Microsoft’s Office 2016 suite for Windows is still the company’s bread-and-butter product when it comes to revenue, even though it is moving away from a Windows-specific platform focus. This has led to the release of Office for Android and iOS before Windows Phone, and Mac before Windows, as is the case with the Office 2016.
All those little changes
Once you've gone through the process installation process you will have Microsoft’s latest versions of Access, Excel, OneDrive, OneNote, PowerPoint, Project, Publisher, Visio, and Word all installed. It’s important to note that these programs aren't available separately and must be downloaded as a package. If you are fond of the previous version of the program it is worth noting that you won’t be able to run Office 2013 side-by-side with 2016, so on a work machine this could be worth taking into account.
One major difference that you will see is that Lync is now Skype for Business.
At first glance, Word’s look and feel is pretty similar to the 2013 version, albeit a touch more colorful with “Word Blue” topping the Ribbon interface. The icons are arranged slightly differently, but the main options remain the same.
The biggest visible addition is the Tell Me box, which is more than just a searchable help menu. For example, type “comment” and it will suggest the Insert Comment feature but, instead of telling you how to insert a comment, it will do it for you automatically. This feature is also found in Excel and PowerPoint.
The second major addition is real-time document editing, meaning you can see exactly what other people who are working on the document are doing on the screen. This feature was already available for Office Online.
Other new Word features include a Store where you can download apps for Microsoft Word, as well as simplified Save As location options, and email addresses being added to cloud accounts such as OneDrive to avoid confusion with on-premises options.
Excel has a slightly streamlined menu, but the interface is basically the same as the previous version. While you may not be able to see any surface changes, those who use Excel to work with a lot of data, will be pleased to know that Microsoft has enhanced its business intelligence (BI) functionality.
The company has integrated several of its BI add-ons that were only available separately in previous versions of Office. These add-ons include Power Query, which allows business users to surface relevant data more easily without input from IT (known as self-service BI); and Power View, which allows users to more easily build reports from the data they have surfaced. There are also a variety of new graphs and charts to choose from, including TreeMap, Sunburst, Waterfall, Box & Whisker, and Histogram & Pareto.
The one new addition is the connection with OneDrive, allowing you to attach a file directly from your cloud storage.
There are several changes Microsoft has made that aren't visible to the eye, but that will help protect data from getting into the wrong hands, as well as accessibility enhancements, and improvements for IT managers looking to deploy the suite.
Overall, the changes in Office 2016 for Windows are minor and, other than the useful “Tell Me” feature, won’t be visible to the casual user. In terms of Excel’s BI capabilities, Microsoft is making strides forward for power users.