Microsoft Consolidates, Office 365 App Launcher

Posted on February 8, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Office 365 with 6 Comments

Microsoft announced this week that and the Office 365 App Launcher will now provide the same user experience, a nice consolidation of what was previously two very similar but different interfaces.

“ is designed to be your work hub experience and help you quickly get to the apps, tools, documents, and content you use on a daily basis,” Microsoft’s Scott Schnoll writes in the announcement. “We’ve also brought intelligence into the experience that customizes the experience based on your activities.”

Schnoll is, I believe, referring solely to the commercial versions of Office 365, though those with Office 365 Home and Personal will also see similar interfaces, albeit with slightly different capabilities and apps.

As noted, serves as a hub for your Office 365 apps and documents, while the Office 365 App Launcher, which is available from and numerous other Microsoft online services (like OneDrive,, and so on) provides similar functionality without requiring you to leave the experience you’re in. (It looks like the App Launcher on consumer Office 365 only provides access to the apps, but not to documents.)

Left unsaid is that there are other ways to access this functionality, including the Office app in Windows 10 and the Office extension for Chrome and other web browsers. These other interfaces remain separate—meaning they’re still similar but different to and the Office 365 App Launcher. And their use also differs a bit depending on whether you’re using a consumer or commercial version of Office 365. I assume this will all be cleaned up eventually, regardless of which Office 365 you’re using.

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Comments (6)

6 responses to “Microsoft Consolidates, Office 365 App Launcher”

  1. hrlngrv

    As someone whose Office usage by program is roughly 45% Excel, 45% Outlook, 9% Access and 1% everything else, and both Excel and Outlook are up & running through the whole workday, and Access isn't exactly suited to a document-centric UI, I figure I'll never use this at work or at home. Especially as I'm one of those odd people who has disabled all Office-related services from running automatically even when neither Excel nor Outlook is running. When I'm not running Excel or Outlook, odds are overwhelming I want NOTHING Office-related to be wasting any system resources.

  2. Rob_Wade

    I tried this out. While it's nice, it just adds a stop to my process that is just waste. If I want to open a document I either open it directly from OneDrive or from the specific Office app.

  3. darkgrayknight

    This is at least a good start in the right direction: make the user experience consistent across slightly different connections into Office 365/.com. Hopefully this is a move across the board to making Office more and more consistent no matter which app/application/website one uses.

    I'm seeing much more promise regarding drawing user experiences into consistency at Microsoft (hopefully Windows will get everything into a consistent design pattern).

  4. bmcdonald

    Speaking of this - does anyone know how to link directly to my Office 365 Outlook mail instead of having to use this "launcher"

    Every day I go to which then asks me to login and then I get taken right to the "launcher". I open my Outlook from there and kill the launcher - every single day.

    Like my email (in browser) I would love to be able to go directly to my Office 365 Outlook email as well.

    Appreciate an tips from the field.