Gears & Gadgets

Microsoft Office has pretty new icons but they have a fatal flaw

Microsoft has even made a video to introduce the new icons

Microsoft has unveiled a new set of icons that the Office apps will start using. Office 365 customers will see their apps switch to the new icons over the next couple of months, as Microsoft continues to refresh the look and feel of its core productivity suite.

The last time the Microsoft Office apps got new icons was 2013, with the same set of icons also used by Office 2016 and the perpetually licensed Office 2019. Since then, Office has got a great deal more mobile with apps for iOS and Android, it gained a bigger Web presence, it added a bunch of collaboration features, and it has seen many of its users switch from the perpetual licenses to the continuously updated Office 365.

Top row, from left to right: Outlook, OneDrive, Word, Excel, PowerPoint. Bottom row, from left to right: OneNote, SharePoint, Teams, Yammer, Skype.
Enlarge / Top row, from left to right: Outlook, OneDrive, Word, Excel, PowerPoint. Bottom row, from left to right: OneNote, SharePoint, Teams, Yammer, Skype.

The new icons are meant to somehow reflect these changes. The letters adorning each icon have been reduced in size, with the remainder of the space used to show a highly stylized representation of the application. The colors are a bit brighter, too. Oddly, there are already some inconsistencies in the designs; OneDrive doesn’t have a letter at all (it’s just a cloud), and Skype uses the old proportions, with a letter that’s much bigger than any of the others.

Access, Visio, Publisher, and Project aren’t featured among the new icons, because although Microsoft continues to distribute them, the applications are all functionally abandonware, with no new feature work being performed.

Overall I think they look nice enough, but alas, they fail to remedy the big mistake made back in 2013. The Outlook icon remains stubbornly blue, when all long-time Outlook users know it should be orange-gold. I’m forever losing Outlook among a sea of blue icons—Word, Edge, OneDrive, Teams, Yammer, and Skype—and yearn for a return to the golden glory days. Sadly, Microsoft has ignored my plea.

Strangely enough this song from the 1980s was written about the color of the Outlook icon.

Listing image by Microsoft

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Tech – Ars Technica

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