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Microsoft Is Giving Office 365 A Simplified Fluent Design Makeover

14 June 2018

Microsoft says does not want to bring the new ribbon to Word, Excel, or Powerpoint physical apps just yet, as it doesn't want to make changes to disrupt the workflow in these apps. 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 new ribbon will first appear for some users of the browser-based version of Word on Office.com, followed by the Windows version of Outlook for select members of the Office Insider early access program.

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After getting a peek at some new design elements coming to Microsoft's Office apps this week, Microsoft has now confirmed it is planning a makeover for the Office 365 experience.

"Office is used by more than a billion people every month, so while we're excited about these changes, we also recognize how important it is to get things right", says Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Office and Windows marketing, writing on the Office 365 blog. Microsoft's asserted that the change has been made "to help users focus on their work and collaborate naturally with others".

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Capping off the interface enhancements are new color schemes along with icons that will render better across various screen sizes and resolutions. That may sound like old news for some commercial users who can already see the behavior, but it's still bound to surprise some people when it rolls out to all commercial users of Outlook on the web in August. Users can also still expand the ribbon back to the classic three-line view if they see the need. The updated ribbon will also include new animations, icons, and a few small color changes.

Finally, search is going to be a key part of the UI. "With 'zero query search, ' simply placing your cursor in the search box will bring up recommendations powered by AI and the Microsoft Graph".

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Word for Office.com will be the first app to feature the new colors and icons, followed by Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Windows sometime in June for some Office Insiders and Outlook for Windows users in July. It comes with new features across Office apps like Powerpoint and Word. 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.

Microsoft Is Giving Office 365 A Simplified Fluent Design Makeover