One month after the initial release of the Office 2016 Preview for Windows, Microsoft has shipped a major update to the in-development product, adding a number of new features. Key among them are Insights for Office and Real Time Presence, both of which debuted previously in Office Online.
“About a month ago, we invited anyone to participate in Office 2016 on Windows Preview,” Microsoft corporate vice president Kirk Koenigsbauer explains. “We now have over one million customers using the Office Preview across both Windows and Mac platforms. When we started the preview, we noted we would be adding features regularly for customers to test and just this month released several new updates.”
Mr. Koenigsbauer doesn’t provide a complete list of improvements in the latest update, but he does note the following highlights:
Real Time Presence. This feature, available only in Word 2016, is a key part of the real time collaborative experience that Microsoft is planning for the final shipping version of the product. (Real Time Typing being the other; that will appear in subsequent builds, Microsoft says.) Real Time Presence allows you to see where in a document your teammates are editing. For now, the feature is available only to OneDrive for Business subscribers, but it will be available more broadly soon, Microsoft says.
Simplified file sharing. A new Share option on the Office application’s ribbon will help you share files and make them available to others to review, comment, and edit more easily than in the past.
Insights for Office. Currently available only in Word and Outlook 2016, Insights for Office is a Bing-powered experience that provides contextual information from the web right in the reading experience. To try it, select a word—people and places work best—and Insights will display relevant information in the Task pane so you can learn more about that topic.
Version History improvements. Click the History command in the File menu to more easily find, view and restore previous versions of the currently-displayed document.
Tell Me comes to Outlook. Previously available in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel 2016, the Tell Me search tool lets you find and execute application commands by typing what you want to do. It’s like a ribbon for the ribbon.
But wait, there’s more. Koenigsbauer says that the update includes many other new features, including Power Pivot improvements, improved grammar checkers, and more. I’m curious if we ever see a complete list.
To get the Office 2016 Preview for Windows, visit the Office web site and sign up for the trial. Or, you can download the preview through your Office 365 subscription.
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