on a video call.

Cause

You may experience these symptoms if you have a video configuration on your computer that is incompatible with the Office feature set that is responsible for displaying the application and for animations in the application.

Office 2013 and later versions use a more efficient and accelerated method to draw the Office UI and the content. This includes relying on hardware acceleration, which is managed through the operating system. The hardware acceleration function of the operating system relies on up-to-date and compatible display drivers.

Note Hardware acceleration that uses the video card is always disabled when Office is running in a Remote Desktop session, and also when the application is started in safe mode.

Resolution

The resolution varies depending on your version of Windows and the symptom you are experiencing.

For the symptom: Poorly Displayed Text in Office Documents
For all other symptoms

More Information

Important
Follow the steps in this section carefully. Serious problems might occur if you modify the registry incorrectly. Before you modify it, back up the registry for restoration in case problems occur.

Administration of the "Disable hardware graphics acceleration" option

If it is necessary, this setting can be deployed by using Group Policy. To configure the appropriate Group Policy setting, follow these steps:

  1. Add the following files to your domain controller for your version of Office:

    Office 2016: Office16.admx and Office16.adml
    Office 2013: Office15.admx and Office15.adml
  2. In the Local Group Policy Editor, select the Miscellaneous node of the Microsoft Office 2016 or Microsoft Office 2013 tree. This setting is shown in the following figure.

    The screenshot for the step 2

For more information about how to use .admx and .adml files for Group Policy administration, go to the following Microsoft TechNet website:

Automatic disabling of hardware acceleration for some video cards

By default, hardware acceleration is automatically disabled in Office programs if certain video card and video card driver combinations are detected when you start an Office program. If hardware acceleration is automatically disabled by the program, nothing indicates that this change occurred. For example, if you examine the Disable hardware graphics acceleration option in the Options dialog box, the option will not be enabled unless you previously enabled it.



The list of video card/video driver combinations that trigger this automatic disabling of hardware graphics acceleration is not documented because the list is hard-coded in the Office programs and will be constantly changing as we discover additional video combinations that cause problems in Office programs. Therefore, if you do not see the same animation functionality on one computer that you see on another computer, we recommend that you update your video driver by using the instructions provided in the "Step 1: Update your video driver" section. If you still do not see the expected animation on your computer, update your video driver again soon. Microsoft is working with the major video card manufacturers on this issue, and these video card manufacturers will be releasing new video drivers as such drivers are developed.

Important Hardware graphics acceleration in Office enables the computer hardware to perform graphics functions instead of software, which is intended to increase performance. For some computers, depending on their hardware resources, hardware graphics acceleration in Office can cause the issues described in the Symptoms section. When you disable hardware graphics acceleration, Office depends on the software to display graphics instead of hardware. If you disable hardware graphics acceleration, you may notice a change in computer performance, responsiveness or battery life. You should weigh these considerations when you determine whether to disable hardware graphics acceleration.

Note If two computers have the same video card/video driver combinations, you may still see a difference in the Office animation features between the two computers if one computer is running Windows 7 and the other computer is running Windows 8. On a computer that is running Windows 7, animations in Office are disabled if the video card/video driver combination appears on the incompatibility list. However, the same video combination on Windows 8 does not have animations disabled because of the improved video capabilities in Windows 8.
Properties

Article ID: 2768648 - Last Review: Jan 5, 2017 - Revision: 1

Feedback