Office 2016 for Mac Preview
Microsoft recently released a preview of the upcoming Office 2016 for Mac, giving users a first-hand glimpse at what the future of the mega-product has in store for us. However, many people don’t know what the big differences are between the newest and older versions, so I’m here to let you know what is going on.
Let’s start with some of the key points about Office 365 as a whole:
- Icons are constant through all of the platforms (iOS, OSx, etc.)
- Much more cloud-friendly than previous versions of Office for Mac
- Easy access to previously opened documents from any cloud-connected device
- Open documents from OneDrive for Home, OneDrive for Business, and SharePoint.
As you know, the Office Suite is broken into 5 separate pieces: PowerPoint, Excel, Word, Outlook, and the newest addition, OneNote. Microsoft brought a buffet of various updates to each application, most of which will improve the experience for the majority of users of each program. I’ve broken the updates down by application so you can see which pertain to each individual program.
PowerPoint has a few new added features to assist with presentations. The Presenter View setting was created, which allows the presenter to view the current and upcoming slides in the presentation, notes for each of the slides, and the ability to track how long their presentation is taking. The “Animation theme” was also added so creators can easily add and edit themes.
The backbone of Excel was improved in a few different ways. Microsoft introduced both improved formulas and a “formula builder” to help users find Excel syntax and definitions for all of the existing and recently used formulas. They also added an “Analysis Toolpack” for anybody who wants to create advanced statistical analyses. As a bonus, they added the ability for PDF’s of Excel spreadsheets to be printed out.
Microsoft Word also had a select couple changes to improve users’ overall experiences. For starters, threaded comments were added so that those working on the file are able to follow conversations that include multiple people. The “Style Theme” was also added so various styles can be applied easily to selected text. For those wanting to share their documents with others, permissions can now be easily assigned to each individual with access in-app.
Improvements to Outlook for the Office for Mac 2016 Preview were in abundance. The overall performance was made more efficient by becoming even quicker and more responsive than previous versions. Improvements to search and push-email support for real-time mail delivery were also implemented. Microsoft added both the “Conversation view” so users can see emails in a conversation in chronological order, and “Message Preview” so that they can see previews of any email in the Inbox Pane without having to open them. Easy navigation was introduced at the bottom of the mail pane, along with the ability to sync calendars with categories across all Office 365 devices.
OneNote only had a single major change to its already resourceful existence. The “To-do” feature was added so that users can keep track of what they need to do and the status of said activity.
The preview is available for anyone to use alongside their current versions of Office. If you’re interested in seeing for yourself what all of the hype is about, you can download the Office 2016 for Mac for free here or watch the original video posted to the Office Blog here.
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