Microsoft Gives Office a New Look

Microsoft Gives Office a New Look

Microsoft Gives Office a New Look

Following in Gmail's and Apple's recent redesigns, Microsoft is giving Office a makeover.

It starts with a simplified ribbon that's meant to help users focus on their work and collaborate naturally with others. Inspired by a new culture of work, the changes are created to meet the demands of customers who tell Microsoft they love the power that Office apps deliver but would prefer a simplified user experience. While two are relatively minor and focus on visuals and efficiency, there's one major change that even Microsoft knows it needs to tread carefully with. Even when simplified ribbon does roll out at some point in the future, you'll still be able to pull up the current three-line ribbon whenever you need it. The new ribbon will be far more customizable, letting you add or remove any icon you want. The changes will spill over to select Insiders later this month and into July and August while commercial users can see the new search functions in select products from today. In addition, there are features in Office 365 ProPlus that aren't in Office 2019 for Mac. 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.

Office 2019 for Mac delivers new features for both the end users and the IT department. The updated so-called "zero query search" feature will give users suggested content, people and documents based on which app they're in and where they are. This smarter search box is already available in the Web apps, SharePoint Online, and Outlook mobile; in August it will also be coming to Outlook on the Web.

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To ensure they get it right, Microsoft developed three guiding principles to "use as a north star" that'll include direct customer feedback, understanding the context you're working in and controlling the experience. Microsoft is rolling out new features in waves so it can collect feedback and improve Office slowly, which is definitely a good idea given the reaction to some of the changes it's previously implemented.

The new icons are meant to render more crisply and cleanly on screens of any size and to look better for those with vision impairments.now 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.

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