Metro overhaul of Outlook.Next leaks in screenshot [Update: Confirmed]

We don't know too much about the next version of Office, let alone Outlook, but a user over on The Hot Fix has discovered something interesting. A user by the name of "fivestar" posted pictures of what is supposedly Outlook.Next, and it appears the interface has had an entire Metro UI overhaul.

The user is credible, having posted confirmed screenshots of Windows 8 before it leaked and also posting up images of a keygen for Windows 8 from internal Microsoft resources. What is interesting about these screenshots is that the user blurred out everything most likely to protect the identity of the person who leaked the information.

The screenshots appear to be real, and also line up with where Microsoft is headed with Metro UI on Windows Phone, Zune, as well as in Windows 8. We don't expect to see Office.Next for a few years yet, but this screenshot appears to show that the Office team is coming along quickly with the release. While there are some general inconsistencies in the screenshot, this is an early build of the software.

Thanks for the tip Anon

Update: Neowin can confirm that this screenshot is real, with a reliable source that goes by the name of sp3ciali5t on Twitter posting a screenshot that lines up with the design changes, in an older build. 

 

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Windows 7 has no ribbon, Office 2010 has -> Windows 8 gets Ribbon, Office 15 gets Metro -> Is the Windows design behind? They should work closer together to bring the same experience everywhere!

derekaw said,
I am surprised because I like it. It is clean.

@neufuse, Keep in mind a lot of office workers are not older people...

yes, but a lot of them are! you can't say they are all under 40

oh my... our users are going to HATE this... they freaked out moving from Outlook XP to Outlook 2010... I can't imagin the lack of division lines and other visual cues going over well with them.... keep in mind a LOT of office workers are older people...

As basic at it is, I really like Metro. It looks a lot better than anything we saw in Vitsa, Win 7 or anything Office has provided. Clean and simple is the way forward.

I like it. As long as it doesnt end up being an unusable mess like the current hotmail (and by that I mean the inbox being outside the "folders" collapsable thing, and the compose/reply buttons being where they are. Notice how on these screenshots not only do they have icons, they're actually placed on top of the e-mail body. Which is the way it should be, in this scenario)

Julius Caro said,
I like it. As long as it doesnt end up being an unusable mess like the current hotmail (and by that I mean the inbox being outside the "folders" collapsable thing, and the compose/reply buttons being where they are. Notice how on these screenshots not only do they have icons, they're actually placed on top of the e-mail body. Which is the way it should be, in this scenario)

How does the placement of the buttons in Hotmail make it unusable? They don't have to be at the top of the email body. . . . You can still click them. . . .

As long as they don't add annoying background processes, such as Onenote, and better performance than Office 2010 on the same hardware - I might consider switching from Google Docs.

Salty Wagyu said,
MetroUI just reminds me of a bad experience I've had with WLM 2011. Forever tainted tbh.

What experience is that? I've had nothing but delightful experiences with Windows Live Messenger.

.Neo said,
As always Microsoft does a great job making their applications fit in with Windows Aero.

Just as much as Apple do with Aqua(Y)

.Neo said,
As always Microsoft does a great job making their applications fit in with Windows Aero.

It would be silly of them to make this consistent with Aero if they are scrapping Aero. You don't know whether they are scrapping Aero or not, so it doesn't make sense to berate them for this yet.

If Windows 8 doesn't include a design consistent with this, then I will agree with you.

I believe they should scrap Aero and go for a design as consistent with this as possible because I find it very beautiful, and I really don't like Aero that much.

Jan said,

Just as much as Apple do with Aqua(Y)

Why do you have to drag Apple into this? Try keeping on topic.

Callum said,
I believe they should scrap Aero and go for a design as consistent with this as possible because I find it very beautiful, and I really don't like Aero that much.

Personally I think it's a mistake for Microsoft to drastically change interfaces this frequently. Just stick with one and keep improving upon it. Why there are still Windows 2000-erra icons found in Windows 7 is beyond me.

Some people just hate it, yet some others just love it. personally, I just love the whole concept of microsoft going forward with Metro UI. It is simple, modern and sleek.

God more Metro UI, I really do hope they are going to have it as an option rather than the actual UI I just personally cant stand it.

I hope there is a way to change from metro to ribbon, although I like metro in some programs I don't like the way Microsoft have done it in outlook, AND I know this is not the final version and is going to change alot.

I like the orange on white but I think with this as well as in wp7 and zune, in trying to make it simpler, in places they made it more ollicated and messy because there is no separation or grouping of UI elements. Just screw shades of grey, one or two light lines. They may indeed have organised the UI but I can't see it at a glance, I think apple got this right in most of iOS and ms very nearly had it with aero.

I'd rather they stuck with aero but overhauled it's inner workings and pick a more consistent color scheme ad stick with it.

It would be nice if they started using their own standard windows APIs in their own apps.

Only thing which keep me in Windows is Aero and Ribbon... I hate this ugly, over-simplified Metro so much that i will consider to switch to linux or maybe to Mac if they don't wake up...

Not a fan of the big Mail, Calendar and People buttons at the bottom. With a larger screen that would mean constantly moving your mouse between the top (where all the rest is) to the bottom to switch between mail and calendar. This is similar to how Spotify's UI fails with its playback controls at the bottom and everything else at the top.

I do like the lack of icon graphics though. Microsoft has never been particularly good with self-explanatory icons so it makes sense to drop them and just use text for buttons.

I hope this is real, if it is it's coming along nicely.

I'm not sure whether they should get rid of the images, or change them to some Metro like images. The same with the ribbon. It'd be nice to see what a Metro ribbon looks like; whether they've included Metro like images or got rid of the images altogether. I imagine a Metro ribbon looks very sexy and would love to see how it is in Office.

Callum said,
I hope this is real, if it is it's coming along nicely.

I'm not sure whether they should get rid of the images, or change them to some Metro like images. The same with the ribbon. It'd be nice to see what a Metro ribbon looks like; whether they've included Metro like images or got rid of the images altogether. I imagine a Metro ribbon looks very sexy and would love to see how it is in Office.

The design language encourages you to have images in it, as long as they're actual "content" and not just random pretty UI elements. A users photo / avatar counts as content - but then again the entire thing is wholly non-strict, they can do whatever they want with it :L

"Whoa"
"Nice"
"Amazing"
"Clean"
"Modern"
"Beautiful"
"Love it"

Excuse me??? It's text on white blankness! They must have spent all of five minutes designing it.

Chugworth said,
"Whoa"
"Nice"
"Amazing"
"Clean"
"Modern"
"Beautiful"
"Love it"

Excuse me??? It's text on white blankness! They must have spent all of five minutes designing it.


So a good design is a design on which you spent hours and hours designing it? When something is done right, then it's done right. No matter how long it took creating it.

Chugworth said,
"Whoa"
"Nice"
"Amazing"
"Clean"
"Modern"
"Beautiful"
"Love it"

Excuse me??? It's text on white blankness! They must have spent all of five minutes designing it.

It's good typography, something which surprisingly does not come very easily to most people.

Chugworth said,
"Whoa"
"Nice"
"Amazing"
"Clean"
"Modern"
"Beautiful"
"Love it"

Excuse me??? It's text on white blankness! They must have spent all of five minutes designing it.

I'd pick tasteful simplicity over garish complexity any day.

yowan said,
Why is everyone obsessed with Metro UI?

Because it looks so beautiful. On Windows Phone, Zune software, and now this

dj_alex_m said,
VOMIT!

The Metro UI is not suited for the desktop!


That is *your* opinion.. Used Zune desktop? Its incredibly stunning.

Owen W said,

That is *your* opinion.. Used Zune desktop? Its incredibly stunning.

Yeah used it - WMP12 is way better in my opinion…

~Johnny said,

What, visually?


Yes, Zune is just a mess and completly inconsistent from the rest of the OS…
WMP12 on the other hand matches Aero pretty good…

Owen W said,

That is *your* opinion..

That's what people tend to give in the comments section of an article...

Owen W said,

That is *your* opinion.. Used Zune desktop? Its incredibly stunning.

You find Zune for PC stunning? I find it jumbled up and extremely hard to navigate. Sorry Microsoft, I don't like this at all.

mehta708 said,

You find Zune for PC stunning? I find it jumbled up and extremely hard to navigate. Sorry Microsoft, I don't like this at all.

SUre, if you can't read extremly logically laid out cues then you'd have trouble using it. Press a big piece of text that says "videos" to watch videos... hmm, I wonder what that could possibly do...? I wonder what this big thing that says "marketplace" does? Or this one that says "artists"!? Dear god help me! D:

Or not. Any it's even more stunning thanks to it's beautiful animation

I don't want a window with grey/black text on glaring white background, I'm happy with Aero+Ribbon. This may be ok as a Classic/Basic/High Contrast replacement but I want my Aero.

I always said the Zune software is such a beautiful good looking application - if MS's other apps are heading that way now... all for the better!

Looks like a web page.

Not sure if I like it or not. I certainly don't like how it looks in Office 2010, so a change will be nice.

This new Microsoft UI should be called "Text UI" not "Metro UI". There's nothing fancy about it and it looks pretty much Windows 1.0.

Luis Mazza said,
This new Microsoft UI should be called "Text UI" not "Metro UI". There's nothing fancy about it and it looks pretty much Windows 1.0.

Actually a UI like this looks very "Tablet Friendly"

betax said,
Actually a UI like this looks very "Tablet Friendly"

In Windows Phone 7, I was never fond of it compared to Android's and iOS. But they really got what they wanted to do right, they finally managed to do something different, so they attained their goal about it.

Now, I'm really skeptical about the Metro UI being presented on my 27" desktop computer.

PyX said,

In Windows Phone 7, I was never fond of it compared to Android's and iOS. But they really got what they wanted to do right, they finally managed to do something different, so they attained their goal about it.

Now, I'm really skeptical about the Metro UI being presented on my 27" desktop computer.


You'd be surprised, it looks really, really nice on a full screen

Edit: To be clear, I mean Zune.

Edited by Owen W, Apr 16 2011, 12:43pm :

PyX said,
Now, I'm really skeptical about the Metro UI being presented on my 27" desktop computer.

Endless white with bright yellow, what isn't there to like?

Luis Mazza said,
This new Microsoft UI should be called "Text UI" not "Metro UI". There's nothing fancy about it and it looks pretty much Windows 1.0.

You must have never seen Windows 1 then. It looks nothing like this.

SharpGreen said,

You must have never seen Windows 1 then. It looks nothing like this.

Yes I did. Google can show you... Simplistic almost-monochrome color, ugly and full of text.

I really like it. It's very simple yet elegant. When I heard Microsoft was gonna go metro on Windows 8 I was a little scared, now I kinda like this direction. But hey, this is still in the early stages. Hopefully the bloat people don't get their hands on it.

3Cube said,
I really like it. It's very simple yet elegant. When I heard Microsoft was gonna go metro on Windows 8 I was a little scared, now I kinda like this direction. But hey, this is still in the early stages. Hopefully the bloat people don't get their hands on it.

A Metro-only style for a desktop system is a little pointless, it's perfect as a Aero basic replacement, but not as main ui on decent systems. I do hope metro will be a replacement for mobile and legacy systems.

hmm, at least it looks easier, the outlook interface was a much too complicated for a "pleasurable" use in day to day mail.

DISLIKE

why is grey text one white background impressive

MS really had something going with the ribbon then they decided no design was better

I think this is a matter of stripping it down before building it back up. They've removed every element that isn't completely essential to the interface and are going to mould what remains into something new and Metro. Judging from past releases, however, the Office team won't exactly be adhering to the rest of Microsoft's interface ideas and we'll probably see something a little bit less plain than the WP7 rendition of Metro.

I'm not sure that the general populance is ready for another interface paradigm in Office, but it cetainly has me interested.

Co_Co said,
DISLIKE

why is grey text one white background impressive

MS really had something going with the ribbon then they decided no design was better


I imagine the ribbon is still there, just minimised (probably by default, as it doesn't make the design look nice).

Awesome, the metro UI is probably MS best UI design ever, can't wait for Win8 and everything to use the Metro UI.

Been using the zune software since 2006 so I've enjoyed watching the evolution of the Metro UI it is definitely a great modern UI that needs to be used alot more.

swanlee said,
Awesome, the metro UI is probably MS best UI design ever, can't wait for Win8 and everything to use the Metro UI.

Been using the zune software since 2006 so I've enjoyed watching the evolution of the Metro UI it is definitely a great modern UI that needs to be used alot more.

Completely agree. This makes other UI's really clunky looking. I love it... it's so smooth and clean and easy on the eyes and organized. Can't wait to see more

netsendjoe said,
hmm. i still feel like everything that was 3d is going back to 2d, but ah well.

I actually think that looks better, believe it or not.

netsendjoe said,
hmm. i still feel like everything that was 3d is going back to 2d, but ah well.

I'd say more accurately that 3D was introduced and people went over board but now there is a swing back to the centre again just as when colours started to be used in UI they were abused like no bodies business and when Flash first appeared on the web it was abused by ever person wanting to have a 'splash screen' no matter how inappropriate it was.

Ideas are introduced, pushed to the logical extreme and abused then there is a swing back to the centre again where they're used in moderation.

PyX said,
I don't like this GUI one bit. Or should I say UI, because there's no graphic into it.
If you go to a design school and actually study graphic design, this has more graphics quality than, say, your daily gradient-filled apps.

037 said,
If you go to a design school and actually study graphic design, this has more graphics quality than, say, your daily gradient-filled apps.

It's a Graphical User Interface. Graphical implying graphics, ie, pictures. User as in user, not Graphics student. I think you're taking his a little too literal.

On a side note thought, I actually really like the clean look.

037 said,
If you go to a design school and actually study graphic design, this has more graphics quality than, say, your daily gradient-filled apps.

Do you live in Redmond or its surroundings? Because other design schools would never ask you to make an application with plain text on white and seven 16x16 icons.

PyX said,
I don't like this GUI one bit. Or should I say UI, because there's no graphic into it.

I'm not sure what your definition of graphics are... I presume you're just being overzealous, but yes - there are graphics in this UI. In my opinion design is as much about what is there as it is what isn't and Metro style apps typically do a great job of making the important elements noticable while still making the less used aspects easily accessible.

You're welcome to your opinion, of course.

PyX said,

Do you live in Redmond or its surroundings? Because other design schools would never ask you to make an application with plain text on white and seven 16x16 icons.

There is such a thing as minimal design. Not everything has to have glaring gradients and bevels.

PyX said,
I don't like this GUI one bit. Or should I say UI, because there's no graphic into it.

Typography counts as an important part of graphical design. Move along.

Paulz0r said,
There is such a thing as minimal design. Not everything has to have glaring gradients and bevels.

Even so, I've just had a double examination of the picture and it could be possible that what one is seeing are place holders rather than some sort of final version. End of the day the office suite isn't going to ship for at least another 2-3 years so lots of things can change between now and then.

PyX said,
I don't like this GUI one bit. Or should I say UI, because there's no graphic into it.

Not only is this a GUI, because that is how you would describe this type of interface in general anyway, but GUI is a UI, so while you are partially right, you are also wrong, probably because you don't actually know what your talking about.

Corris said,
probably because you don't actually know what your talking about.

Sorry, what ??? A GUI (Graphical User Interface) is a UI (User Interface) that is graphical. What else is there to understand beyond that?

The screenshots I see up there only reveal a TUI (Texual User Interface). Yeah, I had to make that acronym up because it's the best way to describe this whole Metro interface.

Tony. said,
It doesn't look right, looks like they've moved away from the Ribbon interface?

I doubt it... I have a feeling the ribbon is within the menus or they have a new way of organizing it. THis is definitely much cleaner and less bulky.

Tony. said,
It doesn't look right, looks like they've moved away from the Ribbon interface?

If you use Office 2010, when you click on the File tab of the ribbon the ribbon (except for the tabs) will disappear. In the screen above the File menu is active, so the ribbon is hidden.

nohone said,

If you use Office 2010, when you click on the File tab of the ribbon the ribbon (except for the tabs) will disappear. In the screen above the File menu is active, so the ribbon is hidden.


The File menu is not active. Instead, the ribbon is minimized in the screenshot.

Ditto that sentiment, if the backstage view is active, you wouldn't be seeing the the messages, categories and whatnot.. at least in 2010 anyway, assuming that hasn't been changed.

That said.. I've been getting used to 2010's significant toning down from the 2007 version of the ribbon, and to be honest I actually kind of like this. Straight to the point and no unnecessary fluff all over the place. It's an application, not a video game or work of art. It's *very* easy to spot what's what.

Abhinav Kumar said,

The File menu is not active. Instead, the ribbon is minimized in the screenshot.

Ooops, you are right. The Home menu is hilighted.

We'll just have to see how it turns out. Looks like Aero isn't enabled either so hard to see how Aero will look with it.

This looks great; really clean and organised while staying stylish and unique. I imagine the ribbon UI previewed in Windows 8 recently will evolve to use this style.

andrew_f said,
This looks great; really clean and organised while staying stylish and unique. I imagine the ribbon UI previewed in Windows 8 recently will evolve to use this style.

I want to see how the expanded ribbon looks