Microsoft announces refreshed user experience for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook

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The updated ribbon will also include new animations, icons, and a few small color changes.

The changes are based on a "Three Cs" - customers, context and control - principle, created to focus on the features people use most and making it easier to access them.

Microsoft, back in April this year had announced the Office 2019 Commercial Preview for its Windows 10 users.

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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 Microsoft knows that it's walking a fine line between streamlining things and upsetting users who prefer the traditional ribbon, this doesn't really need to be a point of anxiety for Office 365 users.

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. The updated ribbon offers a cleaner, simpler design, it's also more customizable, allowing people to choose their most-used features. It also comes with a word translator, improved inking functionality, customisable Office ribbons, and overall accessibility improvements. Microsoft notes that it has no plans to remove the full interface in the future from Office 365. And almost two months later, the company is back with another important announcement about the Office 2019.

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Now You: Do you use Microsoft Office?

Microsoft is also making Search more powerful by adding artificial intelligence to the backend. That's kicking off in August for Outlook users - all of them regardless of which version.

According to Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Office and Windows Marketing, search "will become a much more important element of the user experience, providing access to commands, content, and people". It's launching a new feature it calls "zero query search", which surfaces AI-powered recommendations as soon as you place your cursor in the search box. This feature is already available to commercial customers using Office.com, SharePoint Online, and the Outlook app, with a launch in Outlook for web scheduled for August.

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While Excel is getting funnel charts and 2D maps along with new functions, Outlook is getting a @mentions feature which is similar to the revamped Gmail.

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