Streamlined Ribbon Is Coming to Microsoft Office

Focus Mode in Word from Office 2019 for Mac

Focus Mode in Word from Office 2019 for Mac

The release for business Mac users includes access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote and will ultimately ship alongside Office 2019 for Windows during the second half of this year. While two are relatively minor and focus on visuals and efficiency, there's one major change that even Microsoft knows it needs to tread carefully with. "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. It also comes with a word translator, improved inking functionality, customisable Office ribbons, and overall accessibility improvements.

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. As a result, the simplified ribbon doesn't have a release dates for these apps while Microsoft collects more feedback from a wider range of users.

"Office is used by more than a billion people every month, so while we're excited about these changes, we also recognize how important it is to get things right", says Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Office and Windows marketing, writing on the Office 365 blog.

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

Microsoft's also talked up new menu aminations, plus "inclusive and accessible" icons that use colour to achieve "higher contrast". The company promises that, at least for now, users of those applications will be able to revert to the old ribbon should they prefer it. Essentially, this ensures that icons have smooth lines and render correctly regardless of the display you view them on.

Finally, Microsoft is looking to make search more efficient.

Word for Office.com 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. Users should also expect a "zero query search" when hovering over the search box, powered by AI and the Microsoft Graph. To name a few, features like the roaming pencil case and ribbon customisations will debut in the Office apps with the new edition.

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