One of the new features in Office 2013 is the Start screen which appears when you launch apps, and a similarly redesigned full-screen dialog that appears when you save and open a file. For experienced users, both can be a major pain rather than a help. Here's how to work around the problem with some settings changes and keyboard shortcuts.
I understand that Microsoft wants to make it easy for inexperienced users create new files from templates, and to save or open files from a variety of locations with the enhanced screen (as well emphasise the ease of saving into SkyDrive). However, if you're an experienced Office wrangler like me and you often work with groups of files stored in the same location, it's a major hassle.
On earlier Office releases, typing Control-O immediately opened a File Open dialog in the current directory, as did Control-S for saving for a newly-created file. In the 2013 version, you're stuck with the pop-up screen appearing instead, and you need half-a-dozen keystrokes to actually get to a dialog showing your current directory.
The only workaround I've found so far is to use the F12 key instead. F12 works as Save As, and immediately displays the current directory rather than working through the irritating splash screen. You can use Control-F12 to open a file with the same results.
You can switch off the option to show the Start screen when you first launch an Office app. Go to File — Options (Alt-F then T, keyboard shortcut junkies). In the General tab, deselect the 'Show the Start screen when this application starts' option at the end of the list. It's a program-by-program setting, so you'll need to switch it off in any Office app you use regularly. I'm hoping Microsoft introduces a similar option to disable the cumbersome additional file saving layer as well when the final version of the product is released. Having the alternate shortcuts is OK, but I don't want to have to use different shortcuts in Office to everywhere else, and Control-S and Control-O aren't exactly obscure choices!