Microsoft is Giving its Office 365 UI a Refreshed Look and Feel

Focus Mode in Word from Office 2019 for Mac

Focus Mode in Word from Office 2019 for Mac

The changes won't happen all at once, but will instead be deployed over the coming months to select customers in stages so Microsoft can gauge user feedback and adjust accordingly. Apart from that, there is a new Focused Inbox, summary cards for travel and delivery details. The Commercial Preview of the 2019 edition of Office for Windows users was already out in the month of April. Office 365 Insiders-those who signed up for preview versions of the apps-will see it in Outlook starting in July.

Microsoft specifically mentioned that they are planning to carefully monitor usage and feedback as the changes roll out, and they will update their designs based on that.

With the improvements to the Office Ribbon, users can expect a focus on working and collaborating with others in a more natural way.

Today, Microsoft announced a bunch of design changes to its Office applications, the most major changes that the suite of apps has seen since the Office 2016 apps; possibly before that, depending on your perspective. Like the simplified ribbon, the new colors and icons will first appear in the web version of Word.

The new icons are meant to render more crisply and cleanly on screens of any size and to look better for those with vision 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.

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.

Automated recommendations reflect Microsoft's belief that Office should deliver the commands users are likely to want while they work, rather than making them pause to hunt something down.

Finally, search is going to be a key part of the UI. Users should also expect a "zero query search" when hovering over the search box, powered by AI and the Microsoft Graph.

New features include a roaming pencil case and ribbon customizations in all these Office apps.

Word for will be the first app to feature the new colors and icons, followed by Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Windows sometime in June for some Office Insiders and Outlook for Windows users in July.