Microsoft recently announced the latest update to the office suite listing popular applications such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote, and Outlook. The new user experience updates would be also rolled out to Office.com and Office 365 users starting this month.

This latest update is focused on delivering “a balance of power and simplicity” to Office users. So, now the top changes that would come with the update is a simplified command ribbon at the top, new icons, colors and a better search function.

Also, a recent blog post by Microsoft stated that this new simplified ribbon would “help users focus on their work and collaborate naturally with others”, the new colors and icons, built as scalable graphics “are designed to make the software more inclusive and accessible”.

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.

Simplified ribbon:

The first application in Office suite to receive the Simplified ribbon is Microsoft Word. This new update is aimed at delivering more screen space for the writing pad while on the other hand, users would be still able to access the complete suite of commands by expanding the ribbon to classic three-line view.

New colors and icons:

The new colors and icons would be first rolled out in the web versions of Word for Office.com. The blog post by Microsoft also read that, “Then, later this month, select Insiders will see them in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Windows. In July, they will go to Outlook for Windows, and in August they will begin rolling out to Outlook for Mac”.

Search:

Microsoft would be now empowering the search box with the company’s AI and Microsoft Graph technologies. The company, in fact, hopes that this new search tool would make it easier for users to access key commands, content and other necessary information.

To this, Microsoft added that “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”.

So far, the new features have been made available only to a small group of paying users of Office. Jon Friedman, Office’s chief designer, added that the company is paying close attention to customer feedback so it can make the necessary refinements before pushing changes across different operating systems and applications. The new ribbon, for example, is coming to the web version of Word before it shows up anywhere else. He concluded that “We’re very confident that it’s a step in the right direction”.