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article imageMicrosoft Office 2016 adds new features for more productivity

By James Walker     Sep 22, 2015 in Technology
Microsoft has launched the next generation of its renowned productivity suite, Office. Office 2016, available today, includes support for enhanced collaboration on work as well as several other new features designed to "work for you".
The release was marked by a Microsoft blog post, describing the launch of Office 2016 as "a milestone" in delivering extra value for Office 365 subscribers through frequent updates providing new features and security fixes.
The changes for this generation aren't as far-reaching as with Office 2013 or indeed Office 2010 before it. Instead, the team has worked to refine the sprawling feature set of the Office apps, simplifying key processes to improve usability and productivity.
The programs have been redecorated in a more simplistic style designed to complement the design cues of Windows 10. The title bars now take on each app's accent colour — in a move likely to draw both fans and critics — and the Ribbon tabs have reverted to lowercase lettering. The rather bright accent colours can be disabled if desired, leaving the background looking more reminiscent of the muted Office 2013.
A prominent share button has been added to the interface, pushing the username a little to the left. The button does what it states and makes it easier than ever to share a file with a colleague, friend or supervisor. Other major design changes include the introduction of a "Tell me what you want to do" box that brings back memories of Microsoft's old "Clippy" Office assistant and can help answer questions on how to use Office features.
Microsoft Office 2016
Microsoft Office 2016
Microsoft
Microsoft's focus with Office 2016 is expanding the sharing and collaboration options offered to people who frequently work in groups. Real-time co-authoring is now supported in Word, allowing multiple editors to all work on one document at the same time while seeing the position of their co-workers and watching as changes are made.
Although it is currently only Word that supports this major feature, there are plans to bring it to the other programs over time. By introducing real-time co-authoring, Microsoft can hope to attract more users back from Google's range of web-based tools which have supported such collaboration for some time.
Microsoft Office 2016
Microsoft Office 2016
Microsoft
Spread-sheet fans now have access to an expanded array of Excel graph types and designs to simplify data visualisation. Outlook boasts new inbox management features including faster searching and automatic tidying of low-priority mail. Improvements to the attachments window make it easier to access recently edited documents or share a link to a file hosted offline.
Going forward, the Office team says that it will now be moving to a faster feature release cadence, like with its mobile apps and Windows 10 itself. The old "Office every three years" model won't be so stringently followed and new updates are already in the works, aiming to maintain a level of feature parity between the growing portfolio of Office clients spanning Windows desktop, Windows, iOS and Android tablets, the web and smartphone platforms.
Microsoft Office 2016
Microsoft Office 2016
Microsoft
Personal Office 365 subscribers should be able to upgrade to Office 2016 for free from today. New subscriptions will offer Office 2016 immediately and the programs are also available to buy out-right in a licensed edition.
Generally, people using a business Office 365 subscription, including one supplied by a school or workplace, should also be able to upgrade today although there may be restrictions and caveats depending on the individual policies of each organisation. In particular, users of Office 365 ProPlus — the complete edition of Office 2013 — will not yet be able to upgrade. More details can be found on the Office blog.
More about Microsoft, Office, office 2016, Windows, windows 10
 
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