Microsoft is bringing a simplified ribbon to its Office apps
It’s been a long time coming, but Microsoft is finally updating the user interface of its core Office apps - Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook - to deliver a “balance of power and simplicity”.
The most noticeable change is the new simplified ribbon, which now takes up less screen space and looks like the toolbar you see in the Office Mobile apps. Users who prefer to the full ribbon experience are still able to expand it to the classic three-line view. Microsoft says the web version of Word will be getting this new simplified ribbon now, and select Insiders will see it in Outlook for Windows in July. Citing the need to gather more feedback, Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Windows would be getting the updated ribbon at a later date.
Microsoft is also putting more emphasis in the search experience in Office. You can now place your cursor in the search box to bring up recommendations powered by AI and the Microsoft Graph. Commercial users can already see this experience in action in Office.com, SharePoint Online, and the Outlook mobile app, and it will start rolling out to commercial users of Outlook on the web in August.
Of course, it isn’t a makeover if there are no new icons. According to Microsoft, you’ll now start to see new colors and new icons built as scalable graphics, which means they should look crisp and clean across different screen sizes.