Microsoft Launches Office 2016 for Mac Preview, Available for Free to Mac Users

Microsoft is today introducing a preview of the next iteration of its office software designed for Mac users, Office 2016. Office 2016 for Mac is the company's first major Mac release since Office 2011, and it brings new versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint with redesigned Retina-optimized interfaces, new features, and a heavy focus on collaboration and cloud integration.

Office 2016 for Mac, which is free to all Mac users running OS X Yosemite during the preview period, is the next step in Microsoft's plan to make its Office products available anywhere, anytime, on any device, and as such, it's been designed to work with Office 365 and OneDrive. Users will get the best experience when signed into Office 365 because that allows them to access all of their documents on all of their devices, but an Office 365 account is not required to use the software.

macbookoutlook
Office 2016 for Mac has adopted many elements previously found in both the Windows version of Office and in the mobile Office apps, released last year. There's a new Ribbon that reorganizes tools and formatting options, a task pane interface for greater graphics customization within all three apps (which can be manipulated and repositioned within each app), new themes and styles, and there's a Yosemite-style look that takes advantage of features like full-screen support.

Office 2016 for Mac is powered by the cloud so you can access your documents anytime, anywhere, and on any device. It’s unmistakably Office – but thoughtfully designed to take advantage of the unique features of the Mac. The new apps offer full retina display support with thousands of retina-optimized graphics, full screen view for native immersive experiences, and even little Mac affordances like scroll bounce.

Microsoft believes that cloud connectivity is a key feature that people have come to expect from their software, so that's become a focal point for the company. With cloud support, Office 2016 for Mac lets users access a list of files created on any device, keep files up to date on all of their devices, and collaborate with other users. Each of Microsoft's new Office apps have received several new cloud-based features and other updates, as outlined below.

Word 2016 focuses heavily on collaboration. It's designed to improve the multi-author experience, with a consistent sharing interface at the top right of the app. Through this menu, users can invite coworkers to work on a document, send out links, and see who a document has been shared with.

microsoftword
Threaded comments have been added to the Mac for the first time and in Word's new Styles pane, users can make detailed edits on styles within the app as they can on Office for Windows.

Excel 2016 has deeper data analysis functionality with advanced statistical functions. There are also Slicers in PivotTables, a popular Windows feature that should make it easier for users to analyze large chunks of data to find patterns. With Office 2011, many users were frustrated that the Mac shortcut keys were not the same as the Office for Windows shortcut keys, so Microsoft has made all Windows shortcuts available on the Mac. Users already used to existing Mac shortcuts can continue to use them.

microsoftexcel
PowerPoint 2016 has a revamped presenter view, which is similar to the presenter view in the PowerPoint for iOS app. In the top left, the presenter sees exactly what the audience sees, including animations in real time. There's also a visual preview of the next slide, access to notes, a timer, and thumbnails for the entire slide deck.

microsoftpowerpoint
As with the other two apps, there are deeper editing tools available through the right-side pane, which allows for functions like customized animations or shapes, with results that can be seen in real-time.

Along with Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, Microsoft's Office 2016 for Mac preview also includes Outlook for Mac, which was released in October, and Microsoft OneNote for Mac, released last March. Outlook for Mac has been limited to Office 365 users since its release, but as of today, it's available for anyone to use.

The Office 2016 for Mac preview has a built-in feedback mechanism, which Microsoft is hoping its customers will use to report bugs and share what they like and don't like about the software. Customer feedback will be an important tool that helps Microsoft decide on the next features to add to its software. According to Microsoft, the company is "data obsessed" and reads all of the feedback it receives.

Though it's been years since Microsoft last delivered a software update, the company plans to introduce bug fixes and feature updates quickly in the future, as such updates are possible now that the Microsoft Office experience is unified as a service across a range of devices.

Microsoft's Office 2016 for Mac preview is available today at no cost for all Mac users. It is officially supported on machines running OS X Yosemite. Microsoft has plans to launch the software in the summer following this beta testing period.

Top Rated Comments

mortenwold Avatar
77 months ago
And the wait for Office 2021 begins.
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
maplingstorie Avatar
77 months ago
is this a real? am I in a dream?
Score: 44 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nezr Avatar
77 months ago
Excel > Numbers. Just saying
Score: 43 Votes (Like | Disagree)
DougTheImpaler Avatar
77 months ago
Hope the pricing for non-Office365 users is reasonable.
Score: 19 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Dargoth Avatar
77 months ago
That UI looks a million times better than what we're currently stuck with!
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SteveBlobs Avatar
77 months ago

Hope the pricing for non-Office365 users is reasonable.


I hope it is even offered to non-Office 365 users.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

cook cbs this morning

CBS This Morning: Apple to Make 'Big Announcement' Tomorrow Morning

Tuesday January 12, 2021 8:46 am PST by
CBS This Morning today shared a short clip of an upcoming interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook in which addressing last week's events at the U.S. Capitol, with Cook saying "it's key that people be held accountable for it." Following the clip, Gayle King of CBS noted that the interview with Cook was not specifically arranged to address the current controversy over Parler and other repercussions, ...
ipad pro 2021 mysmartprice cad

Allegedly Leaked 2021 iPad Pro CAD Images Suggest Few Design Changes

Tuesday January 12, 2021 3:38 am PST by
Tech blogs 91mobile and MySmartPrice on Tuesday posted a series of allegedly leaked factory CAD images of Apple's upcoming fifth-generation 11-inch iPad Pro. Rumors suggest Apple plans to announce two new iPad Pro models in both 11-inch and 12.9-inch versions, and today's images offer perhaps the clearest indication yet that Apple's next-generation iPad Pros will have minimal, if any,...
prototype iphone 12 pro

Prototype iPhone 12 Pro Shown Off in Photos

Wednesday January 13, 2021 3:39 pm PST by
Developer Giulio Zompetti, who often shows off prototype versions of Apple devices, today highlighted a prototype version of the iPhone 12 Pro. The iPhone 12 Pro is running an operating system called SwitchBoard, a nonUI version of the iOS 14 update that Apple uses internally. We've seen SwitchBoard on prototype devices before, as Apple uses it to test new features. Zompetti's prototype...
find my app safari post

Safari Allows Users to Enable Hidden 'Items' Tab in 'Find My' App Ahead of AirTags Launch

Wednesday January 13, 2021 5:45 am PST by
As seen in screenshots obtained by MacRumors in 2019, Apple's long-rumored AirTags items trackers are expected to be managed through the Find My app on iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Now, any user can get an early look at this tab. MacRumors reader David Chu today alerted us that the hidden "Items" tab in the Find My app can be enabled on an iPhone or iPad by typing in the link findmy://items in...
iphone x camera close

iOS 14.4 Will Introduce Warning on iPhones With Non-Genuine Cameras

Thursday January 14, 2021 8:07 am PST by
In the second beta of iOS 14.4 seeded to developers and public testers this week, MacRumors contributor Steve Moser has discovered code indicating that Apple will be introducing a new warning on iPhones that have had their camera repaired or replaced with aftermarket components rather than genuine Apple components. "Unable to verify this iPhone has a genuine Apple camera," the message will...
mac anti reflective coating issue

Apple's Anti-Reflective Coating Repair Program Still in Effect for Some MacBooks With New Mail-In Policy

Tuesday January 12, 2021 10:07 am PST by
In an internal memo obtained by MacRumors, Apple recently informed its network of Apple Authorized Service Providers that mail-in repair is now required for Mac notebooks with anti-reflective coating issues in the United States. The new policy went into effect January 4, 2021 and means that customers who take an eligible 12-inch MacBook or MacBook Pro exhibiting this issue to an Apple...
pioneer carplay wc5700nex

The Best Apple-Related Accessories at CES 2021

Wednesday January 13, 2021 1:16 pm PST by
CES 2021 is taking place digitally this year, and it hasn't been as exciting as in past years because many vendors have opted out. That said, some companies are still showing off some interesting Apple-related accessories that are coming out this year and that will be of interest to Mac, iPad, and iPhone users. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Pioneer Wireless...
Hue module dimmer switch

Philips Hue Announces New Wall Switch Module, Dimmer Switch, and Outdoor Light Bar

Thursday January 14, 2021 3:11 am PST by
Philips Hue has announced a new wireless dimmer switch module that lets Hue bridge owners directly control the smart lighting from their standard wall switches. The new Philips Hue wall switch module is the ideal addition to any Philips Hue set up. Installed behind existing light switches, it allows users to turn their existing switch into a smart switch and ensures their smart lighting is...
whatsapp wallpapers 1

WhatsApp Affirms User Privacy Following Backlash Over Data Sharing With Facebook

Tuesday January 12, 2021 6:39 am PST by
Following backlash after changing its terms and privacy policy to consolidate a significant amount of data sharing with Facebook, WhatsApp is now assuring users about the privacy measures built into its app. Last week, WhatsApp began informing users of updates to the app's terms of service and privacy policy. The updated agreements, which users must consent to in order to continue using...
apple racial equity justice initiative propel center render 01132021

Apple Launches New Nationwide Racial Equity and Justice Initiative Projects

Wednesday January 13, 2021 4:08 am PST by
Apple today announced a set of new projects as part of its $100 million Racial Equity and Justice Initiative (REJI) to help dismantle systemic barriers to opportunity and combat injustices faced by communities of color. Rendering of the Propel Center The projects include the Propel Center, a global innovation and learning hub for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), an Apple ...