Save time: Skip Backstage in Office 2013

(MoneyWatch) If you've upgraded to Office 2013, you know that Microsoft is proud of the cloud-based SkyDrive integration in the newest version of Office. Unfortunately, to make it easy to get to your 7GB of free online storage, Microsoft has decided to inconvenience everyone by creating a new intermediate page you have to wade through to open or save files. Called Backstage, it's a busy, annoying and clumsy screen you have to interact with before you can get to the traditional file dialog. I recently discovered you can turn it off -- kind of.

Unfortunately, there's no way to eliminate Backstage entirely. If you open and close files using the File menu (i.e., you click the File tab, then choose either Open or Save As), there's no avoiding it: You'll have to wade through Backstage to get to the file dialog.

But if you don't mind pressing the keyboard shortcuts (Ctrl+S to Save or Ctrl+O to open), there's a switch you can throw in Settings to avoid Backstage entirely. And it's hiding in plain sight.

Click the File tab, then choose Options. Click Save on the left of the Options dialog box, and then check Don't show the Backstage when opening or saving files.

That's all you need to do; now, you can quickly get to both Open and Save As without seeing the annoying and time-consuming Backstage screen. Remember, though, that this only works if you use Ctrl+S and Ctrl+O. If you navigate with your mouse, you'll still see Backstage whether you like it or not.

This trick works in all Office 2013 programs, like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.