www.office.com/setup Blogs: I think you will agree with me when I say:
That’s usually how it always goes with new software and smarter features. But it’s a different thing when every seventh person in the world uses Microsoft Office and so do 83% of the Fortune 500 companies. Yes, Microsoft Office 2016 is now out in the glare. And its time you considered upgrading.
But do you need to?
Well, you can arrive at that decision in the few minutes it takes to read the 13 main reasons.
The First Change You Will Instantly Spot
Different colors. Actually.
Microsoft Office 2016 introduces Colorful which is the default theme and each app gets a different color. Word is dark blue, Excel is green, PowerPoint is orange, Outlook is light-blue, and OneNote is purple. That helps to alleviate the whitish monotony of the previous versions.
As always, you can change the color to any among the three choices from File > Account > Office Theme.
Labels on the Ribbon tabs are now in title case. These are two little changes and hardly one that will convince you to switch to the latest version. But it’s nice to make a pleasant beginning before we get to the heavy features.
Get More Done with Some “Tell Me” Assistance
For those who have felt lost among the endless options in Office, the Tell me what you want to do is Clippy’s smarter cousin. Notice the little bulb icon in the middle of the Ribbon. It is intelligence personified – you just have to tell it what you want to do. No digging for commands or shoveling through the Help file.
Type what you want to do in the Office program and the little genie not only shows you how to do it, like a help feature, but let’s you do it directly from here.
For instance: if you want to adjust line spacing, but don’t know how to do it, just type it in the little field. The line spacing options are displayed in an eye blink.
This feature is available across all programs in Office 2016 except OneNote. Maybe, they will include it in the next update but for now the feature makes Office mastery easier and tasks swifter. Even though, I can’t say it came back perfect when I tried it with the obscure commands in Office.
Collaborate and Co-Author in Real Time
If collaboration isn’t real time, it isn’t collaboration in the true sense. Collaboration wasn’t real time in Microsoft Office 2013 (via OneDrive) and it suffered when compared to Google Drive. The missing link — real time co-authoring — is now the core feature of Office 2016. Team workflow is more productive as you can now instantly see what your team members are doing in a Word document or a PowerPoint presentation.
The co-authors receive an email invite and as soon as they join, you can see their profile pictures in the Share panel alongside the document. With real-time typing, watch what others are working on and view their edits as they happen. Office locks the edits so that you can’t work on the same part. That’s a tiny feature, but it is sensible when multiple people are working on the same document.
Also, notice the change in the Save icon in the top right.
Office also retains versions of previous edits in the History section of the File menu. The Microsoft Office Blog explains how to share with a click of a button.
Pro Tip: With Office 2016, you can share a OneNote notebook with anyone you want. Add documents, images, videos, worksheets, or emails and a notebook can be a single-click container for group projects.
Visualize Data Better with New Chart Types
How useful are they? Very.
An instance: A Treemap chart can be used to display a high level view of your data. With the right color coding your eyes can spot the patterns and proportional differences between different sets of data. You can get a bird’s eye view of large data sets easily, without becoming mired in the confusing individual items. For example, compare the population densities of all U.S. states.
Of course, a chart can only be as good as the data it represents. But with the multiple charting options now available, Microsoft Office 2016 gives you more ways to work with the data. Earlier, an extra add-in would have performed a similar function.
Visit the Office Blog to learn more about the modern chart types.
Pro Tip: In Excel 2016, use the Quick Analysis button (right-click context menu) to display a preview of the recommended chart as per your data.
Handwrite Equations Quicker with Ink Equations
Working with math equations is easier in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint now. Go to Insert > Equation > Ink Equation. For touch-enabled devices, you can use your finger or a touch stylus to write math equations by hand. You can also use the mouse in the Write box. The Office software converts it into text.
Pro Tip: The equation editor has a Select and Correct option if Office fails to recognize the symbols. Draw a marquee around the symbol and choose from one of the alternatives provided.
Go to Smart Lookup for Extra Information
Highlight a term and use the Bing-powered Smart Lookup in Office 2016 (Insights) to bring in search results from the Web. A sidebar opens on the right side of the apps with search results from various websites like Wikipedia. You can drag and drop the information into your authoring environment.
Pro Tip: In Excel, select a cell with a formula and use Smart Lookup to understand its function with the description Bing brings up.
New Features in Microsoft Office Apps that Make a Difference
There are some specific features exclusive to the apps in the Microsoft suite. Here’s the short look.
Microsoft Excel 2016
Power Query Goes Native
Power Query is a business intelligence tool that is available as an add-in in Microsoft Excel 2013 and 2010. It also works with only PowerPivot in Excel Professional Plus. With the arrival of Query in Excel 2016, the two obstacles have been removed. Access Query from Ribbon > Data > Get & Transform > New Query.