As of September 2015, Office 2016 is now available for Windows via both Office 365 subscriptions and traditional individual licenses. Even though the new release looks generally the same as the last version, it’s designed for sharing and collaboration in a way that Office 2013 really wasn’t. Here are some of the new features users can expect:
- Improved Dark Theme and Ribbon Tab Text – Darker ribbon theme makes it easier for the user to use the interface, including better readability in Word’s navigation pane and several Outlook readability fixes. Ribbon tabs are also no longer in all caps.
- “Smart Lookup” – is already available in Word and Outlook, and now it’s been added to Excel and PowerPoint. This feature is also called “Insights from Bing” and helps you learn more about the content you are reading or writing about. These insights can be opened by selecting a word or phrase and right-clicking on it, through the Review tab on the ribbon, or by using the “Tell Me” box.
- Tell Me Box – this features uses natural language to help you find the right tools you’re looking for. Whether you need help figuring out how to create a graph in Excel or add a signature to emails in Outlook all you have to do is ask the “Tell Me Box.”
- Skype Integration – Use Skype to check in and collaborate with coworkers using Instant Messaging, voice, video, or screen sharing. Also join online meetings while on the go using the Skype for Business mobile app. Users can see who is online, IM meeting participants, and follow along when a presenter shares his screen – all from a mobile tablet or phone.
- Improved Backstage – new update makes saving, opening, and browsing for files easier and faster. The “Recent” files list is now categorized by document modification date and the “Browse” button has been elevated for improved visibility and now provides quicker access to the File Explorer.
- More Mobility – Office mobile apps are the perfect option for on-the-go productivity. They help you do great work anywhere, anytime, with documents in full fidelity across all your Windows 10 devices.
To see a full list of all the new features in Office 2016, check them out here.
How to Get Office 2016
The Office 2016 suite is free through the Windows Store with limited features. The full Office desktop app suite is required to gain access to all the features and functionality. If you maintain an active subscription to Office 365, you’ll get the upgrade to Office 2016 at no charge. In order for you to take full advantage of all that Office 2016 has to offer, a Microsoft and OneDrive account is required.