The next major release of Microsoft’s Office desktop software is to feature a whole host of new capabilities including the ability for multiple people to simultaneously work on documents and see updates in real time.
The real-time co-authoring feature is already available in Microsoft’s online version of its productivity suite – Office Online apps – and will initially just be introduced to Word in the preview version of Office 2016, which is now available to the public.
The final release of Office 2016 is expected to launch this autumn.
Other new features coming to Office 2016 include the ability to create, open, edit and save files in the cloud from the desktop, so that users can access their documents from any device.
The release will also include a new search tool – Tell Me – for Word, PowerPoint and Excel, and Clutter – an Exchange feature that uses machine learning to analyse e-mail patterns and helping to de-clutter inboxes by moving lower priority messages into a subfolder.
“With the Office 2016 Public Preview release, you will see how Office has shifted from ‘me-centric’ to ‘we-centric’ work,” said Julia White, general manager for the Office Marketing team in a blog post following her keynote at the Microsoft Ignite event taking place this week. “All Office content is default saved to and shared from OneDrive; content is created and edited with real-time co-authoring coming to Word 2016 desktop, and e-mail attachments are a thing of the past with Outlook’s new attachments that are simply shared from the cloud.”
Microsoft has pointed out that not all of the new features are available to try out straight away, but capabilities such as real-time co-authoring are expected to be available in the preview this summer.
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