Microsoft just released Office 2016, which is available for Windows and Mac.  This is the first time that the Windows and Mac versions are released together on a consistent platform. They did not reinvent the wheel. The interface remains mostly unchanged. This is an incremental update that introduces new features and a richer connection to the OneDrive cloud storage service. The Apple (iOS) and Google Android Office apps for mobile devices have also been updated. They feature most of the new features and will work along with the desktop applications and can seamlessly connect to your files via the OneDrive cloud storage service.

Microsoft is incentivizing users to a move towards their Office 365 subscription plan, as opposed to the one time purchase option, with the new 2016 release. Office 365 subscribers can update to the new Office 2016 as part of their service plan and install a local copy. Most of the new value added features are only available if you are using the OneDrive service.

With the Office 365 subscription plan and OneDrive service, Office 2016 allows coauthoring in Word, PowerPoint and OneNote. You can view the edits made by others and refer back to snapshots during the editing process. This will enhance productivity and allow users to collaborate on a single file simultaneously. Google has had this feature in their online Google Docs app for quite some time. Users can also create, open, edit and save files in the cloud from the desktop application.

Word 2016 has a Wikipedia application that runs within Word. It allows you to research and fact check without leaving the application. “Tell Me” is a new search tool that helps you get started on what you want to work on. “Insights” allows the user to provide contextual information from the web via Bing. Office 2016 also supports Microsoft’s new “Data Loss Prevention (DLP) Program”, which allows you to identify and monitor sensitive information, such as private identification numbers, credit card numbers, or standard forms used in your organization. Excel has new chart types that were not previously available.

Outlook 2016 supports Clutter, an email filtering option, OneDrive attachment integrations and Groups exclusively for Office 365 users. Outlook 2016 also contains a feature that allows the user to attach files to Outlook directly from OneDrive and configure permissions. Many companies are opting to migrate their existing on premise Exchange server to the Office 365, cloud based email service. This takes away much of the cost and headache that is associated with managing an on premise Exchange server.

With all these powerful, cloud based features, Microsoft has made it easy to decide on their Office 365 Cloud based subscription model as opposed to the one time, on premise purchase option. It is also nice to see that they have implemented similar features that Google had already created in their offerings. If you need assistance in deciding on which approach your business should take or want to migrate over to the Office 365 platform, call Southeastern Computer Associates at 678-401-2465 or email to itresource@sca-atl.com.