Microsoft Explains How Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook Work With Touch Bar

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Yesterday during its Hello Again event, Apple confirmed that the Microsoft Office suite of apps will be gaining support for Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro, and now Microsoft has detailed what that will look like for each app. The company said that with Touch Bar support on Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook, it's "continually evolving Office to take advantage of the latest and greatest hardware innovations across the industry."

In Word, users will be able to use "Word Focus Mode," which eliminates the clutter of on-screen ribbons and commands "so you can simply focus on your work." All of the relevant UI is then moved down onto Touch Bar, with classic buttons like copy/paste, bold, italics, underline, list, indent, and more found on Apple's new multi-touch panel.

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Microsoft said PowerPoint's addition of Touch Bar support lets users "easily manipulate graphic elements." Buttons like "Reorder Objects" make it easy to find the exact object users are looking for and move it to a new location, thanks to an easy-to-read graphical map of a slide's layers. Object manipulation and slides can also be rotated and tracked by sliding a finger across the Touch Bar.

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Excel's Touch Bar integration makes it quicker to write functions into rows of the program. By typing an equals sign into a cell, Excel will immediately pull up the most recently used functions and display them on the Touch Bar. As the company explained, "for example, with a tap (for the formula) and another tap (for a named range) in the Touch Bar, you can quickly sum a range in your spreadsheet." Easy spreadsheet organization is also available through the Touch Bar, with borders, cell colors and recommended charts propagating on the panel.

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The last program detailed was Outlook, and Microsoft said that here the Touch Bar will provide "the most commonly used commands" whenever a user is working in its calendar and email programs. This means when composing an email, an add file prompt appears, along with a list of recent documents that users can one-tap to attach as a full attachment or a link. While in Outlook's calendar, users will be able to see their events for the day, and even jump into a Skype for Business video meeting.

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Before Apple's event, Microsoft held its own presentation on Wednesday, where it announced a new Surface Book and all-in-one desktop Surface Studio, as well as a "Creators Update" coming to Windows 10. Microsoft's new computers are up for pre-order now, the Surface Book starting at $2,399 and Surface Studio at $2,999, and are expected to ship in November and December, respectively.

Related Roundup: MacBook Pro

Top Rated Comments

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Avatar
52 months ago

we have to measure which option is faster:
a) to press button on your touch bar
b) to click hot-made button above your ribbon in excel using mouse

Just having to look down (keyboard) and back to the screen is a step backwards.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
52 months ago
we have to measure which option is faster:
a) to press button on your touch bar
b) to click hot-made button above your ribbon in excel using mouse
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
52 months ago
Funny how Microsoft is early out of the gate supporting new Mac hardware with Office... And they also have been impressively on top of their app updates for iOS... But at the same time they run Surface commercials that basically say "Macs are crap! Buy a Surface!" ;)
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
52 months ago

They position the MBP as a business computer, a Pro's computer. Most businesses use...

...the answer is not iWork.:p:D

The industry and consumers are just sticking to what they're 'used to' and Apple's finally playing along (which contradicts a lot of their core values in my opinion). When instead they should be working to make programs like Numbers even more robust and showcase the value behind their product.

Actually, "The answer" is not MS Office. iWork is by far a superior product to Office in a great deal of ways. Microsoft Office for Mac is pure garbage and half-baked. Just my two cents and personal opinion.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
52 months ago

we have to measure which option is faster:
a) to press button on your touch bar
b) to click hot-made button above your ribbon in excel using mouse

c) Press CTRL + C/V/B/I/U etc... without needing to look down from screen or locating and having to move the mouse - unless it is of course a more specific activity.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
52 months ago
In Excel the F keys are incredibly useful:
F1: Help
F2: EDIT
F4: Fix cells
F5: Go to.

So, adding a button to start a formula (from what is seen in the picture) is useless.

The MacBook Pro is turning into the less Pro of all Macs.

Enjoy your emoji toolbar.
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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