Microsoft today took the wrapper off Office 2019 for Mac Preview, bringing the updated productivity suite to commercial customers. As that suggests, Office 2019 for Mac is only available for testing for members of the Office Insider Program.
For commercial Windows users, Office 2019 Preview arrived back in April, while personal users will get a release later this year. Now it’s the turn of Apple Mac users for the commercial preview. Like all other Office 2019 versions, it is for users who do not pay to subscribe to the cloud-based Office 365.
In a blog post today, Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President of Office for Microsoft described some changes coming to the suite:
“Updates include the roaming pencil case and ribbon customizations across Office apps; focus mode in Word; Morph transitions, in-click sequence, and 4k video export in PowerPoint; new charts and functions in Excel; and focused inbox in Outlook.”
Among the changes coming to Office through the 2019 release are deeper tools for IT pros to manage across a network. For example, new features for controlling updates and spreading security mitigations will be added.
Office Design Overhaul
It has been a busy week for Microsoft in terms of Office announcements. The company announced a UX change for Office 365 and Office.com rolling out in coming months. Through the updated design, the following changes have been added:
Simplified ribbon—The ribbon will be simplified in the upcoming overhaul in an effort to allow users to collaborate more efficiently. It can be expanded to the classic view we are used to, but Microsoft wants the newer design to be the design of choice. This new ribbon is already rolling out to Word on Office.com and will come to Outlook in preview this July.
New colors and icons—App icons and colors will be changed with support for scalable graphics. Microsoft says the icons will “render with crisp, clean lines on screens of any size. These changes are designed to both modernize the user experience and make it more inclusive and accessible.” The new colors and icons will come to Office Insiders later this month.
Search— Microsoft is also updating the search dynamics in Office 365 and Office.com. The apps will now surface information on content, people, and commands. With the new “zero query search”, users can just put the cursor in the search box and it will automatically show recommendations. This is achieved by the apps leveraging AI through Microsoft Graph.