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Microsoft Office for Mac 2016 officially released, free upgrade to Office 365 subscribers

10 July 2015, Nick Peers

Office for Mac 2016Four months after unveiling a public pre-release version, Microsoft has released Office for Mac 2016 FINAL. The new release is available now as a free in-place upgrade for existing Office 365 subscribers, with the final standalone-purchase version held back until September.

Office for Mac 2016 ships with five components: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote. It boasts a refreshed and optimised codebase, Retina-friendly visuals and support for full-screen mode.

Office for Mac 2016 launched as a Preview back in March, and thanks to feedback from 100,000 users, Microsoft was able to roll out seven updates over the four-month testing period that it claims has helped boost performance and stability. Going forward, Microsoft has promised to release updates and new features for Office 2016 at least once a quarter.

PowerPoint for Mac 2016

The core Office apps – including PowerPoint – get a refreshed look for 2016.

The new release is the first major update for five years, and sees Microsoft refocus its efforts on capturing a portion of the Mac office market, in part due to a gap opened up by Apple’s dumbing down of its iWork suite.

Office 2016 is all about the cloud – it’s tightly integrated into Microsoft’s OneDrive and SharePoint services. Of the five components, both Outlook and OneNote are available separately, and had already been updated to showcase the modern Office look that has already been rolled out on other platforms – including iPad and Windows. With Office for Mac 2016, this look has now been extended to the core components: Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

Veteran users will notice the ribbon has been updated along with the task pane to make features more immediate and visible. Word users gain a handy new Design tab for managing a document’s layout, and a Navigation sidebar (confusingly referred to as Document Sidebar) for working more efficiently with larger documents.

Excel’s new features bring it in line with Excel 2013 on Windows, and include a new Analysis Toolpak offering a wide number of statistical functions, as well as a PivotTable Slicer, which is designed to pick out patterns from large volumes of data.

PowerPoint debuts a new Presenter View that makes it easier than ever to present your slideshow, plus a new animation pane is supplemented with a number of new slide transition effects.

Existing preview users can continue to use the software prior to upgrading to the full version – Microsoft has built-in a grace period of one month before the final preview expires.

Microsoft Office for Mac 2016 FINAL is available now as a free update to all Mac users with a valid Office 365 subscription, with prices starting from $6.99 per month for a single user. OS X Yosemite is required. A consumer preview of Office 2016 for Windows users is also available.

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