Microsoft Begins Implementing Touch Bar Support in Office for Mac for Insiders

Posted on February 8, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Office 365, Mobile, iOS, Office with 12 Comments

Microsoft Begins Implementing Touch Bar Support in Office for Mac for Insiders

Back in October, Microsoft said it that it would support the Touch Bar in the new MacBook Pro in Office for Mac. This month, that support is appearing for the first time in the pre-release versions of Office for Mac provided to Insiders.

If you’re familiar with Microsoft’s various Insider programs, you get the basic idea: These programs allow enthusiasts and others to receive early access to new versions and features, and to provide feedback to the company that can help drive product development.

For Office for Mac specifically, Microsoft provides two levels of Insider access, Office Insider Fast and Office Insider Slow. As the names suggest, Fast provides the earliest preview builds, and these builds are released more frequently than with Slow. Office Insider Slow, meanwhile, provides “fully supported builds with minimal risk.”

So it is odd, then, that Touch Bar support is coming first to Office Insider Slow, and not Fast. Starting with the February 2017 updates, Office Insider Slow users will see the following new functionality:

Touch Bar Support on the New MacBook Pro. Available in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. The most relevant commands to what you’re working on are at your fingertips. (Compatible with MacBook Pro with Touch Bar only).

According to a separate post to the Microsoft Answers forums, this functionality is appearing via Office for Mac build 15.31 (170207). If you are in the Insider Program, just check for Updates (Help > Check for Updates > Check for Updates in any supported app) to get the new build.

I don’t have a MacBook Pro, let alone a new model with a Touch Bar, so I can’t test this feature.


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Comments (12)

12 responses to “Microsoft Begins Implementing Touch Bar Support in Office for Mac for Insiders”

  1. 1292

    Would be nice to see Apple return the favor and embrace new Windows stuff as quickly as MS supports new Apple stuff. UWP iTunes i think is now owed. ;) (Actually Apple Music UWP would probably be better)

    • 131

      In reply to FreeJAC:

      The strangest thing happened to me this morning while I was driving to work:  A flying, winged pig swooped in from the sky and almost hit me head on.  Scared the shit out of me.

  2. 8578

    I would think the motivation for Mac users to be a MS insider would be a lot less than Windows users. Does MS have such little faith in their own quality control that they can't roll out a simple feature like this without turning customers into beta testers? 

    • 5592

      In reply to skane2600:

      So you're saying it's bad to do more testing and companies who do major products that people rely on for their livelihoods should focus on getting stuff out the door fast rather than thoroughly tested.

      OK. I guess that's one view...

      • 8578

        In reply to MikeGalos:

        Not at all. Testing is the job of the company, not the customers. All of the work that made Microsoft the leading software company in the world was done without an insider program. In some cases they used carefully selected beta testers who played a more formal testing role than insiders. It's funny that you mention "getting stuff out the door fast" because that's exactly what the Insider program is all about (along with saving the labor costs of real testing).

        • 5592

          In reply to skane2600:

          Yes and multiple levels of internal testing happen BEFORE a build goes out to ANY Insiders for external config testing. Just like it always did. Of course earlier they called that "Technical Beta" instead of "Insider"

          You seriously think that there are no internal test rings that sign off before it goes to Fast Ring.


          • 8578

            In reply to MikeGalos:

            Perhaps we are both speculating. Only someone who has worked as MS for the past 10-20 years knows whether their internal testing is as thorough now as it was in the past. In any case, I don't think Insiders are fully equivalent to Beta testers. I don't ever recall MS allowing just anyone to do Beta testing.

  3. 1753

    That would be cool. Bought my daughter a new MBP 13 with touch bar.

    I hate the damned thing. The keyboard is terrible. I don't know why they bothered, putting an iPad in the base would have provided a better typing experience!

  4. 6403

    Works just fine, I love it! A huge step forward in respect of productivity, thanks to MS and Apple.

    I don't know what people have against the keyboard, I have nothing to complain about it and it's much more readable than the keyboard of the SurfaceBook I had before.

    Yes I switched from that one and it was worth it indeed. :)