Microsoft is redesigning its Office productivity apps to make them easier to use, as it faces stiffer competition from Google.
Microsoft said Wednesday it's refreshing Office 365 apps, including Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint, in part so that they're more accessible for users with disabilities. The company is vastly reducing the size of the ribbon — the toolbar that for so many years has been loaded up with buttons.
Users who prefer the traditional ribbon can switch back with a single click.
But Microsoft needs to keep up the momentum in Office 365, which remains one of the company's top growth opportunities. As part of the update, icons have been modernized so that their functions are more obvious. When working in a document, users can hover over comments to get them to change color, and on the Office website, they can hover over the name of a file to get it to virtually pop forward.