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Visual refresh of Office apps for Windows

Feature deep dive
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Hi, Office Insiders! I’m Kori Loomis, a Program Manager on the Office Experience team. I am delighted to share with you the visual refresh of the Office desktop apps for Windows 10 and Windows 11. This visual update delivers a simple and more coherent experience across the Office apps you depend on, so that you can focus on your work more easily.             

Visual refresh

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.

Zoomed view of new theme in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
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.

screenshot showing Coming Soon feature

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 four apps mentioned above (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote), it will also be available in these four 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 four apps mentioned above (Word, 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.

    Visual refresh in Excel and PowerPoint

    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.

    Visual refresh in Outlook

    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.

    Visual refresh in Word

    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.

    Visual refresh of Dark mode in Word

    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

Known issues

  • The team’s focus has been on primary app surfaces like the ribbon and document canvas. As a result, there will still be some color and style inconsistencies across different UI surfaces. The backstage (i.e. File menu) is not yet updated.
  • There is currently a bug with animations in our apps on Windows 11, which can make transitions look less polished.
  • The Mica background effect has not yet been added to our apps. It will be coming in a future update.
  • The preview gallery for Data types and Shapes have a color bug in dark grey theme. Please expand the gallery to view contents while we resolve this issue.
  • There is a bug where the document title appears misaligned within the title bar.


If I have a customized Quick Access Toolbar (QAT), will it be hidden by default after I installed the upcoming update?

No, it will remain intact and will be visible by default. Only QATs that contain default commands such as Undo and Save, will be hidden by default. Note that you can choose to hide or change the position of the QAT using its context menu or the ribbon display options menu. You can also choose to show or hide its command labels.

Do I have to use the same theme for both Windows and Office?

No. You can set one theme in Office and another in Windows, or have Office match the OS theme. Your call. 😊 To set your theme, select File > Office Account,  click the Office Theme  arrow, and then select the theme you want or select Use system setting to have your Office and Windows themes match.


(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.

(7/6) UPDATE: The visual refresh is rolling out in stages and is currently available to Beta Channel users running Version 2108 Build 14301.20004 or later on Windows 11 or Windows 10.

(7/2) UPDATE: We apologize for the delay in making this much anticipated visual refresh available to you. We expect to release a new build, with this update, next week.

 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.


We’d love your feedback, so please let us know what you think. To get in touch, do one of the following and add #OfficeRefresh to your comment:

  • Inside the app, click Help > Feedback, and then tap I like something, I don’t like something, or I have an idea.
  • Respond to this post by clicking the Was this information useful? button at the bottom of the post.
  • Tweet at @OfficeInsider.


Learn what other information you should include in your feedback to ensure it’s actionable and reaches the right people. We’re excited to hear from you!

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