Microsoft Office update brings simplified design, better search

  • Microsoft Office update brings simplified design, better search

Microsoft Office update brings simplified design, better search

This Fluent update brings a simplified ribbon to Office that contains new icons and colors that make it easy to use while working.

This new design is being rolled out gradually, with the new interface coming today for Word users on Office.com Later this month, a test group of Office Insiders will will see them in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Windows.

As with the previous release back in April of this year, this latest Office 2019 preview will be available internally to businesses who have yet to take the move over to Microsoft's cloud-based Office 365 offering. Later this month, a select group of Office Insiders also will see these new design elements in Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Windows. 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. Like the simplified ribbon, the new colors and icons will first appear in the web version of Word. The new simpler ribbon looks like an iteration of the simpler ribbon already used in applications such as OneNote: the tall three-row ribbon of the Office desktop apps is replaced with a single-row tabbed toolbar. Office 2019, the next perpetually licensed version of the suite, will retain the existing ribbon interface.

Microsoft Office update brings simplified design, better search

A final and very welcome development, according to Friedman, is that the apps open faster, having been rebuilt on top of a new platform. 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.

New colors and icons-Microsoft is updating the colors of icons and also introducing new icons built as scalable graphics. Then in July, they'll show up for users of Outlook for Windows and in August for Outlook for Mac users. 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. Nearly all these features are already available for Office 365 ProPlus users, but owners and users of stand-alone Office for Mac 2016 have been missing out on them. Microsoft plans to roll it out to commercial users of Outlook on the web in August. Once Microsoft collects feedback from those users, it will roll out the changes to everyone else.