Feature Articles

Microsoft launches Office 2016 with a focus on collaboration and sharing

By Koh Wanzi - 22 Sep 2015

Microsoft launches Office 2016 with a focus on collaboration and sharing (Updated)

Image Source: Microsoft

Updated on 23 September 2015: Added prices of perpetual license copies of Office 2016.

Originally published on 22 September 2015:

A new office for the modern era

Microsoft has unveiled Office 2016, its latest suite of Office software that comes packed with new tools to collaborate, share, and cut down on time wasted on mundane tasks like hunting for a particular email. The updated apps are just the latest addition to Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based subscription service.

When it comes to matters of productivity, employees are finding that work is no longer confined to the office or even in a single time zone. According to Microsoft, around 71% of employees spend at least part of their work day outside the office. And given that many companies have offices around the globe, it is imperative that there be an easy and intuitive way to work in real-time.


More Intuitive Access

Office 2016 has been designed to address these concerns and many similar ones in a changing, global workplace. For example, Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote will now support real-time co-authoring à la Google Docs style, which means that multiple parties will be able to view and edit the same document in real time.

Users will be able to invite people to edit the document from within the program itself, and a list of contributors – including detailed statuses on whether they are currently editing the document – is displayed in a pop-out sidebar on the right.

Office 2016 now supports real-time co-authoring. (Image Source: Microsoft)

But when multiple people can edit a document, it becomes more important to be able to keep track of version history, and Microsoft has thought of that as well. A detailed history of past edits can be pulled up, along with the name of the person who edited it.

It's now easy to keep track of edits and version histories. (Image Source: Microsoft)

Another key feature is Smart Lookup, which allows users to highlight a word or phrase in the document or slide, hit the Smart Lookup button in the toolbar, and view Web search results without leaving the app.

Smart Lookup is a one-click method of searching for a particular word or phrase on the Web, except you never have to leave the app you're in. (Image Source: Microsoft)

Then there’s Tell Me, an intelligent search bar that helps users cut through the navigation thicket of searching for a particular formatting tool or tracking down an elusive email. The search bar sits next to the main tabbed navigation bar, and you can key in the action you want to perform. It’s fairly conversational, something along the lines of “search for emails from John”.

The "Tell Me" search bar is outlined in red. (Image Source: Microsoft)


Office for Businesses

Microsoft also introduced Office 365 Planner to help teams organize their work. Tasks are listed clearly in a sidebar, and bar charts are available to show the distribution of workloads among team members. Tasks can also be grouped according to whether they have been completed, are currently being worked on, or are even late, so users can get a quick view of overall progress.

Planner provides a way to manage and distribute tasks among team members. (Image Source: Microsoft)

In addition, Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook also now come with built-in data loss prevention to allow IT administrators to better manage document sharing and content authoring policies.

Documents can also be protected with multi-factor authentication, which is expressly designed to facilitate secure access to content when users are away from their corporate networks.


New Apps

Apps like Sway and Delve have also been updated. Sway is Microsoft’s digital storytelling app, intended to enable users to create rich and visually compelling layouts and content. For more details about Sway, you can refer to point 5 in our Office 2016 FAQ.

Sway is a storytelling app to help you organize content, photos and video in a visually compelling way. (Image Source: Microsoft)

Delve is another interesting recent addition. It provides users with a clear overview of everything they’re working on across all Office 2016 apps, so there’s no need to look for individual files. It almost looks like a social media profile, except your timeline is populated by your document history instead of where you went last night.

A sidebar at the left serves as a friend list of sorts, and you can click on co-workers’ profiles to see what they’re working on as well. And if you’d like to check to see who is working on a specific document, the search function will let you do that too.

Delve provides users with a clear overview of everything they're working on currently. (Image Source: Microsoft)

Price and Availability

Starting today, Office 2016 will be rolled out to existing Office 365 subscribers and the Microsoft Store. Copies will also be available as a one-time purchase for both PCs and Macs.

Pricing remains unchanged from the previous version, and it will cost S$13.80/month (or S$138/year) for Office 365 Home (5 users) and S$9.80/month (or S$98/year) for Office 365 Personal (1 user). Office 365 University is also available to students at S$108 for a four-year subscription. Alternatively, if you want to purchase a standalone copy with a perpetual license, here are the prices of the different SKUs:

  Office Home & Student 2016 Office Home & Business 2016 Office Professional 2016
Price S$209 S$319 S$549

Looking for perpetually-licensed Office 2016 for the Mac? We've the details here.

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