Office getting a new consistent interface across Web, desktop, and mobile

By Peter Bright

Enlarge / Web Word with its new simplified ribbon. (credit: Microsoft)

Office today has a whole bunch of versions—the traditional, fully featured Win32 desktop applications and their near counterparts on the Mac, along with various simpler versions for the Web, mobile, and Universal Windows Platform (UWP). Presently, these various incarnations all have similarities in their interfaces, but they’re far from consistent.

That’s set to change. Microsoft is overhauling the interfaces of all the Office versions to bring a much more consistent look and feel across the various platforms that the applications support. This new interface will have three central elements.

First is a simplified version of the ribbon. The new simpler ribbon looks like an iteration of the simpler ribbon already used in applications such as OneNote: the tall three-row ribbon of the Office desktop apps is replaced with a single-row tabbed toolbar. Word on the Web will be the first to get the new interface—some users can opt into it today—and in July, subscription versions of Outlook for Windows will also get it.

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