Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Technology | By Russell Knight

Microsoft Gives Office a New Look

Microsoft Gives Office a New Look

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. They'll first make an appearance on the web version of Word, and they'll make their way to Works, Excel and PowerPoint for Windows for Insiders later this month. The firm explained that users have muscle memory with the current ribbon, and it doesn't want to disrupt their work flow, so it will be careful in how this is implemented across those apps. Microsoft's goal with these changes is to offer users a more powerful and streamlined experience. The tech giant assures, however, that you can still go back to the old ribbon after the new one arrives on those applications.

The company recently also announced a preview version of the Mac version of Office 2019, which will be coming to the Mac App Store. Created to make the apps look more modern, the new icons are built as scalable graphics "so they render with crisp, clean lines on screens of any size", Microsoft says.

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The new Ribbon will have just one row of icons, which were redesigned to be scalable not only for a sharper, more modern appearance, but also help with accessibility. Microsoft notes that it has no plans to remove the full interface in the future from Office 365. 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.

Microsoft is redesigning its Office productivity apps to make them easier to use. And almost two months later, the company is back with another important announcement about the Office 2019.

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Office 2019 suite includes a new roaming pencil case and ribbon customization, a new focus mode in Word, in-click sequence, Morph transitions, 4K video export in PowerPoint, focused inbox in Outlook, and more. You can see the evolution of Microsoft Office icons over the years in the image below. This feature is already available to commercial customers using Office.com, SharePoint Online, and the Outlook app, with a launch in Outlook for web scheduled for August. Features will only become generally available once they've successfully navigated rigorous rounds of validation and refinement, says Jared Spataro, corporate vice preside for Office and Windows marketing.

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