Native Microsoft 365 Apps for Apple M1 Are Now Available

Posted on December 15, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft 365, Mac and macOS with 26 Comments

Microsoft announced today that it has released new versions of many Microsoft 365 for Mac apps that run natively on new M1-based Macs.

“Now our core flagship Office apps—Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote—will run faster and take full advantage of the performance improvements on new Macs, making you even more productive on the latest MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini,” Microsoft’s Bill Doll announced. “The new Office apps are Universal, so they will continue to run great on Macs with Intel processors. The apps are not only speedy, but they also look fantastic as they have been redesigned to match the new look of macOS Big Sur.”

Microsoft Teams, meanwhile, is still an Intel-only application on Mac, so it runs under the M1’s Rosetta 2 translation layer. But Microsoft says that it is working on a universal app version of Teams for M1-based Macs and will share more news as work progresses.

In addition to the M1 news, Microsoft also revealed that has created an updated Office Start experience for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote on Mac that incorporates its Fluent UI design system and will ship next month. “Experiences that feel both unmistakably Microsoft 365 and include elements that are native to the look of macOS so they are also unmistakably made for Mac,” Doll says.

Additionally, the new Outlook for Mac will soon support iCloud accounts for the first time, letting customers organize work and personal emails, contacts, and calendars together in one app. This feature will arrive “in the coming weeks,” Microsoft says.

Finally, Microsoft is also bringing Tell Me, a feature in the Windows and Web versions of Office, to the Mac.

“Tell Me is a search box that quickly gets you to the Office tools you need or actions you want to take by just typing what you are looking for in Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote for Mac,” Doll explains. “Microsoft Search in the new Outlook for Mac allows you to type out your query or question using [the] language you use every day to find emails, events, and files—no fancy syntax needed.”

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Comments (26)

26 responses to “Native Microsoft 365 Apps for Apple M1 Are Now Available”

  1. BigM72

    So macOS gets ARM-native Office apps before WoA which merely gets CHPE portable office apps.

  2. Vladimir Carli

    Isn't the irony of this amazing? Most Microsoft failures, including Windows phone, Windows RT, WOA are related to lack of developer support. As a developer, Micorosft very quickly gets onboard with the new M1 macs, much faster than its own WOA platform. Can they at least learn how to bring developers on board so that the next project (Windows 10X?) doesn't fail?

  3. winner

    Next: Microsoft plans to rework Windows 95 icons still present in Windows 10!

    • dftf

      In reply to Winner:

      This complaint comes-up a lot, but where in the main interface are you regularly seeing Windows 95 era 4-bit (16 colour) icons?

      The only places I can find them are generally obscure places most users will never see:

      Internet Explorer settings (IE no-longer supported):

      IE settings > Security tab > click a zone > [Custom Level...] button > ".NET Framework-reliant components" heading

      Phone and Modem settings (most users will use Wi-Fi or LAN thesedays):

      Control Panel > Phone and Modem > Edit Location

      Control Panel > Phone and Modem > Edit Location > Calling Card > [Edit]

      MIDI library information

      Control Panel > Sound > right-click a sound-device > About Software MIDI Synthesiser

      Speech Recognition settings

      Control Panel > Speech Recognition > Advanced speech options

      Control Panel > Speech Recognition > Text-to-Speech

      Control Panel > Speech Recognition > Text-to-Speech > [Advanced...]

      Old OLE insert dialog

      WordPad > Insert object

      Some sections in the "Fax and Scan" app (most users won't send or receive faxes thesedays)

      Windows Fax and Scan > main UI still features a Vista-style toolbar

      Windows Fax and Scan > Tools > Cover Pages... > New (one area that literally does have a Windows 95 UI)

      But outside of those, even within the Administrative Tools MMC consoles, it's rare to find an icon older than Vista era.

      So... where are you finding these icons within the UI yourself on such a regular basis that it bothers you?

  4. crunchyfrog

    Nice to see Microsoft being responsive to this but what about app compatibility for their own ARM based Windows devices??

    • Paul Thurrott

      Do they need to? I mean that seriously. Is there some cost/benefit to completely re-working the desktop suite to be native on ARM? Or does it just work already?
  5. compunut

    "They have been redesigned to match the new look of macOS Big Sur"...

    So they can change the look and feel of the entire Office suite on Mac in a few months, but they can't change the icons in the main Windows install to a new style over multiple years? <sigh>

  6. wmurd118

    Am I missing something or is OneDrive not included? Admittedly I’m not an expert by any stretch but is OneDrive unlike the version on iOS.

  7. michael_babiuk

    That was a relatively short beta period. The migration tools and tech support supplied by Apple to Microsoft software teams must really be excellent.

    • Paul Thurrott

      Or Microsoft is OK being sloppy and just fixing them each month going forward. I guess we'll see.
  8. dftf

    Any news on when Microsoft will drop support for Access, Project, Publisher and Visio, given these are all only available on Windows (no macOS, Android or iOS ports; nor do Web App versions exist, beyond just previewers -- you can't edit them in a browser, though) and none of them have been mentioned as having a future ARM port made for Windows on ARM.

    So... surely they're all just on life-support now?

    • sammyg

      In reply to dftf:

      Omnigraffle Pro > Visio.

      • Martin Sjöholm

        In reply to sammyg:

        There are many tools that are far superior to Visio in the drawing and diagramming capability. Visio's strength is in connections to external data that can be represented in shapes, by various means, and the ability to customize shape look, feel, and behaviour through the ShapeSheets. Threshold for those components are fairly high, though.

    • red.radar

      In reply to dftf:

      I maybe doing it wrong...but I don't understand how Visio is not part of the standard suite. I use the application regularly for diagrams and illustrations in technical heavy content.

      • dftf

        In reply to red.radar:

        Project and Visio have both never been considered core members of the Microsoft Office family; they were always separate purchases. ("Visio Viewer" would be something you could install just to open and print Visio files, included on the setup CDs, and was also a free download from Microsoft's site).

        Even now, in the Microsoft365 plans world, I still think Project and Visio are separate and there is no plan which includes them (though thesedays the "Personal" plan does include Access and Publisher for Home users, whereas the old "Home" or "Family" editions never used to)

      • bluvg

        In reply to red.radar:

        It'd be really nice if it was! Even for businesses where tech isn't a big part, the business process stuff could be quite useful, and it could expand into mind-mapping, decision trees, etc.

    • casualadventurer

      In reply to dftf:

      I agree with Blue, Project and Visio are still used by Enterprise customers on a regular basis. I could see Project, however, being swallowed up by other Microsoft apps that do much the same thing -- especially if one of them were a Teams app. I've supported world-wide enterprises for over a decade now and I would guess that Access is used by maybe 5% of their users. Certainly no more than that. So I would not be surprised if it were dumped soon.

      Publisher... That's a hard one. I remember about 20 years ago Microsoft making a big push with Publisher. They approached print shops and provided them with special tools and training, and made Publisher able to handle 4-color separations and use Adobe spot colors. They were trying to get it to be the choice of publishing formats for businesses to hand off to their print houses. I was part of that at that time and was impressed by how much effort Microsoft was making, especially since Adobe had that entire industry tied up. But Publisher's interface is now tired, and old. To revamp it when there are better, cheaper alternatives like Affinity Publisher, might not be the best plan. I could see Microsoft dropping this app, but only when Enterprise has moved on to something else.

      • dftf

        In reply to CasualAdventurer:

        Yeah, merging Project into something like Teams would make-sense.

        Visio could just become a web-app, as surely it can't be too-difficult to replicate the functionality of essentially dragging shapes onto a workspace and linking them together.

        Publisher it is a real shame they do nothing with, as when layout is more-important it's way-better than Word. It really should have always been included in the "Home" editions of Office to help it gain popularity: and given some of the default templates it offers, such as "calendars", "certificates of achievement", "greetings cards" and "celebration invitations and banners" it does feel like it was targeted that way.

        Sadly thesedays you can only create Publications in RGB mode (colour-separations, spot-colours and CMYK modes were removed in the 2013 version) and it can only save to a closed-spec .pub binary format, making third-party import (e.g. Scribus or LibreOffice Draw) tricky.

        Kind of odd they don't just add a "Publication mode" into Word where it defaults to all shapes and text-boxes being set to "in front of text" and "does not move or resize with text", shove in some other features (such as linking text-boxes together) and then discontinue it...

    • bluvg

      In reply to dftf:

      Project and Visio are definitely still getting love... Project just got a major revamp recently. Given how many Access dbs are out there, I don't see Access dropping off anytime soon. Publisher... might be right about that--looking through release notes, I only see one mention of it for 2020 ("switch Office themes automatically").

      • dftf

        In reply to bluvg:

        Given all Visio essentially does is provide a list of shapes or vector icons, which you can then drag into place and then connect lines between set points, there is really no reason why this couldn't just become a Web App.

        Publisher hasn't really had any new features since the 2013 release, though even in that one, it was mostly just easier image-swapping and some new text-effects. 2010 was the last version where it saw significant new features added (and where it adopted the Ribbon UI).

  9. richardbottiglieri

    These apps are pretty fast and responsive on the M1 Macs. Even on a high-end Intel iMac with SSD, the Office apps used to be a little sluggish compared with their counterparts on Windows 10. They perform very well on the M1 architecture, comparable to a modern Windows 10 PC, which is not something I'm used to seeing, TBH. Just waiting on native MS Edge with the history/tab syncing (now in the beta channel).

    Nice work by the Mac team at Microsoft on this.

  10. shameer_mulji

    Great news for Office for Mac users.

  11. Greg Green

    In reply to sammyg:

    For some reason the MS on Mac team seems to be sharper and quicker than the MS on windows team.