Today, Microsoft announced that Office 2016 for Mac is available to Office 365 customers for electronic distribution. Retail one-time purchase versions of Office 2016 for Mac will follow in September.
“Today we are taking a big step forward for Mac users,” Microsoft corporate vice president Kirk Koenigsbauer wrote in a blog post announcing the release. “Office 2016 for Mac is now available in 139 countries and 16 languages. Based on feedback from the great Mac Office community, we’ve made major updates to each of the apps and we couldn’t be more pleased to deliver it first to our Office 365 customers.”
According to Koenigsbauer, the Office 2016 for Mac preview was the biggest-ever Office for Mac beta, and outstripped Microsoft’s expectations. Over the 4 months of the preview, the firm delivered 7 updates to the product and garnered over 100,000 pieces of feedback from testers. New features like features like improved Mail Merge in Word, Propose New Time in Outlook, and support for External Data Connections in Excel were all a result of tester feedback, Microsoft says.
Here’s what’s what you can expect from Office 2016 for Mac.
Familiar. The Office 2016 for Mac apps look and work like Office on a Windows PC or iPad, with familiar ribbon-based user interfaces and context-sensitive task panes.
Mac-specific features. The Office 2016 for Mac apps are native Mac apps and support Mac-specific features like Retina screens, Full Screen view and (trackpad-based) Multi-Touch gestures.
Features for students. Given the Mac’s popularity in education, it’s not surprising that Office for Mac includes a number of features that will be useful for students, including document collaboration and Smart Lookup in Word, audio recording in OneNote, side-by-side calendar views in Outlook, and more.
Cloud-connected. Like Office on the PC, Office 2016 for Mac lets you connect with the documents you’ve created and edited on other PCs and devices and stored in cloud storage services like OneDrive.
Word 2016 for Mac features document reviewing tools, a new Design tab for applying designer-quality layouts, colors and fonts throughout your documents, real-time document collaboration, and threaded comments conversations.
Excel 2016 for Mac features chart suggestions and previews, familiar keyboard shortcuts, autocomplete, an improved formula builder, and new PivotTable Slicers for filtering large volumes of data to discover patterns.
PowerPoint 2016 for Mac provides an improved Presenter View current slide and next slide views, speaker notes and a timer; a new animation pane, and a completely updated set of slide transitions.
Outlook 2016 for Mac delivers push email support, an improved conversation view that automatically organizes your inbox around threaded conversations, and a new message preview which shows you the first sentence of an email just below the subject line.
OneNote 2016 for Mac doesn’t appear to have any new features per se, but as the newest member of the Office for Mac family, it’s been updated regularly in recent months.
Updated regularly going forward. In keeping with Microsoft’s new rapid release mantra, Office for Mac will continue to see ongoing improvements over time, Microsoft says. The firm plans to release updates and new features for Office 365 customers at least once per quarter.
Office 2016 for Mac is available to anyone with a valid Office 365 subscription, including Office 365 Home, Office 365 Personal, or Office 365 ProPlus. You access this version of Office as you do other Office versions: sign-in to your Office 365 account page and then follow the install directions.
If you’re waiting for new versions of Office, you won’t have long to wait: The universal Office Mobile apps for Windows 10—Word, Excel, and PowerPoint Mobile—will ship on July 29 alongside Windows 10, Microsoft says. And Office 2016 for Windows—the full desktop-based applications—will ship “this fall.”