Accidentally open the Research Pane? Here is how to disable it in Office (Excel, Word)

The Research pane is a small utility build in some Office applications. It allows to search the meaning of a word, get synonyms, pronunciation…

The Research Pane is,  however, often opened by accident. When pressing the ALT key and clicking, the window opens on the right side. This can be very annoying to say the least. I had the same issue for a long time and I wanted to disable the Research pane completely, so it would not appear again by accident when hitting that ALT key during my work. Here is how!

Here are the steps to disable the Research pane in Excel and Word:

  1. Open Excel, and open a new empty file.
  2. Now press ALT+F11 keys to open the Visual Basic for Applications window.
  3. You now have a Visual Basic editor open. Press CTRL+G keys to open the Immediate Window.
  4. In that new window, paste the following: Application.CommandBars(“Research”).Enabled = False and press ENTER key
  5. Save your work (CTRL+S)
Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications - Immediate Window
Microsoft Visual Basic for Applications – Immediate Window

Note that after pressing ENTER, nothing will appear to happen. There will be no confirmation or information pop-up that will say ‘success’ or ‘operation completed’. Don’t worry at this stage, this means the command was executed correctly and successfully.

The very last step is to close the Office windows (Excel and/or Word).  Once re-opened, the annoying Research pane will no longer appear.


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10 thoughts on “Accidentally open the Research Pane? Here is how to disable it in Office (Excel, Word)

  1. Thank You, Thank You, THANK YOU!!!
    Trust Microsoft to implement something that completely brings your work to a halt…
    I couldn’t even type text into a cell.
    The research pane appeared upon selecting any cell, with some crazy irrelevant search text and searching Spanish & French dictionaries enabled (I speak English and located in Australia).
    All of my shortcut keys became disabled. I have a .xlsm workbook that opens hidden whenever I start Excel and it contains a host of VB code and shortcut key assignments that I use all the time. Including (believe it or not) all my Excel 4 macros that I wrote back in the 1990’s. Why would I still use those you might ask? Because they can be undone, they are basically menu commands in text form. Try to do any of these simple operations in VB and WHAM, your undo stream is cleared and you cannot undo.
    Sorry for the rant – I got a bit worked up, just gradually calming down again, now that I can continue working normally!

  2. Thank you so much.

    My Excel was responding when I press ALT+F11 at all. Therefore, I went turn on Developer to open up VBA screen. Copy paste the code you gave, and it works.

    Really appreciate!!!!

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