Microsoft 365 redesign debuts as Windows 11 preview is released

Bobby Hellard

29 Jun, 2021

Microsoft has revealed a new design for Microsoft 365, which it says will be available for both Windows 11 and Windows 10 users and will come with support for 64-bit Arm processors. 

The announcement coincided with the release of the first preview build of Windows 11, the tech giant’s next iteration of its flagship operating system. 

The refresh to Microsoft 365 comes on the tenth anniversary of Office 365’s initial release and was based on customer feedback, according to Microsoft. Users called for a “more natural and consistent experience” between applications – specifically on Windows – which is why the new design has similarities to the recently announced Windows 11 layout.

The update has a “familiar” user interface, but with the Fluent Design principles seen on Windows 11 across all applications including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access, Project, Publisher, and Visio. 

What’s more, the update will be automatically available to any Office Insiders running beta channel builds and can easily be turned off using the “Coming Soon” feature, which is located in the top right corner of the menu. In Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote, users need to click the megaphone icon to open the “Coming Soon” pane, and use the toggle to move between the new and current interface, and apply the setting to all the Office apps.

In addition to the design refresh is a new 64-bit version of Office for Windows on Arm-powered machines, where it’s been recompiled for Arm architecture. The idea is that it will offer a faster experience, boost memory availability, abd provide better support for large documents, all while maintaining compatibility with existing 64-bit add-ins using the new x64 emulation capability provided by Windows.

The Windows 11 preview build (22000.51) is available now to Windows Insiders, and includes access to the new Start menu, multitasking features, and overhauled Microsoft Store. Unlike the leaked version of the build, this official preview also features an updated File Explorer that replaces the ribbon with a command bar.