Outlook for Windows gets simplified single-row ribbon in UI makeover

outlook for windows simplified ribbon microsoft

Outlook for Windows will soon be getting a makeover with a Simplified Ribbon interface that will help with emails and scheduling, and users who are registered testers of the Office Insider program will be among the first to see the user interface, or UI, changes this month with the Coming Soon feature pane. Based on user feedback, Microsoft will incorporate these changes to Monthly Channel customers in the future, but unfortunately, the updated UI won’t be available for Office 2019 for Windows.

“Over the last two years we’ve been talking, concepting, and co-creating with customers and are now ready to introduce an exciting number of updates that simplify the user experience, while keeping with the familiarity of Outlook,” Microsoft said in a blog post detailing the new changes. “These updates are aimed at making it easier for you to get things done and focus on what matters with a customizable experience that keeps you in control.”

At the center of this update is a Simplified Ribbon, which Microsoft describes as both customizable and adaptable. Instead of the three-row ribbon that we see today, the new ribbon occupies just a single row of buttons that can be personalized to fit your needs and workflow, and the interface is based on a similar Fluent Design overhaul that Microsoft announced for other Office products earlier this summer. Users can pin and customize the buttons that show up on the Simplified Ribbon. The new ribbon will also scale to fit different window sizes, and you’ll also be able to switch back to the old UI or expand the buttons if you need to.

For corporate users who rely on Outlook to manage their work email, Microsoft also made changes to both the message list and reading pane to help you get to the important stuff. “For example, names are bolded and flagged messages stand out with a yellow background,” Microsoft said. “And with a little more padding and text treatment to create a clearer visual hierarchy, scanning your inbox is easier, and focusing on important messages is easier than ever.”

Email subjects are now more prominently displayed in the reading pane, and response actions are now context sensitive. If you’re dealing with an email, for example, you’ll see the Reply button, but if Outlook for Windows detects a calendar invitation, it will display the Accept button instead. Group folders will also be more accessible with this update.

If you’re composing a more detailed email response, you can reply in a pop-out window, which comes with a simplified ribbon with tools for formatting your message.

Outlook also gains contextual awareness when scheduling meetings, making it easier and smarter to add required and optional attendees, and to find available meeting rooms. By choosing the meeting time first, Outlook will then search for available conference rooms based on the meeting’s time parameters.

To make these new changes more accessible, Microsoft is also introducing a Coming Soon panel, which details all the changes coming on the horizon and allows users to experience new features prior to a broader release. Depending on your IT policy, Coming Soon may be disabled.

Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?
Social Media

Facebook Messenger adds quoted replies to better organize group chats

Facebook is rolling out a feature that should help make group chats a whole lot more organized. The feature allows you to reply to specific messages within a group chat, so others will be able to tell what you're replying to.

Sending SMS messages from your PC is easier than you might think

Texting is a fact of life, but what to do when you're in the middle of something on your laptop or just don't have your phone handy? Here's how to send a text message from a computer, whether you prefer to use an email client or Windows 10.

The Edge browser is dying. Here's what we know about its replacement

There's a new Microsoft Chromium browser coming, and it looks like it will be replacing Edge for most people. Here's everything you need to know about this new browser, how you can use it, and when it's expected to come out.

If you have $5,200, Apple has 256GB of RAM for your iMac Pro

Professionals looking to run intensive applications will be able to push their work a bit further with Apple's latest iMac Pro, which holds 256GB of DD4 ECC RAM for $5,200. Here's why it costs so much to upgrade your iMac Pro to the top.

Don’t be fooled! Study exposes most popular phishing email subject lines

Phishing emails are on the rise and a new study out by the cybersecurity company Barracuda has exposed some of the most common phishing email subject lines used to exploit businesses. 
Product Review

The Lenovo Legion Y740 brings RTX 2080 graphics power for under $2,500

Coming with the Intel Core i7-8750H processor, Nvidia GeForce RTX 2080 Max-Q graphics, 16GB of RAM, and a 256GB PCIe NVMe SSD, the Legion Y740 one big beast. But priced at under $2,500 how does Lenovo’s Legion stand up against the crowd?

From Air to Pro, here are the best MacBook deals for March 2019

If you’re in the market for a new Apple laptop, let us make your work a little easier: We hunted down the best up-to-date MacBook deals available online right now from various retailers.

Oculus shows off the Rift S, plans to phase out its original VR headset

Oculus plans to phase out its flagship Rift VR headset for its newly created Rift S. The Rift S made its debut this week at the 2019 Game Developers Conference and is expected to be released in spring 2019.

Secure your Excel documents with a password by following these quick steps

Excel documents are used by people and businesses all over the world. Given how often they contain sensitive information, it makes sense to keep them from the wrong eyes. Thankfully, it's easy to secure them with a password.

Get the best of both worlds by sharing your data on MacOS and Windows

Compatibility issues between Microsoft Windows and Apple MacOS may have diminished sharply over the years, but that doesn't mean they've completely disappeared. Here's how to make an external drive work between both operating systems.

Give your MacBook Air some added style with one of these great cases or sleeves

Whether you’re looking for added protection or a stylish flourish, you’re in the right place for the best MacBook Air cases. We have form-hugging cases, luxurious covers, and padded sleeves priced from $10 to $130. Happy shopping!

Intel teases 9th-generation Core i9 mobile processors at GDC 2019

Intel teased its new 9th-generation Intel Core i9 processors at GDC 2019. The company offered few specifics about the hardware, but a leak from late February provides insight into what the new processors might offer.

Intel Command Center lays foundation for next year’s ‘Arctic Sound’ GPU

Intel revealed its new Command Center driver software at GDC 2019. The updated interface will control current Intel integrated graphics and also lays the groundwork for next year's Intel video card.