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article imageMicrosoft quietly launches preview of Windows 10 'Office Hub'

By James Walker     Nov 17, 2016 in Technology
Microsoft has launched a Windows Insider version of its new Office Hub feature coming with next year's Windows 10 Creators Update. The app provides a single place to view recent documents, monitor Office installs and check your subscription status.
Microsoft released the app in beta form today. It comes as an update for the existing "Get Office" app that's preinstalled on Windows 10 PCs. Get Office is essentially useless bloatware that advertises Office to new PC users, simply providing a link to purchase the suite. With today's Insider update, the app has gained a whole new purpose, including a rebranding to "Office Hub."
Office Hub is thought to be a key part of the upcoming Windows 10 Creators Update. Its existence has been rumoured a few times over the past few months but it has not been publicly announced by Microsoft. The app acts as a centralised repository for all the Office applications, akin to the experience provided when logging into online.
Office Hub preview in Windows 10 - Image via MSPoweruser
Office Hub preview in Windows 10 - Image via MSPoweruser
Office Hub's homepage features a showcase carousel that provides getting started tips for using Office. There's also links to your recently opened documents from all the Office apps and a pane to open individual programs. It's a simple screen that consolidates your Office activity into one view.
The My Account section of the app provides links to online support pages. It includes information on the number of PCs Office is installed on, shortcuts to download the Office mobile apps and details of any extras bundled with an Office 365 subscription.
A separate Programs menu provides a description of each Office app, ranging from Word and PowerPoint to Skype, OneDrive and Sway. Wunderlist is also included, indicating Microsoft now regards the popular to-do list app it acquired last year as one of its own products. The final section of the app, Documents, offers an extended Recent Documents list that lets you find files you've been working on in a chronological list.
Office Hub preview in Windows 10 - Image via MSPoweruser
Office Hub preview in Windows 10 - Image via MSPoweruser
The current Office Hub app is a basic experience that may only be part of Microsoft's plans for the feature. It currently provides a desktop version of the existing landing page, bringing little extra functionality for existing Office users. It's unlikely people will open Office Hub to find a recently viewed file instead of just launching the app it was created in.
Microsoft is thought to have wider ambitions for Office Hub though. Previous rumours have suggested Office Hub could be integrated into a new Cortana-style taskbar widget, enabling one-click access to recent Office files. Microsoft may combine its two most important consumer products, Windows and Office, tightly coupling them for a more seamless experience. It could look similar to the "MyPeople" taskbar contact selector coming with the Creators Update.
The current state of Office Hub can be viewed by opening the Get Office app on the latest Insider Preview build of Windows 10. The Windows 10 Creators Update will roll-out to all Windows 10 users in March 2017, bringing with it new 3D and virtual reality authoring tools as well as productivity improvements.
More about Microsoft, windows 10, Microsoft office, office hub, windows 10 creators update
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