Visual update of Office apps for Windows

Brass Contributor

Hello Office Insiders,


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. 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.




Learn more>


Note This visual refresh will be available to Beta Channel users running build Version 2107 Build 14228.20000 or later on Windows 11 or Windows 10.




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15 Replies


No sign of it on Microsoft® Excel® for Microsoft 365 MSO (16.0.14301.20004) 64-bit 

So, I have 2108 Build 14301.20004 on Win11 and it does not appear to have the Fluent UI update.
What gives MS?
I am running W11 and have the Beta Channel on Office set, but I can't get past Build 2106. Every time I check for updates it tells me that I'm up to date. I understand that the visual refresh is being pushed out to those who have 2107. Question is, how do I get from 2106 to 2107?


Could you please share "about" info as


I was able to get to 2107 and eventually to 2018 by waiting for the Preview Channel to have the 2107 release, momentarily changing to Preview Channel, and switching back to Beta after I received the 2107 in the Preview Channel. Right now I have the 2108 with the correct build number, but I don't know if I can spot the visual refresh aspects of it. Looks pretty much the same. 


Further to my reply, I found a post where it said about turning on the new experience but mine is greyed out. I searched 'coming soon' got the pane to open but the switch is not functional. 


Further to this comment. I found another thread that fixes a registry entry and I am now running the preview, but the "Try the new experience" toggle is still greyed out.

@admin, please delete -- double post

@admin, please delete -- double post

@admin, please delete -- double post

@admin, please delete -- double post

@admin, please delete -- double post

@admin, please delete -- double post

@Evan Bolin wrote:





Note This visual refresh will be available to Beta Channel users running build Version 2107 Build 14228.20000 or later on Windows 11 or Windows 10.

I am running Office 365 Version 2108 Build 14312.20008 (32-Bit). While I am seeing the Megaphone Icon and the Toggle switch, and while the Toggle switch activates a somewhat different design, this is still not exactly the design that has been announced as:


(7/14) UPDATE: The visual refresh is now available to 100 percent of Beta Channel users running Version 2108 Build 14301.20004 or later on Windows 11 or Windows 10. Thank you for your patience during this staged release.

This is what Outlook Build 14312.20008 looks like with the Toggle switch switched to "ON" -- at least the round corners are missing:

Outlook 365 Beta weißes Design 2021 - Copy.png


But even if the round corners were there, this is – at least in certain areas, see bubble text above – still unergonomic design, and therefore negatively impacting the orientation of the user and the usability of the program.


On top of that, I believe that this design, regrettably, is visually uninspiring to the eye. 

This is particularly remarkable as just a few days ago, Outlook 365 had a design that I would almost refer to as the best Office design ever. With clear distinctions between the different functional and visual areas, and even with a tad of a 'material design' shadow below the Menu/Ribbon bar:

Outlook 365 bestes Design ever 2021-3.png
This is the kind of visual clarity that would inspire me every morning when firing up Outlook or Word and get me into the flow -- not the uniform mush that the current "Visual Refresh" is bringing along.


Particularly note the tremendous difference in clarity and visual distinction in the upper left corner area of the two above examples.


Moreover, nowadays our devices can display not only millions of colors as they have for decades, but meanwhile a billion of them. And Microsoft designers seriously don't manage to use more than one color for their icons – requiring the user to look at every single icon every time in order to figure out which one he's going to click? 

Word einfarbige Icons.png


While this kind of UI design may have been somewhat fashionable ten years ago when Jony Ive was trying to outdo Scott Forstall:

Jony Ive vs. Scott Forstall.jpg has proven to be unergonomic, wasting the time of millions of users every day with the unnecessary search for the right icon or button to press.


This is an example of great user interface design in 2021. Less fashionable, but with maximum usability through visual clarity and use of distinct colors:

PDF-XChange Editor 2021.png


There's also a minimalistic version, maximizing focus – and screen space:


PS: While color is already coming back to the icons in some places, which is to be applauded: who got the idea that buttons should look the same when pressed as when not pressed? This is the case, for example, with the button for "Work Offline" in Outlook, as well as with numerous buttons for text formatting, e.g. "Bold", "Italic", "Underlined" etc. in all Office applications.


It is only possible to recognize the pressed/not pressed state of the respective button once you have left the button with the mouse:

Office Button 2021-07-19_110848.png

Please fix. 


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@Evan Hello, I was wondering if it's known when the Visual Refresh is going to land on Current Channel, like the one in my case. (Build info bellow) 



It has landed in Office 365 some time ago. It is now called "Visual Refresh Preview" and IMO, in Word, it is terrible.

Here is a link to my article on how to turn it on and off (regardless of having the Coming Soon megaphone): New Experience/Visual Refresh Preview - Microsoft Office - Offic e 365 - Turning it On and Off