Today’s post was written by Jared Spataro, general manager for the Office marketing team.
Over the last 12 months, we’ve transformed Office from a suite of desktop applications to a complete, cross-platform, cross-device solution for getting work done. We’ve expanded the Office footprint to iPad and Android tablets. We’ve upgraded Office experiences on the Mac, the iPhone and on the web. We’ve even added new apps to the Office family with Sway and Office Lens. All designed to keep your work moving, everywhere. But that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten where we came from. While you’ve seen us focus on tuning Office for different platforms over the last year, make no mistake, Office on Windows desktop is central to our strategy.
In March we introduced an IT Pro and Developer Preview for the 2016 release of our Office desktop apps on Windows, and now—as a next step—we’re ready to take feedback from a broader audience. Today we’re expanding the Office 2016 Preview, making it available to Office users everywhere in preparation for general availability in Fall 2015.
Office 2016 previewers will get an early look at the next release of Office on Windows desktop, but more importantly they’ll help to shape and improve the future of Office. Visit the Office 2016 Preview site to learn more about the Preview program and if it’s right for you.
New in Office 2016
Since March, we’ve shared some glimpses of what’s to come in Office 2016. Today, we’d like to give a more holistic view of what customers at home and work can expect in the next release. In Office 2016, we’re updating the Office suite for the modern workplace, with smart tools for individuals, teams, and businesses.
Your documents, anywhere—Across the Office 2016 applications, it’s easier to use the power of feature-rich applications to create, open, edit and save files in the cloud from your desktop, so you can access them from anywhere and on any device. In addition, new modern attachments in Outlook make it easy to attach files from OneDrive and automatically configure permission for the recipients—without leaving Outlook. All making it easier to share and collaborate on your work with others.
Collaboration—Real-time co-authoring is available in the Office Online apps today and we’re bringing that experience to the Windows Desktop applications, starting with Word. When you and your team are working in Word 2016 and/or Office online, you’ll be able to see where other editors are working and what they are writing—all in real-time.
Smart Applications—Applications will learn as you work, taking advantage of subtle cues and clues to help you stay on task and get more out of Office. Tell Me, a new search tool available in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel, serves up the commands you need by simply typing what you want to do. Clutter—a new Exchange feature that lights up in Outlook—uses machine learning to analyze your email patterns and de-clutter your inbox by moving lower priority messages out of your way and into a new Clutter folder. And Insights, powered by Bing, finds you contextual information from the web within the reading experience.
Data analysis made faster and easier—New analysis capabilities are built into Excel, so you can pull, map, analyze and visualize your data faster and easier than ever.
- One-click forecasting. Create forecasts on your data series with one click to predict future trends.
- Intuitive data connecting and shaping capabilities. With integrated Power Query, use Excel as your personal analysis workspace by connecting to and viewing all the data around you. Take advantage of a broad range of data sources, including tables from websites, corporate data like SAP Business Objects, unstructured sources like Hadoop, and services like Salesforce. After bringing all your data together in one place, quickly shape and combine to fit your unique business needs and get to analysis in seconds
- Easy data modeling and powerful analysis. With improved Power Pivot features as part of Excel, map different data sets with drag-and-drop ease to build data models to give you the bigger picture of your business. Take advantage of intuitive analysis functions, automatic time grouping and other features that enhance your PivotTable and PivotChart analysis experience. Now with the ability to calculate 100s of millions of rows of data, perform deeper analysis with high speed.
- Publish to Microsoft Power BI Preview. Effortlessly publish and share your Excel workbooks to users of Power BI.
- New modern charts and graphs, including TreeMap, Sunburst, Waterfall, Box & Whisker and Histogram & Pareto in Excel help you to present your data in fresh ways.
New for IT
Office 2016 will offer new security, compliance, and deployment features, giving organizations more control over sensitive data and IT more flexibility in deployment and management.
Compliance and security controls
- Data Loss Protection (DLP). DLP is now available in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. IT admins can centrally create, manage and enforce policies for content authoring and document sharing. End users will see policy tips or sharing restrictions when the apps detect a potential policy violation.
- Outlook Multi-factor authentication. Multi-factor authentication now available in Outlook through integration with the Active Directory Authentication Library (ADAL).
- Information Rights Management (IRM). IRM protection is now extended to Visio files, enabling both online and offline protection of Visio diagrams.
Flexible deployment and management options
- Better network traffic management. New Background Intelligence Transfer Service (BITS) helps prevent congestion on the network. BITS throttles back the use of bandwidth when another critical network traffic is present.
- Enhanced distribution management. Improved integration with ConfigMgr allows IT admins to efficiently download and distribute monthly Office updates using the native ConfigMgr features.
- Flexible update management. Admins can now manage the pace at which they receive feature updates and bug fixes while continuing to receive regular security updates.
- Simplified activation management. New controls in the Office 365 Admin Portal allows admins to manage device activations across users.
Ready to get started with the Office 2016 Preview? Join here. Office 2016 Preview is still a work in progress, and while not all of the features we expect to ship in the fall are available for use now, new features will be added every month. We’ll share details on fresh updates to the Office 2016 Preview as they become available right here on the Office Blog. Meanwhile, we look forward to hearing your feedback on Office 2016!