During the commotion of Cortana moving to Xbox and Android device as well as a new Windows 10 Mobile Insider preview, news has snuck out about some refinement changes coming to Microsoft’s Universal Office Apps. The Universal Office Apps (not to be confused with the Office 2016 preview apps) are likely the future of Windows Office productivity. The apps are meant to span across multiple platforms and devices while retaining every bit of their productivity usefulness.
The Universal Office Apps in their current state are somewhat scaled down versions of the full Office 365 suite of programs. Some of the power features that appear in the Office 365 version of the office suite are still missing from these apps. Office users looking for Macros in Excel, or a dictionary or thesaurus in Word, should probably stick with the Office 365 apps or the Office 2016 preview versions. For light to medium office use that spans smartphones, tablets, and desktops, the new Universal apps are more than adequate. During the melee that is E3 announcements and Windows Mobile 10 Insider build updates, the Universal Apps have received some smaller updates as well. User should note that:
- Icons within the suite have changed – The new icons are more in line with Windows 10 minimalist flat outline figures.
- Icons are colored – some of the icons have now gotten some colorful visual highlights.
- Top Bar has been removed – the top bar that used to appear in the previous Universal Apps has been removed to show a more streamlined appearance for the apps.
- Usernames appear – at the top right of each app appears the users name if signed into a Microsoft account. Clicking on the name brings up quick account options from within the app.
As for the functionality of these apps, perhaps Microsoft is taking a strip-down-and-replace-later approach. Over time, the Office team may add back some more in-demand features while adhering to the trim and quick functionality necessary for use on devices like tablets and phones as well as the desktop.
Thanks to Marcelo for the tip!