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Visual updates to Start experience in Office for Mac

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Hi, Office Insiders, my name is Priya Mehta and I’m a Program Manager on the Office team. I’m excited to share with you a modern, visual refresh of the Start experience in Office for Mac. These updates are available in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. 

Start experience 

We are performing this update as part of Microsoft’s move towards a modern and coherent cross-platform experience through the Fluent UI design system while also aligning with Apple’s biggest design updates which became available as part of the Big Sur macOS released last November. With a translucent sidebar, app-colored header, and Fluent icons, our aim is to create a focused look and feel consistent with Microsoft 365 design while also aligning with the visual look & feel of Big Sur.  Though this update does not include any changes to the core functionality of the Start screen, we strive to make the start experience clearer, more intuitive, unmistakably Microsoft 365, and macOS optimized. 

Start experience in Office apps


Scenarios to try 

Make sure that you are running Big Sur, open an Office app, and then: 

  • In Word, create a cover letter by using one of the templates available under New. 
  • When in Excel, select any existing worksheet and notice that the accent color is green, matching the color of the Excel app icon. 
  • In PowerPoint, scroll through the list of files under Recommended and quickly open one of your most accessed presentations. 
  • When in OneNote, click the Open button in the sidebar and find one of your notebooks stored on OneDrive. 


For now, this feature is available to Mac users running Big Sur. It will be available to Mac users running Catalina and Mojave in the next few months. 


The updated Start experience is available to Microsoft 365 subscribers who are using the Big Sur macOS and are also Insiders running Current Channel (Preview) Version 16.47 (21030701) or later.   

We typically release features over some time to ensure that things are working smoothly. This is true for Insiders as well. 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 Insiders, have had the opportunity to try them. 


If you have any feedback or suggestions, please submit them here: 

  • In Word/Excel/PowerPoint/OneNote for Mac: open any document.  
  • In the top right, click the 🙂.
  • Click I like something, I don’t like something, or I have a suggestion. 

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! Sign up for the Office Insider newsletter and get the latest information about Insider features in your inbox once a month!