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VIDEO: Microsoft Office gets a new look

Microsoft (MSFT) has finally decided to bring its “fluent” design language from Windows 10 to its most coveted app suite – Microsoft Office. The new Office will feature a refreshing new look for Word, Excel, Outlook, and PowerPoint, in an attempt to give Google (GOOGL) and Apple (AAPL) more distance to catch up.

The Windows OS-maker has refreshed the apps for easy accessibility to users with disabilities and lowering the size of the toolbar, which had been loaded up for so many years with buttons. The size of the toolbar – or simplified ribbon – can be switched back to the traditional ones with a single click. And, for making the functions more obvious, Microsoft modernized the icons.

The Office apps also get animations from its fluent design system. Similar to the pin of certain apps to the start menu in Windows, the frequently used features can now be pinned inside any of the apps in the Suite. Based on usage, people and files suggestions will automatically be offered in the search box in the Office apps and website.

This is Microsoft’s reply to Google’s Gmail redesign that came out a couple of two months ago. Similar to Google’s G Suite, users who edit and view the same document in the web version of Office will get avatars and dedicated colors for comments and revisions. Microsoft will be bringing out the simplified ribbon to Outlook for Windows users in July after testing on the web version of Word on Office.com from today.

Earlier, the Redmond, Washington-headquartered giant opened a new preview program of its Office 2019 apps for Mac businesses users with all the latest features and updates. Office 2019 for Mac, which will be made available in the second half of the year, will include ribbon customization and a roaming pencil case across all Office apps.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is planning to launch its HoloLens 2 headset, codenamed Sydney, in the second half of 2018, according to The Verge. The HoloLens 2, which will come with an ARM-based processor and better battery life, will include the tech giant’s latest Kinect sensor and a custom artificial intelligence chip for better performance.

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