Microsoft is giving its Office 365 apps a makeover

Microsoft Office 365 Gets Simplified Ribbon New Colours Icons and Design Tweaks

It features "roaming pencil case and ribbon customizations across Office apps; focus mode in Word; Morph transitions, in-click sequence, and 4K video export in PowerPoint; new charts and functions in Excel; and focused inbox in Outlook", according to Spataro. Included in the ribbon will be new collaborative controls that allow you to see small avatars of others who are working with you on the document, the ability to easily share the documents, and access to the comments pane.

The new ribbon experience is rolling out first to the web version of Word starting today, and Insiders will start to see it pop up in Outlook for Windows in July.

Next up, with the new colors and designs, users can expect to see Fluent-Design inspired changes across the Office web apps. The new ribbon will be far more customizable, letting you add or remove any icon you want. Office 2019, the next perpetually licensed version of the suite, will retain the existing ribbon interface. With the redesign, the traditional three-line ribbon has been shrunk down to a single line with more pops of color to help command icons better stand out.

Lastly, Microsoft is planning to place a much larger emphasis on search within its Office apps.

Microsoft Office 2019 for Mac previews improved inking features and more
Microsoft's Office UI update includes a simpler, cleaner ribbon

For everyone else, Microsoft is moving forward cautiously, especially when it comes to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Windows. Created to make the apps look more modern, the new icons are built as scalable graphics "so they render with crisp, clean lines on screens of any size", Microsoft says. The new icons will be vector graphics, so they should be able to render on screens of different sizes and resolutions. Starting in July, it will be available in Outlook for Windows and Outlook for Mac in August.

Microsoft also is making search smarter by providing recommendations that officials said are "powered by AI" and the Microsoft Graph programming interfaces.

Finally, is an enhanced search feature for Office 365 on the web. This further cements the subscription-versus-perpetual license split that the company has already been exploiting over the last few years: Office 365 subscribers get a trickle of new features each month to their desktop applications; perpetually licensed customers don't. Word on Windows will also have to wait as Microsoft collects feedback from a broader set of users.

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