Stuff the silly Start screens
Problem: All of the Office 2013 applications (except Outlook) show Start screens with a list of recently opened documents -- and vast numbers of rarely used templates -- when you start the app. Unless you keep working on the same docs over and over, invariably your first move is to click at the bottom left to open other documents.
Solution: To get rid of the Start screen in any of the Office apps, click File, Options. On the left, make sure General is selected and, at the bottom, uncheck the box marked Show the Start Screen When This Application Starts. The next time you start that app, you’re greeted with a new blank document -- same way Office has worked forever.