Microsoft Rolls Out Ribbon Redesign

The toolbar ribbon in Microsoft Office is getting a number of redesign. The most notable change is to the strip at the top of some Microsoft Office apps, which will be narrowed to one-third of its width, defaulting to a narrower band that displays only one row of tools, according to Microsoft.

The company announced June 13 that it would roll out a number of redesigns, including thinning the ribbon, as part of a release of Fluent Design features.

Only Microsoft Word Online will display the re-designed ribbons right away, according to Neowin, while Excel, Powerpoint and Word will retain their standard strips for the near future.

Microsoft said it would not release the narrowed strip for all apps at once in order to work around muscle reflexes developed by frequent users of those apps. However, Insiders can expect to see changes rolled out in the coming months, Microsoft said. Outlook for Windows will receive a new ribbon by next month, and Mac Outlook will receive the redesign by August.

The narrowed strip resembles versions of Office prior to 2007, when the company altered its toolbar to display more options. News editor Justin Pot praised the change on HowToGeek, pointing out that computer screens have gotten wider over time, rendering multiple rows of tools unnecessary.

The changes have already been rolled out on Word Online. Along with a narrowed ribbon, Word Online now also boasts new vector icons, more available colors to design with, and a new intuitive search feature. The search feature has also been rolled out on Office.com, SharePoint Online and Outlook Mobile, according to Neowin.

In addition, Microsoft also added features to improve document-sharing, including icons that can identify individuals looking at the same document at once, similar to Google Drive. This will help those running sophisticated software development projects, especially Prince2 vs Agile projects.

Users who receive the redesigned ribbon will still have the option to add more rows and revert to the classic option if desired, according to The Verge.

“While we’re excited about these changes, we also recognize how important it is to get things right,” said Microsoft corporate vice president Jared Spataro, according to The Verge. Spataro said the company will roll out the changes over several months in order to test customer reactions and learn from them.

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