Microsoft's Office UI update includes a simpler, cleaner ribbon

Microsoft Office 2019 for Mac previews improved inking features and more

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.

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.

The Ribbon-that collection of icons for frequently needed functions at the top of the program window-drew ire when it first appeared in Microsoft Office, but most users now find it indispensable. Gradually rolling out over the next few months, users should first expect to see enhancements to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

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Next up, with the new colors and designs, users can expect to see Fluent-Design inspired changes across the Office web apps. 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. Today, Redmond announced that it will be simplifying the ribbon and using the slick new Fluent Design system that's been making its way into Windows 10. There will be new colors, icons, and new animations and reveal effects in ribbons.

Finally, is an enhanced search feature for Office 365 on the web. Microsoft says that later on this month, Insiders will start seeing these changes in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Windows, and then they will show up in Outlook next month. In July, they'll be added to Outlook for Windows, and in August, Outlook for Mac. They are also introducing a new feature called "zero query search", when a user simply places the cursor in the search box, Microsoft will display recommendations powered by AI and the Microsoft Graph. 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. It also comes with a word translator, improved inking functionality, customisable Office ribbons, and overall accessibility improvements. 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. Once Microsoft collects feedback from those users, it will roll out the changes to everyone else.

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