Jun
13
2018
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Microsoft gives Office a refreshed look and feel

Microsoft today announced that it’s bringing a new user interface design to its Office apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. This new look will be in line with the Fluent Design System the company launched last year and will roll out to both the Office.com online apps and the Office desktop tools over the course of the next few months.

Besides the overall switch to the Fluent Design System, which is essentially Microsoft’s take on what Google is doing with Material Design, there are three major changes to the design of the Office apps.

The most obvious is the redesigned and simplified Ribbon — though Microsoft is taking a very cautious approach with rolling this new feature out to all users. While it was a bit controversial when it first launched in Office 2007, most users quickly got used to the Ribbon and Microsoft quickly brought it to virtually all its Windows and online applications. With this update, Microsoft is collapsing the traditional three-row view into a single line that highlights the most important features. Users who want the traditional view can still expand the simplified Ribbon and get that full view.

Microsoft is clearly aware that this is going to be a controversial move, so it’s only launching the new Ribbon for the web version of Word for now. Some Office Insiders will also see it in Outlook for Windows in July. For now, though, the company is holding back on a wider rollout.

“Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on Windows offer our deepest, richest feature set – and they’re the preferred experience for users who want to get the most from our apps,” the company writes in today’s announcement. “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. We aren’t ready to bring the simplified ribbon to these versions yet because we feel like we need more feedback from a broader set of users first. But when we do, users will always be able to revert back to the classic ribbon with one click.”

The other major visual overhaul here is a new set of colors and icons. Unlike the new Ribbon, these design changes will make their way to all the Office applications soon. The Web version of Word at Office.com will get it first, followed by an Insider release for Word, Excel and PowerPoint on Windows later this month. Outlook for Windows will follow in July, with Outlook for Mac getting it this update in August.

Another new feature that’s less about the design but the user experience is the launch of what Microsoft calls ‘zero query search.” This AI- and Microsoft Graph-powered feature is meant to bring up useful recommendations for your searches every time you place your cursor into the search box. For commercial users, this feature is already live in Office.com, SharePoint Online and the Outlook mobile app. It’ll roll out to Outlook on the web in August.

Apr
19
2017
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Microsoft to shut down Wunderlist in favor of its new app, To-Do

 Microsoft acquired the popular mobile to do list application Wunderlist back in 2015, and now it’s preparing users for its eventual demise with the release of its new application “To-Do,” announced today. The new app was built by the team behind Wunderlist, and will bring in the favorite elements of that app in the months ahead, Microsoft says. The company also added that… Read More

Jan
12
2017
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Microsoft launches StaffHub, a new Office 365 app aimed at shift workers

staffhub Microsoft today unveiled the newest addition to its Office 365 suite with the debut of an application for shift workers and management, called StaffHub. The program is aimed at those who don’t tend to work from desktop computers and have different schedules from week to week, such as in retail, hospitality, restaurants and other industries.
The program was originally introduced in… Read More

Oct
29
2015
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Microsoft Integrates Skype With Office Online, Rolls Out An Office Chrome Extension

office-online-skype Microsoft today announced its plans to extend the social features of Office by integrating Skype into Office Online, allowing users to communicate by voice and video chat within Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote Online documents, as well as in Outlook.com. With the integration, users will be able to see and chat with Skype contacts right from within their file, which Microsoft says will… Read More

Sep
10
2015
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Microsoft Announces Office 2016 Will Arrive September 22

microsoft hq Microsoft announced this morning the official launch date for the long-anticipated new version of Microsoft Office. Office 2016 will be broadly available starting on September 22, the company says. Meanwhile, Office Customers with volume licensing agreements will be able to download the software on October 1. Read More

Apr
14
2015
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Skype For Business Begins Rolling Out Publicly Today

skype-for-business-laptop Microsoft’s “Skype for Business,” which is designed to replace the company’s older enterprise communication tool Lync, is rolling out publicly today as part of the Office 2013 April update, the company announced this morning. It’s also now rolling out Skype for Business Online to its Office 365 customers who currently use Lync Online. Read More

Nov
10
2014
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Microsoft Sees An Intelligent, Mobile-Focused Future Of Productivity

Satya Nadella At a recent event on its Redmond campus, Microsoft executives explained their views on the future of productivity to a small press cadre. The company’s CEO, Satya Nadella, opened the day’s happenings with an explanation of the company’s core focuses, listing platform work, and productivity itself as two of its chief efforts. The executive indicated that productivity… Read More

Oct
13
2014
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Microsoft And Salesforce Promise Windows, Office And OneDrive Integration

satya and benioff It turns out that Microsoft and Salesforce were serious when the two firms detailed a plan to integrate their products earlier this year. Today at the Dreamforce conference, the companies announced that a Salesforce1 app for Windows Phone will be released the second half of 2015, that Office will see integration with the Salesforce suite, and that OneDrive will also garner a connection to the… Read More

Oct
08
2014
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Office’s Place In The New Microsoft

Bill Gates In a recent Vanity Fair feature on Microsoft that you should certainly read, a comment from former CEO Bill Gates is worth considering: “[T]he original idea of having great software people and broad software products and Office being the primary tool that people look to across all these devices, that’s as true today and as strong as ever.” Read More

Apr
23
2014
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Apple CEO Tim Cook Lauds Office On iPad, Chides Microsoft For Not Delivering It Earlier

office-ipad Apple CEO Tim Cook took time to answer a question about Microsoft Office for iPad arriving this past month, and his answer was surprisingly long. “I do see that Office is a very key franchise,” he said, and also added that he “wholeheartedly welcome[s] Microsoft to the App Store.” Cook admitted that Apple’s “customers are clearly responding in a good way that… Read More

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