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Microsoft is redesigning Office to simplify the user experience

13 June, 2018, 23:34 | Author: Rafael Roberts
  • Focus Mode in Word from Office 2019 for Mac

Microsoft says it isn't quite ready to bring the new ribbon to Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Windows just yet, but it'll eventually make its way to those apps as well.

Microsoft on Wednesday said it's bringing a design update to Microsoft Office. That's why it's taking things slow: the redesigned version is making its way to Word on Office.com today, and then to Outlook for select Insiders 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. 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.

That subscription qualification is important: only Office 365 subscribers will get this new interface. The new ribbon will be far more customizable, letting you add or remove any icon you want.


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

The company recently also announced a preview version of the Mac version of Office 2019, which will be coming to the Mac App Store. Users can also still expand the ribbon back to the classic three-line view if they see the need.

For everyone else, Microsoft is moving forward cautiously, especially when it comes to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Windows. Microsoft is launching new colors and icons in Office 365, with the new icons being launched as scalable graphs. The update also includes icons that scale better with screen size and a more prominent Search feature in the Office applications. In August, they will roll out to Outlook for Mac. It's launching a new feature it calls "zero query search", which surfaces AI-powered recommendations as soon as you place your cursor in the search box. Microsoft has been testing the simplified Ribbon with 30 large Office 365 customers and has been flighting changes to users there to see how they would be accepted, Friedman said. Command-line tools will allow IT admins to centrally control how and when Office updates are applied to users' devices, and support for industry-standard MDM policies and preferences will give IT the power to enforce organization-wide security policies, including preferences for Visual Basic macros and app settings. Microsoft will monitor the usage of these new features and will listen to feedback from users.

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