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New look in Microsoft 365 for Mac coming in early 2021

Microsoft 365 for Mac is getting a revamped look for the Home or Start menu in early 2021.  Here’s all the new and old features in the Home pane or as Microsoft calls it “Office Start experience” (no kidding)

The Home panel changes to be more consistent with what’s visible in Microsoft 365 for Windows and, a little in the Office for iPad apps

The top is a list of Microsoft supplied templates.  Probably the most useful and selected is the first ‘Blank Workbook’.

Below that are Recent documents with tabs for Pinned docs and files Shared with you.

Scroll down to the bottom of the Recent list and you might see a ‘More workbooks’ link. Click that to see many more recently opened documents.

Top right is a search box that will find documents or templates:

Use the tabs: Templates, Recent, Shared with me or OneDrive to change the search scope.


It’s not obvious, but the document listings can be sorted by clicking on the headings.

Date – the default is most recent first.

Name – file name

File Type – on the left is a small column, click that to sort by file type.

Extra Controls

Hover over a document listing to see some extra options:

There are icons to Share and Pin a document.

Pin is a toggle to add/remove a document from the Pinned list.

Under the three-dots menu are more choices:

Open – though you can just double-click on the document listing.

Pin / Unpin – add/remove from the pinned list

Share – invite people to collaborate. Copy sharing links (read-only or editing).  Send via Outlook or Send a copy via the shown apps.

Copy Path – copies the entire file path or url to the clipboard including full file name.

Delete – moves file to the macOS Bin or equivalent for online documents.

Remove from Recent – deletes the document from the Recent files list. The document remains saved.

Discard Changes – for unsaved documents to revert to last saved version.

There might also be a ‘Recommended’ panel based on shared documents in your organization.

Source: Microsoft

Office Start experience

Above, we’ve explained some of the features (new and old) in the Microsoft 365 Home pane because we thought that was more useful than Microsoft’s hype.

Microsoft can’t just release a new look for Office, they have to hype it up.  You and I might think this is a new Home pane in Office. According to Microsoft it’s an ‘Office Start experience‘; not only that, it’s an ‘immersive experience’

“ …. an updated Office Start experience for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote for Mac that incorporates the Fluent UI design system. This means that Microsoft 365 apps enable you to be more focused with immersive experiences that are easier to use right from the first screen. Experiences that feel both unmistakably Microsoft 365 and include elements that are native to the look of macOS so they are also unmistakably made for Mac.  “

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