Published: Thu, June 14, 2018
Electronics | By Shannon Stone

Microsoft Office 2019 Commercial Preview Now Available for Mac Users

Microsoft Office 2019 Commercial Preview Now Available for Mac Users

Today, Microsoft announced a bunch of design changes to its Office applications, the most major changes that the suite of apps has seen since the Office 2016 apps; possibly before that, depending on your perspective. They'll first make an appearance on the web version of Word, and they'll make their way to Works, Excel and PowerPoint for Windows for Insiders later this month. The new update is aimed at delivering more screen space for the writing pad while users can still access the complete suite of commands by expanding the ribbon to classic three-line view. It will also introduce the Ribbon changes first at Office.com an then to a subset of Office 365 users, "because we feel like we need more feedback from a broader set of users first".

The ribbon redesign is meant to provide a more simplified way for you to get things done.

Microsoft has released the first preview build of Office 2019 for Mac for its commercial customers.

The ribbon bar icons have also been updated to use less color and more detail so that they are not distracting and offer a cleaner look.

The preview comprises Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote, and is the "perpetual update" - Microsoft's term for standalone software - for Apple's macOS operating system.

Powerpoint also gets a new Morph transition feature, 4K video support, play-in-click sequence. Microsoft is rolling out new features in waves so it can collect feedback and improve Office slowly, which is definitely a good idea given the reaction to some of the changes it's previously implemented. The changes are inspired by a "new culture of work" and will bring fluent design, a simplified ribbon, and search enhancements to the Office 365 experience. This so-called "zero query search" functionality will enable users to access contacts, commands and information within Office files with less searching.

In addition to the Fluent Design being added, Microsoft has added a new search experience that uses machine learning and Microsoft AI. This smarter search box is already available in the Web apps, SharePoint Online, and Outlook mobile; in August it will also be coming to Outlook on the Web. Finally, the new colors and icons will hit the Outlook for Mac application in August.

A final and very welcome development, according to Friedman, is that the apps open faster, having been rebuilt on top of a new platform.

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