Finally, Microsoft Launches Free Office 2016 for Mac Preview
If you use a Mac and you’ve been waiting patiently for the next version of Microsoft Office, here’s some good news: Redmond just made a preview of the new Office 2016 for Mac widely available.
One of the first things you’ll notice about Office 2016 for Mac is that it’s cloud-powered. That means you can access your documents on OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, and SharePoint wherever you are and whenever you want.
Office 2016 for Mac shares a familiar Office experience but is also designed to leverage Mac’s unique features, said Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office 365 Client Apps and Services team.
“The new apps offer full retina display support with thousands of retina-optimized graphics, full screen view for native immersive experiences, and even little Mac affordances like scroll bounce,” Koenigsbauer wrote in a blog post. He said there were too may new features to cover in a single post but expounded on a few of the highlights.
It’s a given that the new Office 2016 for Mac includes updated versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook, but Koenigsbauer is sure Mac users will immediately notice the more modern user experience.
“The redesigned ribbon intuitively organizes features so you can quickly find what you need quickly. A refreshed task pane interface makes positioning, resizing, or rotating graphics easy so you can create exactly the layout you want,” he said. “And new themes and styles help you pull it all together to produce stunning, professional documents.”
As for Word, the design tab lets users manage layout, colors and fonts across documents. The navigation pane aims to help you refine the document structure and navigate where you want to go. And threaded comments work to transform editing cycles into actual conversations.
On the Excel front, Microsoft has enhanced data entry with an eye toward productivity. A new Analysis ToolPak offers statistical functions, such as moving averages and exponential smoothing. Meanwhile, PivotTable Slicers help users cut through large volumes of data to find patterns that answer questions.
For its part, PowerPoint offers a new feature called Presenter View. Koenigsbauer compared it to mission control for presentations. It displays the current slide, next slide, notes and a timer on the Mac -- and projects only the presentation to the audience on the big screen.
Finally, Outlook offers what Microsoft considers a better conversation window that automatically organizes the inbox around threaded conversations. And OneNote lets you use tags like “To Do” or “Important” or “Question” to add structure to notes and find them quickly.
A Boon for Apple Users
We caught up with Rob Enderle, principal analyst at the Enderle Group, to get his thoughts on the new Office for Mac. He told us the software showcases a higher level of integration between the Office versions and a greater focus on each of the operating systems independent of each other.
“This means that new versions are increasingly likely to appear on a non-Windows platform first and that all versions will benefit from similar usability improvements -- and be more consistent in this regard -- going forward,” Enderle said.
“In the past it almost looked like Microsoft intentionally left critical things out of the Apple version of this product and that practice clearly no longer exists. Apple users appear to be treated virtually the same as their Windows counterparts," he added. "There has been a long time between releases but that means the change is far more dramatic and appears to be very well received by Apple users.”
Posted: 2015-03-11 @ 4:25pm PT
@Be Still My Heart: I feel the same way about many of the Google apps... only using out of necessity and only wish there were other, widely used alternatives.
Be Still My Heart:
Posted: 2015-03-11 @ 4:19pm PT
So, being treated like Windows users is a good thing how exactly? I've only used Office out of necessity. It's like a bathroom plunger; you may have to use it, but you don't look forward to it.
Posted: 2015-03-06 @ 4:21am PT
Don't waste time on downloading today. The server is probably overloaded; it keeps timing out.