Published: Wed, June 13, 2018
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Office 365 is getting fluent design, simplified ribbon, other design changes

Office 365 is getting fluent design, simplified ribbon, other design changes

Focused initially on three key areas, the overhaul will bring a simplified ribbon, new colors and icons, as well as a new search experience that leverages the Microsoft Graph.

Following in Gmail's and Apple's recent redesigns, Microsoft is giving Office a makeover. They'll then make make their way to Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Windows later this month, to Outlook for Windows in July and then to Outlook for Mac in August. The Office 2019 commercial preview for Windows 10 users was rolled out in April this year, with features that are usually seen in the company's Office 365 subscription. 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.

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


Microsoft is adding new colors and icons to Office, starting, again with the web version of Word at Office.com. In addition, there are features in Office 365 ProPlus that aren't in Office 2019 for Mac. To name a few, features like the roaming pencil case and ribbon customisations will debut in the Office apps with the new edition. Office 2019, the next perpetually licensed version of the suite, will retain the existing ribbon interface. Users can also still expand the ribbon back to the classic three-line view if they see the need. They'll hit Word on the Web first, followed by Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on the desktop later this month.

According to Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Office and Windows Marketing, search "will become a much more important element of the user experience, providing access to commands, content, and people".

Also showing up in Word Online today are new colors and icons. The new icons are all vector graphics, so they can be scaled and resized while retaining their clean, crisp lines. 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. This is available to commercial users in some capacity already, but it will start making its way to Outlook on the web for commercial users in August. Once Microsoft collects feedback from those users, it will roll out the changes to everyone else.

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