When Microsoft began releasing its Windows operating systems, one version after the other over the years, it has managed to pack as many applications both useful and fun that work splendidly with its OS platform. Among these apps is the Microsoft Office suite, their own take on already-existing suite programs for word processing, spreadsheet and databases. But Microsoft’s bundle would steadily eclipse them all as the millennium turned, and even in Windows 10 the Office suite is still an integral component, long updated and fleshed out in functions with every new edition. The latest changes are being teased by Microsoft.
The Verge has it that Microsoft has started previewing the new look for Microsoft Office 365 and its component apps, primarily in terms of a classy new user interface (UI) to greet Windows 10 users aiming to write documents or compute spreadsheets. These are the results of design team efforts that started no less than two years ago. The upcoming fruits of the redesign were laid out by Jon Friedman, the Research and Design Executive VP for Microsoft, with the keyword for the changes being “focus.” The fact that the Office 365 apps will be sporting new icons for a start is a great indicator.
While features such as dark mode are expected, one that really draws the eye is the overhaul of the Office app window ribbon, the toolbar with buttons for various processing functions depending on the app being used. The ribbon can now be moved around the app window, keeping itself compact and reacting to “contextual commands” so that only command buttons relevant to the user’s current activity will show as needed. A prototype of this ribbon was first seen on Microsoft Office 2007, but this is the furthest the concept has ever been taken so far.
Some of the “Focus” upgrades to Microsoft Office 365 include greater visual oomph, such as with Excel utilizing multi-colored graphs and pie charts. This app can even alert the user if their spreadsheet formula has errors. The suite even includes greater interoperability to enable Microsoft’s smart assistant Cortana to help out in managing Office documents particularly if they are related in a single unified project. Finally, the UI and other additions to Office 365 will be uniform across all versions from desktop to mobile. There has been no sure date yet on when the changes will be implemented, though it appears to be done as a gradual evolution of Office 365 suites on all Windows 10 installations in the future.
Image courtesy of PC World