Microsoft is announcing that the next version of Office for Windows 11 will have a native 64-bit Arm version, for improved performance on large or picture-filled documents, and support for 64-bit add-ins. The new version of Office is currently in beta, available to Office Insiders.
Microsoft also announced a redesign of Office, which you can see above and below. While it uses a similar design to Windows 11, it’ll be available whether you're running the Windows 11 Preview or Windows 10. In addition to the new design, Office will also adapt to your Windows light / dark mode, so you should be able to avoid the experience of opening a document and having it blast light into your eyes at night.
Microsoft hasn’t shied away from talking about Arm with Windows 11. Its contentious list of supported CPUs includes a handful of Qualcomm chips, and it used the Arm-powered Surface Pro X to show off the tablet capabilities of its new OS. For those with Arm machines, it’s probably a good sign — having native apps is likely going to be more efficient than emulation, and provide better performance.
It is, however, perhaps a little awkward that it took so long for a 64-bit Arm version of Office to come to Windows — M1 Macs got a native version late last year. There are also a few features that Microsoft mentions haven't come to the Arm version of Office yet, though that’s to be expected given that it’s currently in beta.
In addition to being in the Office Insider program, those who want to test out 64-bit Office on their Arm Windows machine will also have to be running the Windows 11 Insider Preview. They’ll also have to uninstall any 32-bit versions of Office they may have installed before reinstalling Office and updating to the beta version. If you’re running the Office beta on either Windows 10 or 11, you should be able to turn the redesign on from the Coming Soon pane in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote.