Microsoft Unveils New Office 365 App Launcher UI

Posted on September 28, 2016 by Paul Thurrott in Office 365 with 9 Comments

Microsoft Unveils New Office 365 App Launcher UI

I don’t know what’s in the water in Redmond, but Microsoft’s Office 365 group has been pumping out updates like there’s no tomorrow all year. And the latest change is one that will impact how many users interact with the service.

“As we continue to expand the great set of online productivity tools available to Office 365 users, we are committed to improving the experience that ties these services together,” the Office 365 team explains in a new post to the Office Blogs. “Today, we’re announcing a new version of the Office 365 App Launcher, which will provide improved discoverability to new and recently used apps, additional customization options and search across all the services and applications you use in the Microsoft Cloud.”

The Office 365 App Launcher (for commercial subscribers) is the UI that appears when you click the Menu button in the upper-left of the Office 365 web interface. Today, it looks much like the similar pop-up you see in and OneDrive for consumers, it’s a grid of app tiles.


The new Office 365 App Launcher will debut later this month for businesses that have opted into the First Release program. Everyone else will get it in October. And it offers a number of changes and enhancements over the previous version.

First and most obviously, the new App Launcher has a more vertical look, where the previous version was square and the consumer version today is horizontal.


But the new App Launcher isn’t just oriented differently. It’s now customizable, much like the Windows 10 Start menu, so you can rearrange tiles on the default Home view, and customize it as needed.

The new App Launcher also provides a tabbed interface with two other views, New and All. New naturally highlights newly-added Office 365 apps, a must in this age of rapid release. And All works like All Apps in the Windows Start menu: Here, you can see all of your available Office 365 apps.

Microsoft notes, too, that the new App Launcher will fully support whatever theme you’ve applied to Office 365, further customizing the experience.


Finally, as part of this change, you can now pin up to three apps to the right side of the Office 365 navigation bar. So that works much like the taskbar, I suppose.

There’s more coming, too: A future update will let you access recent Word


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Comments (9)

9 responses to “Microsoft Unveils New Office 365 App Launcher UI”

  1. 661

    when I read opening paragraph 

    "one that will impact how many users interact with the service"

    I wondered if you meant

    one that will impact "how many" users interact with the service


    one that will impact how "many users" interact with the service

    the 1st meaning it would increase or decrease the user base and the 2nd meaning usability. I see you meant the latter


    English as a 1st language and still confused at times

  2. 661

    the Windows 10 mobile lives on.

    my Windows 10 start menu looks like my phone

    not my Office 365 menu will look like my phone


    I only see 10 apps listed in my Office 365 menu - how many can there be?


  3. 5539

    Now all we need is transparent tiles and the abiliuty to select a 'start screen photo' and all us Windows Mobile users (yes both of us) will be satisfied. 

    I wonder if the plan is to move all of Office into the cloud and create an OS that is basically the browser. EdgeOS if you will. ;)

  4. 442

    I assume this will be on all/most platforms?

  5. 5234

    So this is the line in the sand where Microsoft shows how it's going to drop Windows and fall back to Office as their new platform - on the web.


    I'm actually liking THIS Microsoft.


    Windows 10 has been a disaster so far.  I'm seeing so many reliability problems with Windows 10 AU.  Lots of slowdowns, apps that don't launch, missing data after user migration during an upgrade.  I'm actually seeing new common things happening on customers machines that I'm going to officially make a new acronym.  May I introduce the new....SDOP error (pronounced "stop"):  Spinning Dots of Purgatory.  This has happened on about 10 different machines so far after upgrading to AU and then just restarting normally.  The dots just keep going on forever without Windows loading.


    And then there's Sage Software saying to stay away from AU because it's breaking Sage 50 software altogether.  This is CRITICAL SMALL BUSINESS SOFTWARE for many companies.


    ....but you can't stop AU from installing because of Microsoft's new update policy.


    Microsoft needs to switch to the web.  Windows is dead.  It has no future.  I used to like Windows.  Now it's just depressing trying to get it to work.  Windows Vista was more stable.  At least you didn't have to look forward to a patch coming out every 6 months that breaks boatloads of computers, especially when your customers are looking to you to have reliable systems that run their software.  Microsoft can't do "fast and furious" OS updates properly, so they should just stop trying.  They should put more effort into getting better Office software functionality in their Office Online web versions for Office 365.  At least then I could sell customers a stable computer platform (Chrome OS) and they can use the web for the last bit of Microsoft stuff that they need access to.

  6. 5587

    Why would someone use a browser when you already own Office 2016?


  7. 1377

    Isn't this pretty much the same app launcher OneDrive has had for at least the past year?

  8. 6009

    Hmm... Looks good...

    Though this would be helpful, I would really appreciate if they can improve their reporting and security aspects. People are using 3rd party tools to manage reporting and security aspects in O365.

    What tools do you guys use with O365? and why?

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