Microsoft Office gets a facelift to improve usability

Focus Mode in Word from Office 2019 for Mac

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. There will be new colors, icons, and new animations and reveal effects in ribbons. People who prefer to dedicate more screen space to the commands will still be able to expand the ribbon to the classic three-line view. Microsoft's goal with these changes is to offer users a more powerful and streamlined experience. The company is vastly reducing the size of the ribbon - the toolbar that for so many years has been loaded up with buttons.

Microsoft is on the verge of rolling out the Commercial preview of the Office 2019 for Mac users. The new icons are all vector graphics, so they can be scaled and resized while retaining their clean, crisp lines.

The preview comprises Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote, and is the "perpetual update" - Microsoft's term for standalone software - for Apple's macOS operating system.

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There are also features for IT that will help them simplify deployment and management. Starting in July, it will be available in Outlook for Windows and Outlook for Mac in August.

Office today has a whole bunch of versions-the traditional, fully featured Win32 desktop applications and their near counterparts on the Mac, along with various simpler versions for the Web, mobile, and Universal Windows Platform (UWP). The features which the new update will carry resemble the ones found in the Office 365 subscription.The new Office 2019 for Mac will encompass features which will be liked by both the end users and the IT department.

To ensure they get it right, Microsoft developed three guiding principles to "use as a north star" that'll include direct customer feedback, understanding the context you're working in and controlling the experience.

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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.

Search Microsoft will be now empowering the search box with the company's AI and Microsoft Graph technologies. Microsoft has been testing the simplified Ribbon with 30 large Office 365 customers and has been flighting changes to users there to see how they would be accepted, Friedman said.

Now: rollout started for the new interface in Word for Office.com.

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