Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Industry | By Dora Warner

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

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

The commercial preview of Microsoft Office 2019 for Mac includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote and it delivers new features to both end users and IT department. They'll first make an appearance on the web version of Word, and they'll make their way to Works, Excel and PowerPoint for Windows for Insiders later this month.

The first major change is the updated design for the ribbon. If you don't like it, you can still expand the ribbon to its former size.

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.

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The new icons are meant to render more crisply and cleanly on screens of any size and to look better for those with vision impairments.now there are more than 10,000 different icons in Office, Friedman noted, and Microsoft wanted to make them more consistent and accessible from the get-go, using color, contrast and other design elements.

This overhaul will also feature a new search experience.

The updates will be exclusive to Office.com and Office 365 versions of Microsoft's popular productivity software.

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In addition to the Fluent Design being added, Microsoft has added a new search experience that uses machine learning and Microsoft AI. The company is bringing some of the Fluent Design features in Windows 10 to the Office suite of apps.

Search-Microsoft is planning to revamp the search experience across Office apps providing access to commands, content, and people. That's kicking off in August for Outlook users - all of them regardless of which version. You can see the new icons in the image above, and as with the simplified ribbon, we'll see these launch in Word for Office.com this month before arriving to Insiders using Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Windows later in June. There'll even ben "zero query search" that "will bring up recommendations powered by AI and the Microsoft Graph" as soon as you place a cursor in a search bar.

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

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This new search feature is already available in Office.com, SharePoint Online, and the Outlook mobile app and will be rolling out to Outlook on the web in August.

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