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.
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.
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.
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.
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.