Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
Technology | By Lionel Gonzales

Microsoft is giving its Office 365 apps a makeover

Microsoft is giving its Office 365 apps a makeover

On the Microsoft 365 blog, Chief Designer Jon Friedman notes that Fluent Design is coming to Office and

Simplified ribbon-Microsoft is introducing an updated simplified version of the ribbon that is created to help users focus on their work and collaborate easily with others.

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Next up, with the new colors and designs, users can expect to see Fluent-Design inspired changes across the Office web apps. With the redesign, the traditional three-line ribbon has been shrunk down to a single line with more pops of color to help command icons better stand out. New features include the roaming pencil case and ribbon customisations across Office apps. Microsoft says that later on this month, Insiders will start seeing these changes in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Windows, and then they will show up in Outlook next month. The Office 2019 for Mac commercial update will roll out alongside the Office 2019 for Windows update sometime later in this year. They are also introducing a new feature called "zero query search", when a user simply places the cursor in the search box, Microsoft will display recommendations powered by AI and the Microsoft Graph. In addition, there are features in Office 365 ProPlus that aren't in Office 2019 for Mac.

The new ribbon experience is rolling out first to the web version of Word starting today, and Insiders will start to see it pop up in Outlook for Windows in July. Nearly all these features are already available for Office 365 ProPlus users, but owners and users of stand-alone Office for Mac 2016 have been missing out on them. As a result, the simplified ribbon doesn't have a release dates for these apps while Microsoft collects more feedback from a wider range of users.

The new icons are meant to render more crisply and cleanly on screens of any size and to look better for those with vision there are more than 10,000 different icons in Office, Friedman noted, and Microsoft wanted to make them more consistent and accessible from the get-go, using color, contrast and other design elements. Microsoft will monitor the usage of these new features and will listen to feedback from users.

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