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New to Office 365 in January—new inking tools, collaboration improvements, Office Insider builds now available for Mac, and more

Today’s post was written by Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office team.

We’re starting off the New Year with new ways to work with Office! We’re improving the inking experience so writing and drawing with your finger, pen or stylus are more intuitive and powerful. We’re bringing PowerPoint Designer and Morph, available last month in Windows, to additional platforms. Also, Office 365 consumer subscribers with Macs can now get Office Insider builds for first access to new features.

Office works the way you do with new inking capabilities

As part of our effort to make Office even more intuitive and easier to use, we want to make pen and ink a primary input across Office apps.­ While digital inking tools have been available in Office on Windows PCs since 2007, today we are releasing new inking tools in Office for iPad and iPad Pro to make it easy to use your finger or Apple Pencil to work on documents, presentations, spreadsheets and notes.

  • Draw tab—to make inking tools as easy to find as possible, beginning today we’re adding a new Draw tab at the top, in the Office ribbon.

Review and comment on documents with your pen—no printing required.

  • Instant inking—we have evolved our apps to sense the approach of an active pen so that you can start to ink instantly, without needing to select a feature or control.

New to Office 365 in Jan 2

If you have an active pen, now you can simply start inking in Office on iPad Pro and Office on Windows desktops.

  • Ink to shape—you can easily transform hand-drawn shapes to perfect looking shapes for simple creation of highly customizable diagrams and process flows. Sketch two quick circles for an easy Venn diagram or draw a process flow of squares and arrows in just a matter of moments.

Convert sketched shapes into formatted graphics with just a few pen strokes.

New to Office 365 in Jan 4

Sketching your latest ideas and notes has never been easier with OneNote’s shape recognition.

Get these latest Office inking features in today’s releases of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote on iPad and iPad Pro. Here is more information on using ink in Office for iPad. Check the end of this blog for more details about capabilities across devices.

Collaboration improvements to Office across platforms

We’re making more progress on our journey to make Office the best place for real-time collaboration. Last fall, we brought real-time co-authoring to Word 2016 on Windows desktop, so you can see what others are typing as it happens. Now we’re bringing that experience to PowerPoint Mobile for Windows tablets. We’re also taking a step in that direction by bringing real-time presence to PowerPoint 2016 on Windows desktop, so you can see who else is working in the document and where.

New to Office 365 in Jan 5

Real-time presence lets you see where others are working in the document.

We are also excited to announce that basic co-authoring and AutoSave capabilities will be available to Office Insider participants in the next Preview builds of Word and PowerPoint for Android. Word and PowerPoint for iPhone and iPad already support these collaboration features today. We’ll continue to expand these and other new collaboration features across the Office suite to help you work easily with others across many different devices. Stay tuned for more!

Morph and PowerPoint Designer

Late last year we launched PowerPoint Designer and Morph in PowerPoint for Windows desktop and Windows Mobile. These two new tools help you create stunning presentations quickly. Now we’re extending these features to additional platforms. With today’s release, Morph is available in PowerPoint for iPhone, iPad and iPad Pro. Office Insiders on Android devices will be able to try both PowerPoint Designer and Morph in the next Preview build.

Office Insider builds, now available on Mac

In November, we introduced Office Insider, a preview program that allows Office 365 consumer subscribers to get early access to the latest Office innovations. We initially launched the program for Windows desktop, Android and Windows 10 mobile users.

Now, Mac users can also get early access to Office innovations. It’s simple to get started. Just opt-in to the Office Insider build from the Microsoft Auto Update (MAU) tool on your Mac. To learn more about Office Insider and how to get started on your Mac, go to

Officer Insider (@OfficeInsider) is also now on Twitter. If you are an Insider, follow us to learn about new updates coming your way and to get Office Insider support from the Office team.

Office feature release timing across devices

Given the breadth of devices and platforms on which Office is available, the features covered in today’s blog will be rolling out across platforms over time as part of the regular updates available from Office 365. These capabilities are mostly available with today’s releases for iPad and iPad Pro, and will be largely rolling out to Office Insider participants for Office 2016 on Windows desktops, Office Mobile on Windows tablets, and Office on Android tablets in the coming weeks. Please follow @OfficeInsider on Twitter for the latest release announcements.

For more details on today’s new inking tools, please check here. When inking and collaboration capabilities arrive for Windows desktops, more information will be available here. In the meantime, Office 365 Home and Personal customers are encouraged to sign up for Office Insider builds so that you can be the first to use the latest and greatest in Office productivity.

—Kirk Koenigsbauer

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