New Office for Windows beta is out with Windows 11-inspired UI

Laurent Giret

Following a short delay, the visual refresh for Office for Windows that Microsoft teased last week is now available for at least some Office Insiders. The new UI can be turned on and off by clicking the megaphone icon in the top right corner of the Office apps, though the Office team said that the new Windows 11-inspired UI will be rolling out in stages.

This new visual refresh for Office will be available on both Windows 10 and Windows 11, but it will really shine on the next version of Windows. “With this update, we deliver an intuitive, coherent, and familiar user interface, using the Fluent Design principles, across all your applications: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Access, Project, Publisher, and Visio. We aligned this visual refresh with the design of Windows 11 to provide seamless experiences on your PC,” the Office team explained.

The biggest changes in this first beta include rounded corners, a default neutral color palette, and a customizable ribbon with a Quick Access toolbar that is now hidden by default. The Office team noted that there are still some color and style inconsistencies across different UI surfaces, but that’s to be expected for a first beta.

To check out the new Windows 11-inspired UI, you’ll need to download the Office for Windows beta build 14301.20004 and check if you see the megaphone icon in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. Again, the visual refresh will roll out gradually to Office Insiders, so don’t worry if you can’t enable it right after installing the new beta.