Microsoft Gives Office a New Look

Microsoft Office 2019 for Mac previews improved inking features and more

Over the coming months, Microsoft will begin rolling out changes to the interface of Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Office 365 and Office Online (Office.com) users.

Microsoft, of course, would prefer the masses of its customer base to actually move across to its Office 365 subscription package, but for those who haven't yet done that, or who choose not to for their own internal reasons, Microsoft offers a yearly update of Office that allows businesses to handle all of their productivity needs. 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.

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.

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The first major change is the updated design for the ribbon. To name a few, features like the roaming pencil case and ribbon customisations will debut in the Office apps with the new edition.

The company recently also announced a preview version of the Mac version of Office 2019, which will be coming to the Mac App Store. 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. They'll hit Word on the Web first, followed by Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on the desktop later this month.

Speaking of colors, users will also start to notice new colors and icons across Office apps that are built as scalable graphics meant to both modernize the experience and make it more accessible. These updates icons will render with crisp, clean lines on screens of any size. In addition, there are features in Office 365 ProPlus that aren't in Office 2019 for Mac. The Office 2019 for Mac commercial update will roll out alongside the Office 2019 for Windows update sometime later in this year. 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. 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. Word on Windows will also have to wait as Microsoft collects feedback from a broader set of users.

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