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Insiders can now try the refreshed Office apps on Windows 11 and Windows 10

Office 2021 Windows11
Office 2021 Windows11 (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Office Insiders can now try out the refreshed Office apps on Windows 11 or Windows 10.
  • The refreshed apps are rolling out in stages, and are available for Beta Channel Insiders running Version 2108 Build 14301.20004 or later.
  • In their current form, the refreshed apps don't show a dramatic redesign.

Microsoft's refreshed Office apps are now available for testing. The apps will be redesigned to have a modern esthetic that matches Windows 11 over time, though the current changes to the apps are minor. Microsoft initially planned to release the first versions of the redesigned apps to testers last week, but the apps were briefly delayed. Now, Office Insiders on the Beta Channel can try out the refreshed apps.

The visual refresh is rolling out in stages, according to Microsoft (opens in new tab). It's currently available for Beta Channel Insiders running Version 2108 Build 14301.20004 or later. Once you've updated your Office apps, you can enable the new look with the megaphone button at the top of the app.

While the new Office apps are built to "shine on the new Windows 11 OS," according to Microsoft, they'll be available on both Windows 11 and Windows 10. Insiders on both operating systems can try out the refreshed apps.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

At least for now, the refreshed Office apps don't appear to feature major redesigns. They still have the familiar ribbon interface. The Verge highlights that Microsoft is working to replace the ribbon interface with a toolbar that can be docked or undocked.

A full refresh of the Office apps could take a year or two, according to Microsoft. Since we're in the earliest stages of the development of the redesigned apps, changes are relatively minor.

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

19 Comments
  • Since you can see it in that Office picture, are they ever going to center that 1 in the bubble outline notification?
  • How do you mean?
  • I don't think Office needs an overhaul. It's settled down into a nice groove that's pretty intuitive, customizable, and most importantly, powerful. (I honestly don't get why anyone would use anything other than PowerPoint for presentations.) These small visual updates are welcome though.
  • Its to overloaded with options. We have the ribbon because it's simpler than menu but it's still to complicated.
  • Oh no, there are so many good features in there I would not like to see cut. I mean what would you have them remove to make the ribbon cleaner?
  • Definitely, i still prefer 2007 or older menu rather than 2010+ ribbon menu
  • I agree with you about the PowerPoint. But I simply hate everything about Word. It is the most unintuitive software ever made. Out of all the office suite apps I support for customers Word is creating by far the most amount of tickets.
  • What even was changed? I can't see a difference between this and the current look.
  • Not a lot. Just Fluent Design: https://insider.office.com/en-us/blog/visual-refresh-of-office-apps-for-...
  • Isn't that the current UI and not the refresh Word?
  • Sure looks like it. I have this preview and it looks the same as the last version.
  • The ribbon has rounded corners
  • Updated, no megaphone here. Build 14301
  • Didn't have it either. After restarting it was there.
  • No more i become microsoft's "free beta tester". I installed office using ODT and lock it to semi annual channel.
    For windows, i defer feature updates for a year in gpedit which won't block security updates
  • Also updated to the correct version and no megaphone.
  • Is this only for Office 365 subscription or can be applied to other product like Office 2019?🧐
  • Appearance is fine.
  • I used Word from the DOS days, but started losing faith around 2010. I'm a professional writer so it matters to me, but now I'll only fire it up to check compatibility with clients. Pretty much everything Microsoft has done has made its UI worse. I'm not talking about the ribbon. I'm fine with that. But the way things like styles are managed are just ridiculous. Worst of all, colour customisation is important. If you're using an app all day the way it looks on your screen is critical. The move to limited colour themes in Office was just awful - the only faintly usable one was the Dark Grey option introduced perhaps in 2013. But now if you install the Win11 version of Office even that has been ruined, turning previously grey areas to black. Why? You've already got a black theme (unusable of course). I really hope that things will get better before the official release but if not it's just another nail in the coffin.
    Praise where it's due - the new left hand shortcut bar in Outlook is an improvement.