What’s New in Microsoft Office 2016?

By Kacey Kroh, Abshier House, Abshier House

It has been three years since the last release of Microsoft Office. In the new release, Microsoft made the features that were only available to online 365 subscriptions now available to both Mac and PC desktop versions. Office 2016 actually did not receive much of a visual facelift and still looks almost identical to the Office release that hit the market three years ago.

Microsoft Office 2016 is the first ever MSOffice suite to hit all supported OS platforms at the same time. On top of including some Office365 features, in three years, Microsoft has added several other new features to the office suite that help make Office 2016 user friendly and collaboration ready.

[Credit: Screenshot courtesy of Office.com.]

Credit: Screenshot courtesy of Office.com.

Some of the new features included in the Office 2016 release are as follows:

  • Assistant integration — Microsoft has included a new feature called Tell Me this assistant allows you to get the help you need to perform the more difficult tasks involved with some of the more robust office applications. You can have the Tell Me feature perform the task for you, or you can have it walk you through the process so you can learn to do it yourself. Much like the old “Clippy” paperclip assistant, Tell Me performs a lot of the same tasks but in a more modern, easier to use, way.

  • Customization integration — Microsoft has now made the suite of applications capable of fitting your style. Like with Office 2013, you can set themes to give your applications a personal touch, but what you can’t do in Office 2013 that you now can do with Office 2016 is change the colors of the ribbons and taskbars. For individuals who are colorblind or visually disabled, this new feature makes using Microsoft Office 2016 stress-free.

  • Integration with Bing — Microsoft now offers a mini version of Bing built right into office called Smart Lookup. For those of you using the software on another operating system platform such as OS X, iOS, and Android, not having Cortana is not a big deal since the same Bing engine that is used in Cortana is also being used in Smart Lookup. With Smart Lookup you can quickly find the definition of words, related images, and research a topic right within your document to make multi-tasking easier.

  • Integration with Cortana (Microsoft’s digital assistant) — If you are using Office 2016 on a Windows device such as a desktop PC, Windows Phone, or Surface tablet, you can utilize Cortana to do some of the dirty work for you. You can have Cortana dictate writing, add events to the calendar, send and receive email, create contacts, and of course perform searches.

  • Integration with OneDrive — Included in many of the Office 2016 applications is the addition of a share button. This share button is a compact version of Microsoft’s OneDrive built right in! With this feature you can share your projects with others, co-author content, send links to items you stored in OneDrive and send emails right within the application.

  • Integration with Skype — Since Microsoft had acquired Skype a few years ago the company has been looking for a way to integrate it into your workflow. Problem solved! Microsoft has now integrated Skype right into Office 2016. You can send and receive instant messages with your Outlook contacts as well as have important videoconferences right within Office 2016’s Outlook application. Skype integration also gives Office 2016 the ability to place phone calls to phone numbers located within your documents and projects.

  • Real-Time integration — Office now supports real-time workflows. This means while you are working on a document a copy is always being created in the cloud. No longer do you need to stop what you are doing to save backups nor will you have to worry about what version of your document you shared with others. This feature is also great if you plan on working on your documents from several different devices. You can pick up right where you left off.

All of these features are mainly designed to increase productivity and simplify multitasking so you can keep focus on the work at hand.

With new simplified workflows and a more modern take on a classic piece of “must have” software, Microsoft Office 2016 is the most unified version of Office yet!