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Microsoft announces game changing Office 365 interface redesign

Microsoft recently revealed plans to roll out a brand-new interface design for Office 365 in the coming months, with the most immediate changes being seen in the Word app with Outlook to follow. However, Microsoft stopped short of a complete overhaul by stating that it won't start work on redesigning the remaining Microsoft Office apps such as Excel and PowerPoint until they have received feedback from customers on the new design across the board.

This announcement is likely to have come as a result of Google's major overhaul of Gmail earlier this year to better compete with Office 365.

The drive towards improving efficiency

Microsoft revealed that the main aim of the Office 365 redesign was to simplify the work process for it's millions of customers to improve efficiency. These redesign changes include:

Simplified Ribbon Bar

One of the more significant design changes announced by Microsoft was a slicker looking simplified ribbon bar which Microsoft believes is more simplistic for users and strong enough to provide Microsoft Office 365 users with the right tools to complete their work.

Essentially, the new and improved simplified ribbon strips back the rows of icons and shortcuts that populated the toolbar at the top of the app in previous versions to a single row.

However, at this stage it's important to note that this change will only affect the Word app users on Office.com with the simplified ribbon bar in Outlook for Windows to be included in July. Also, users will still be able to switch back to the old design by toggling the simplified ribbon switch in the top right hand corner of the window.

Word Online Home Surface

This image was created by Microsoft

New Colours and Icons

The second of the redesign changes to be seen in Office 365 will be the new colours and icons which have been redesigned to render 'crisp, clean lines' on a whole host of different display sizes so it is able to adjust from a small tablet right up to a full screen desktop.

These changes will be seen in the web version of Word for office.com, with Outlook for Windows to follow in July.

Artificial Intelligence Powered Search Bar

AI Power Search Bar for Outlook

This image was created by Microsoft

The last of the redesign changes will be the new AI-powered search bar designed to reduce the need to type-in a search term which will be integrated into Outlook, the first app in the Office 365 suite to get this feature.

The way in which this feature works is that Outlook users will hover their mouse over the search bar icon, AI will start to add search terms to the search bar to try and predict the search that the user will be making based on users' habits.

After Outlook receives the simplified toolbar, the AI powered search bar will then become the default home for common commands and people.

Microsoft stated that: ‘Search will become a much more important element of the user experience, providing access to commands, content, and people.’

Existing Office 365 subscribers will see this refreshed Outlook interface in August.

To find out how Advantage can help you transform the way you work with Office 365, then get in touch with us today.

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