Microsoft Office is getter a simpler, cleaner look

Ruben Fields
June 14, 2018

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. Microsoft is bringing focused inbox to Outlook, as well as Send Later.

Microsoft also explained in its blog, "Office 2019 for Mac also includes features for IT that will help simplify deployment and management".

The improved Office ribbon will only roll out to starting today, with Insiders seeing it in Outlook for Windows starting in July.

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.

Over the next few months, Outlook, Word and other cornerstone Office applications will feature some revamped interface elements meant to help users get the most out of the productivity software suite from Microsoft. This is created to help people focus on their work and collaborate naturally with others. The icons, like all other parts of the update, will first appear in the web versions of the apps before rolling out to desktop. 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 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.

Finally, Microsoft is looking to make search more efficient.

Microsoft also is making search smarter by providing recommendations that officials said are "powered by AI" and the Microsoft Graph programming interfaces. This further cements the subscription-versus-perpetual license split that the company has already been exploiting over the last few years: Office 365 subscribers get a trickle of new features each month to their desktop applications; perpetually licensed customers don't.

It sounds like these are just the first new features in a larger Office redesign. Microsoft will monitor the usage of these new features and will listen to feedback from users.

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