Software vendors are always trying to improve their products, from both functional and performance perspectives. Microsoft® recently announced changes that will soon be available in Office 365™ apps, and eventually to those who upgrade their perpetual licenses.
The collection of icons at the top of the window, known as the ribbon, is being streamlined and modified to a single row of icons which are said to have a more modern appearance and will appear sharper on varying screen sizes. The slimmer ribbon won’t accommodate as many icons as we see today, but users will be able to customize it by specifying which icons they use most. Those who prefer the traditional 3-line ribbon will have the option to keep it.
There is also new search functionality. With Zero Query Search, users can place their cursor in a search box and receive AI powered recommendations, based upon machine learning, user work patterns, and AI. The latest version of Office is also said to have been rebuilt on a new, faster platform, making applications open much faster than before.
These changes will gradually be made available to O365 subscribers during the coming months, beginning with the web version of Word. Some consumers are now receiving it on Office.com. It may take a bit longer for customers using Word, Excel™, and PowerPoint™ for Windows™ to see the changes. Microsoft wants to receive feedback from the initial customers before introducing the changes to those users. It’s unclear whether the changes will appear when Office 2019 is released later this year, but since the option to revert to the three-line ribbon will remain, it seems likely.