Microsoft’s waffle about the Office ‘new look’

The Coming Soon pane in Office 365 is supposed to help people use upcoming features. For the interface changes, the pane is just marketing waffle and misdirection straight from an advertising copywriters desk.

Click on the Coming Soon megaphone shows this pane with the option to “Try the new experience”

There’s nothing in the text to explain the changes such as moving the Quick Access Toolbar and the new theme option.

Let’s break down the bullet points to see what Microsoft really means … if anything.

“Office has a fresh look. It’s modern and new, designed to help you focus on your best work. “

It’s hard to see anything in the Office interface changes that would help paying customers ‘focus’ on ‘best work’.

“ Simple, intuitive, and seamless experience across all your Office apps “

They say that about every interface change in Windows and Office … doesn’t really mean anything.  Microsoft would hardly boast about changes that are “Complex, not obvious and inconsistent”

“ Customizable ribbon that you can change and create shortcuts to everyday commands you use the most “

There are no real changes to ribbon customization (haven’t been for years), just existing options presented in a slightly different way. ‘Shortcuts’ presumably means the Quick Access Toolbar which also retains the ability to add commands (with no improvement in long-standing annoyances).

“ Office themes that stay in sync with your Windows light or dark mode setting by default “

This means the ‘Use System Setting’ option.  There are no new Office themes.

“ Share your work and collaborate with others in real time by selecting Share and sending your draft to whomever you want.”

The ‘new look’ Office has no changes to document sharing beyond things already announced and released. There’s no reason for this paragraph except perhaps Microsoft’s zeal to push collaboration whenever they can.

Of course, there’s the video but like most Microsoft videos it’s a sales-pitch and short on detail. Anyone trying to understand and use the new features would be hard pressed to know how from the 54 second movie.

The proportion of high hype to low substance is a sign of how little there really is in the coming Office 365 interface changes.

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