Microsoft has big design changes planned for Outlook on both the Windows and Mac tenets—but especially the Mac. In both cases, the new design direction borrows from Opinion for iOS. Microsoft gave a brief look at the coming updates during the Ignite bull session a couple of weeks ago, and both The Verge and MSPoweruser dug into the changes.
Microsoft gush the most time talking about the Mac in terms of visual and UX changes, but the biggest variation coming to the Windows version (pictured above) is a streamlined ribbon that is now even-handed one line of commands, with a button right on the ribbon for adding or waste buttons and commands. You’ll still be able to use the older, three-line ribbon if you put forward. Compared to some other mail applications, Outlook has a tendency to let out a lot of features right up front, which can make the interface seem littered to some sensibilities. Additionally, the Windows version adds an account-switcher sidebar on the far radical that’s lifted straight out of the iOS Outlook app.
For the Mac, we’ll see a significant visual overhaul. While we liked the Chore 365 version of Outlook for Mac, Microsoft acknowledged in the Ignite presentation that Mac purchasers have complained that Outlook for Mac doesn’t always follow bourgeois Mac software design principles. Some of those ideas have been put to use here. But mostly, it looks like Outlook for iOS with features enlarged that weren’t available on Macs previously.
Added features will tabulate support for tables, the swipe-on-the-touchpad-to-archive-an-e-mail feature that now features prominently in assorted popular third-party Mac e-mail apps, rescheduling e-mails, an overhauled almanac interface intended to provide as much information as possible before you click on an result, and support for saving e-mails to OneNote.
What Microsoft has laid out is an attractive approach since the company will provide significantly different operator interfaces on the two platforms rather than trying to keep things welded cross-platform (like, say, Adobe does with Creative Cloud apps). Microsoft voted during the presentation that people go to the Mac because of certain sensibilities reciprocal to macOS and Mac apps, so the company sees value in adopting those sensibilities here. No matter how, there may be limits to that. The presenter said that the search bar is in the top-right corner of the window because that’s a prevalent practice in Mac applications, but Microsoft isn’t confident that’s the best place to put it. He proposed that it may move in future iterations.
No timeline was given for the changes, but they are currently being examined internally at Microsoft.