Microsoft is giving its Office 365 apps a makeover

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This new design is being rolled out gradually, with the new interface coming today for Word users on Office.com Later this month, a test group of Office Insiders will will see them in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Windows. Microsoft is bringing focused inbox to Outlook, as well as Send Later. "Users have a lot of "muscle memory" built around these versions, so we plan on being especially careful with changes that could disrupt their work", Microsoft wrote in today's announcement. The simplified ribbon will be landing on the web version of Word initially - and only to some users at first - while some Insiders will see it go live in Outlook beginning next month.

This Fluent update brings a simplified ribbon to Office that contains new icons and colors that make it easy to use while working.

In related news, Microsoft yesterday announced a Office 2019 for Mac Preview for commercial customers. This is created to help people focus on their work and collaborate naturally with others.

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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.

The new Ribbon will have just one row of icons, which were redesigned to be scalable not only for a sharper, more modern appearance, but also help with accessibility.

Finally, Microsoft is looking to make search more efficient. The update is for Office.com and Office 365 users, and will begin rolling out to business customers and consumers in June. Users will be able to place their cursor over the search box and Microsoft's AI and Graph will offer recommendations. That may sound like old news for some commercial users who can already see the behavior, but it's still bound to surprise some people when it rolls out to all commercial users of Outlook on the web in August. To name a few, features like the roaming pencil case and ribbon customisations will debut in the Office apps with the new edition. Microsoft is rolling out new features in waves so it can collect feedback and improve Office slowly, which is definitely a good idea given the reaction to some of the changes it's previously implemented.

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