Microsoft revamps Office 365 with new look, ribbon and AI search

Microsoft to tidy up ‘ribbon’ interface and icons in Office 2019

That's why it's taking things slow: the redesigned version is making its way to Word on Office.com today, and then to Outlook for select Insiders in July.

Office 2016 was the last version of Microsoft Office. Microsoft's goal with these changes is to offer users a more powerful and streamlined experience.

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 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.

Key to the Office app redesign are an updated Ribbon, icon refreshes and new ways to more easily see changes coming to the Office suite.

Microsoft is adding new colors and icons to Office, starting, again with the web version of Word at Office.com.

The default is now a scaled-down ribbon with only the most commonly-used tasks shown as buttons on a single line.

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. "But when we do, users will always be able to revert back to the classic ribbon with one click".

Microsoft said the Mac variant of its Office productivity suite is set to ship alongside Office 2019 for Windows some time in the second half of this year.

But for those who actually bother to look at the screen as they work, there's good news, especially if you need a bit of extra help.

The new search function would provide access to commands, content and people along with the "zero query search" that would bring up recommendations powered by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Microsoft Graph, just by placing the cursor on the search box.

Microsoft revealed that it worked on search to make it more useful. No plans are in place for the rest of the Office ecosystem, but we'd place a small side-wager on it happening to coincide with Office 2019. The update is for Office.com and Office 365 users, and will begin rolling out to business customers and consumers in June.

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