First look: Top 10 features of Office 2016

A familiar UI and a more thoughtful selection of new features makes the new Office a more welcome update

First look: Top 10 features of Office 2016

The biggest — and most important — segment of Office went live this week: Office 2016 for Windows. The Office 2016 apps were already available for iOS, AndroidOS X, and Windows 10 PC tablets through an Office 365 subscription (only the Windows Phone version is still pending), and they are now available for Windows via both Office 365 subscriptions and traditional individual licenses. In addition, the individual license option for OS X also debuted this week.

I had early access to Office 2016 for Windows and was relieved to see that not much had changed. When Microsoft tries to mix up the elements that are embedded in our workflow, like removing the Start Menu in Windows 8 or adding the ribbon UI in Office 2007, it meets with a great deal of resistance. From a UI perspective, Office 2016 doesn't look too different from its predecessor, Office 2013 — a good thing.

As for features, what more do we really want from Word? Or from any of the other core applications?

I believe Microsoft made the right move with Office 2016 by keeping the UI similar to its previous version, adding a few new features to the core desktop applications and adding the majority of new functionality to the cloud-based Office 365 service instead. As with all its other products, Microsoft wants you to move to its cloud-based subscription offerings, so it's no accident that's where the majority of the innovation lies — as well it should.

What matters most about the new Office 2016? Let me guide you to the new and enhanced capabilities you'll most appreciate.

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