The new version of Office boasts a number of huge features that were designed with Mac in mind, including an improved user interface that feels like it’s part Windows, part Office for Mac 2011.
Each of the apps comprising the Office 2016 suite has seen major updates and, according to Microsoft, deliver the best of both worlds – the “familiar Office experience paired with the best of Mac”. You can also share notebooks with friends, family or colleagues so everyone can work together on travel plans, household tasks or work projects. Mac users will appreciate the modernized Office experience and the integration of Mac capabilities like Full Screen view and Multi-Touch gestures. While Microsoft has made updates to Office 2011 over the years, such as the addition of Retina display support in 2012, the applications in the software suite still look quite dated due to their use of pre-Yosemite OS X interface elements.
All three apps in Office have new open and create windows that show documents saved to OneDrive across all platforms.
Aside of the visual overhaul, one of the key new features here is the Design tab, which lets you apply layouts, colors and fonts throughout your documents. You can work on the same document simultaneously with your teammates and use threaded comments to have a conversation right next to the corresponding text.
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, meanwhile, has received improvements to Presenter View as well as a new animation pane. There’s also a new animation pane for designing and tweaking animations, plus new slide transitions.
Office 2016 for Mac has been in preview testing – Microsoft’s form of a beta release – since March of this year. 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.
You can expect Office for Mac to be updated far more regularly than previous history suggests.
Pricing for home users is $6.99 per month for Office 365 Personal, $9.99 per month for Office 365 Home, and there are also plans available for students who may be able to get Office 2016 for Mac for free or for a significant discount, Microsoft says. Those looking for a perpetual, one-time purchase option, will have to wait till September 2015 to purchase it online or off the shelf.