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Microsoft's new Office icons are part of a larger design overhaul



Microsoft is redesigning its Office icons as part of a broader focus on the design of its various Office apps. This is the first time that the Office icons have changed for five years. They are simpler and more modern and are aimed at multiple devices and platforms. Office is now available on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android, and Microsoft has built a single-core codebase to improve apps monthly. These icons show how Office has recently changed with new AI features, more collaboration features, and platform independence for key apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

The new icons emphasize the letter of each office app, but still be familiar. "Our design solution was to decouple the letter and symbol from the symbols and create essentially two areas (one for the letter and one for the symbol) that we can couple or separate," explains Jon Friedman, design partner Microsoft. "This allows us to maintain familiarity while emphasizing the simplicity of the app."


Microsoft has exchanged the document outlines in the previous icons for text lines for Word and single cells for Excel. Surprisingly, the icons still look instantly recognizable, which is important to the millions of users who start these apps every day. Elsewhere, the OneDrive and Skype icons keep their unique look in a modern way. OneDrive is still a cloud, while Skype has turned most bubbles into a call button with a simple S logo.

Icons are only part of the design, and Microsoft makes minor changes to Office elsewhere. The software giant simplifies its ribbon interface and brings its Fluent design system from Windows 10 to Office apps. The subtle colors change to modernize the appearance of Office. This applies to Windows, Mac, Mobile and the Web. One of Microsoft's most popular mobile apps, Outlook Mobile, will also soon be extensively redesigned with shared mailbox support and new account and folder gestures.


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