Microsoft Office 365 | July 2018 Updates

Ross MacKenzie

Technology is evolving at an incredible rate, we are constantly finding more ways to be more productive, efficient and collaborative as a team. Users continue to use Office 365 as their go-to business software because of the power and possibilities that it holds. There is no end to its features with Microsoft constantly updating the productivity suite and adding to the unique capabilities that it has to offer.

With over 135 million Microsoft Office 365 users, it is important that future updates are implemented in the correct way. To ensure this, Microsoft always consider the principles of "The Three Cs":

 Customers - A customer-driven process of innovation was used to redesign the Office apps. It involved customer research and analysis, thinking and co-creation, and validation and refinement

 Context - Although customers love the power of Office, they don't need every feature at once. The new designs will understand the context of your work, so you can focus on getting the job done with the most relevant commands and collaborating with others seamlessly.

 Control - Every user has their own preferred way to work, so the user interface can be customised.

This month has seen a huge variety of updates – all of which aim to simplify the user experience even further and make its tools even more accessible. They have recently announced updates for Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote and Outlook; catering towards the new way of working and the modern workplace.

These new updates, exclusive to and Office 365, won't all happen at once. They will roll out over the next few months, allowing Microsoft to test and learn in order to optimise everything for the final release of updates. The first set of updates will be as follows:

Simplified Ribbon


The toolbar ribbon has been updated to ensure that users are able to collaborate and focus more easily. Taking up less screen space, you’ll be able to see the new ribbon on Microsoft Word before seeing it across Windows in due time. As people are already very familiar and aware of the tools within their favourite applications such as Word, Excel and PowerPoint, Microsoft are planning to make as little changes to those as possible – depending only on the initial feedback of and Office 365 users.

New colours and icons

Soon, users will see brand new icons and colours across Microsoft Office applications. These new graphics will be scalable so that they look clean and precise on all screen sizes; modernising the user experience and enhancing accessibility. You’ll be able to see these changes first on the web versions of certain applications before they later arrive on Windows.


As people within the workplace want to be able to find information more quickly and more easily, the element of ‘search’ is soon becoming a core aspect of day-to-day working. Microsoft are introducing a “zero query search” which will enable AI-powered recommendations so that you’re able to find what you need as soon as you place the cursor in the search box.


The new designs were developed by working closely with Microsoft customers, collecting vast amounts of data on how people use the apps and building on prototypes. Feedback will be closely monitored as the changes roll out, and gradually the new designs will be optimise

Technology is changing the way we work, and research into these changes is what's driving the push for balancing power and simplicity. The true power of the Office experience is set to become more accessible to everyone.

Related Articles

Supporting the IT industry with a mentoring programme

I’m excited to announce that I’ve become a mentor for The Channel Community.

Read More

Microsoft Teams now has 145 million users

With remote working responsible for much of the recent growth, Teams comes into its own, no matter where users are based.

Read More

Running workloads in the cloud, you’re protected. Are you sure?

Cloud won’t protect from a badly architected solution! In this article I'm focusing on Disaster Recovery.

Read More

Cobweb MD highlights the power of cloud in Cloud Industry Forum webinar

How can UK businesses benefit from a cloud-first approach? Discover what our MD, Michael, has to say...

Read More