Microsoft starts worldwide release of Office 2016

Rebecca Gibson
Rebecca Gibson
By Rebecca Gibson on 22 September 2015
Microsoft starts worldwide release of Office 2016

Microsoft has started the worldwide release of Office 2016.

Reimagined to suit today’s mobile-first, cloud-first world, Office 2016 delivers new versions of the Office desktop apps for Windows, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Project, Visio and Access.

The latest iteration of Microsoft’s productivity suite provides built-in intelligence tools and allows users to create and update files in the cloud from the desktop, use a new Smart Lookup feature to integrate insights from the web into Office documents, and publish data from Excel in Power BI.

Office 2016 also offers Skype in-app and Office 365 Groups integration, a new Tell Me search tool for Word, PowerPoint and Excel, and Clutter, a tool that analyses e-mail patterns to prioritise inbox items.

Perhaps the most useful change for enterprises however, is that multiple people will be able to co-author Word, PowerPoint and OneNote documents in real time within the desktop version of Office 2016, a feature previously reserved for Office web apps. A real-time typing feature in Word will allow users to see changes as others edit the document.

“The way people work has changed dramatically, and that’s why Microsoft is focused on reinventing productivity and business processes for the mobile-first, cloud-first world,” said Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. “These latest innovations take another big step forward in transforming Office from a familiar set of individual productivity apps to a connected set of apps and services designed for modern working, collaboration and teamwork.”

Office 2016 apps with Office 365 also deliver new capabilities for better enterprise security and protection. For example, the platform features built-in data loss prevention across Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook and multifactor authentication. Plus, enterprise data protection will be available for the Office Mobile apps for Windows 10 later this year and for the desktop apps early next year, enabling users to securely share content within corporate boundaries.

Office 365 subscribers can download Office 2016 apps as part of their subscription, while automatic updates will begin rolling out to consumer and small-business subscribers next month. Commercial customers will be able to access the apps early next year.

Microsoft has also released Office 365 solutions to improve the Office 2016 user experience. For example, GigJam, the new cloud-based task management tool for group work, is now available in private preview and will become part of Office 365 in 2016.

Available in preview to Office 365 First Customers next quarter, the Office 365 Planner helps teams to organise and assign tasks, set due dates and update status with visual dashboards and e-mail notifications.

Later this month, Microsoft will also release significant updates to OneDrive for Business, including a new sync client for Windows and Mac. Other updates include increased file size and volume limits per user, a new user interface in the browser, mobile enhancements, and new IT and developer features.

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