In twin announcements to coincide with the first-ever Windows 11 insider preview build release, Microsoft has released Office desktop visual refresh and has also launched 64-Bit Office on ARM devices. The new Office Desktop app with visual refresh is available for both Windows 11 and Windows 10.
Here is how the Office Desktop app for Windows 11 and Windows 10 has changed. This visual refresh is available to Beta Channel users running build Version 2107 Build 14228.20000 or later on Windows 11 or Windows 10.
As announced last week, the newly released Windows 11 OS will be available this week to Dev Channel users in the Windows Insiders program, and offer a new, fresh user experience. In alignment with this release, we are also releasing an Office visual refresh that will shine on the new Windows 11 OS, but will also be available to anyone using Windows 10.
Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on Windows 11
This Office visual refresh is based on feedback from customers who asked for a more natural and consistent experience within and between your applications, specifically on 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.
How it works
This visual refresh will be automatically available to any Office Insiders running Beta Channel builds. It can easily be turned off using the Coming Soon feature, located in the top right corner of the menu. In Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote, simply click the megaphone icon to open the Coming Soon pane, read more about the visual refresh changes, and use the toggle to move between the new and current interface, and apply the setting to all the Office apps.
Coming Soon feature
Also note that:
- The Coming Soon feature is not available in Access, Project, Publisher, or Visio. If you turn on the visual refresh in any of the 4 apps mentioned above (Work Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote), it will also be available in these 4 apps.
- Though the Coming Soon feature is available in Outlook, it can’t be used to turn the visual refresh on and off. If you turn on the visual refresh in any of the 4 apps mentioned above (Work Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote), it will also be available in Outlook.
Scenarios to try
Create your pitch deck in PowerPoint while referencing Word and Excel for the information you need. Notice the default neutral color palette, customizable ribbon, and soft corners, across these three apps.
Working on Excel and PowerPoint on Windows 11
Share your presentation using Outlook and notice the cohesive interface which helps you stay in the flow.
Sharing a deck in Outlook on Windows 11
Review a blog draft you had written in Word with your teammates. Notice the colorful presence indicators in the top right corner of the menu bar, which help you quickly find where your teammates are co-authoring in real time.
Collaborating in Word on Windows 11
Tips & Tricks
Office theme: Office now matches your Windows theme so you can experience the visual refresh in whichever Office theme you prefer, including black (Dark Mode), white, colorful, or dark grey.
Word and Windows 11 in Dark Mode
- Quick Access toolbar: It is now hidden by default to make your interface simpler. To display it again, simply right-click the ribbon or click the Ribbon Display Options icon, and then click Show Quick Access Toolbar.
Coming to the 64-bit version of Office on ARM devices, here is all that you need to know including requirements, how it works, known issues and availability.
This new version of Office is designed specifically for the next version of Windows on ARM. It has been recompiled for the ARM architecture to run fast, bring greater memory availability, offer better support large documents, and maintain compatibility with existing 64-bit add-ins using the new x64 emulation capability provided by Windows.
To try out the 64-bit version of Office for Windows on ARM, you need to:
- Be using a Windows device running on an ARM processor.
- To check, in the Windows search box, type Settings, and then click System > About. In the Device Specifications section, check the System type and note whether the entry includes the words “ARM-based processor.”
- Be running a Windows 11 Insider Preview build.
- Learn more about how to get and install Windows 11 Insider Preview builds.
- Uninstall any 32-bit versions of Office, if currently installed.
- Install Office using a most recent copy of the installer from office.com.
- Join the Office Insider program and update to the current Beta channel build. For more information about installation and deployment options, check out these resources:
- How to join the Office Insider program.
- If you are an IT Admin, learn how to deploy Office Insider builds in your organization.
How it works
When installing a 64-bit version of Office on ARM hardware that is running the latest Windows Insiders build, the Office installer will automatically install ARM-optimized versions of Office applications. From installation through usage, Office on ARM will feel and perform just like Office on Intel-compatible processors.
One way to confirm that you’re running an ARM-optimized version of Office is to open Task Manager and observe the architecture of the Office apps.
The applications currently enabled as ARM64 include Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word. Other applications will run in x64 emulation mode.
You may notice that the Architecture setting for Office is “ARM64 (x64 compatible).” Office on ARM64 is built as an ARM64EC (Emulation Compatible) application, which allows for the ARM64 code of Office to interoperate with x64 code of legacy add-ins. Learn more about ARM64EC .
- Teams integration with Outlook is not yet complete.
- Users won’t be able to organize Teams meeting from within Outlook because the Teams Meeting button is missing from the ribbon.
- Workaround: Use the Teams app to setup your Teams meetings.
- Some Search features do not yet work properly.
- In Outlook, certain types of searches, such as messages from the same conversation, will not return results.
- In OneNote, search speed is slow since it can’t use the index.
- When using Windows to search for Office files, no results will be returned.
- In Visio, shape search returns no results.
Scenarios to try
Here are some tasks to try to test a few 64-Bit Office for Windows on ARM new and improved capabilities. Also, check out the noticeably improved performance as you complete those tasks.
- Run 64-Bit add-ins (which up until now couldn’t run on ARM devices)
- Run calculations in large workbooks
- Present media-rich slideshows
- Co-author large documents
This functionality is available to Office Insiders running Beta Channel Version 2106 (Build 14217.20002). We will continue to make improvements while the next version of Windows remains in Insiders, so be sure to stay on the Office Beta Channel for continuous updates.
Features are released over some time to ensure things are working smoothly. We highlight features that you may not have because they’re slowly releasing to larger numbers of Insiders. Sometimes we remove elements to further improve them based on your feedback. Though this is rare, we also reserve the option to pull a feature entirely out of the product, even if you, as an Insider, have had the opportunity to try it.