Microsoft is Making Office 365 Better, Here's What to Expect

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Microsoft revealed last week that major updates are headed to Microsoft Office. These changes are for Office 365 and users and are expected to start rolling out beginning this month and will continue throughout the year. People can expect to see changes like a simplified command ribbon, new colors and icons, and enhanced search function coming to Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.

Microsoft said in a blog post that their customers have revealed that they continue to use Office for important work because of the power that the software's apps offer. But users also said they want the software “to adapt to the changing environment” and for the company to “simplify the user experience and make that power more accessible.”

What Updates are Coming to Microsoft 365

The company is bringing its vaunted Fluent Design system to its Office apps. One feature coming to Microsoft Excel, Powerpoint, Word, and Outlook is a new ribbon design. The simplified ribbon is smaller, easier to use, has new animations, more accessible icons and a more modern look and color. A dedicated color and avatar for participants using the same document will also be included.

Users will also start seeing new icons and colors across all apps. Since these icons and colors are designed as scalable graphics, they will appear crisp and clean regardless of the size of the screen.

Users will also be getting an improved search experience that can anticipate contacts, find upcoming meetings, or revisit previous searches. They will also be introduced to “zero query search,” a feature wherein users can see recommendations powered by the Microsoft Graph and AI by simply placing their cursors over the search box.

Microsoft Also Launching Office 2019

Microsoft is also planning to offer the newest version of its standalone business software, the Office 2019, by the latter part of the year. But businesses can sign-up in advance and preview what new features the software will offer.

Office 2019 is geared for companies that are not ready to run everything from the cloud and prefer to keep some apps on their on-premise servers. Businesses will have to pay a one-time fee to use and enjoy the new and updated Microsoft Office. They will also gain access to any future updates and features as they are released.

Some things that Office 2019 will reportedly have are enhanced inking capabilities, including a roaming pencil case feature. Outlook users will have updated contact cards, @ mentions support and focused inbox features. Meanwhile, Word will have integrated sounds, text-to-speech features, and a new black theme while Excel will have improved 2D maps, Power Query, and Power Pivot.

Businesses without Office 365 subscription plans that are interested in seeing a preview of Microsoft 2019 beta should sign up at the company's Collaborate portal.

[Featured image via Office 365]
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