Summary: Office 2016 will be released this fall. Below is a summary of the new features. If you are on Office 365 you will be upgraded automatically.
Every time Microsoft releases a new version of Office there is a new look. This is Microsoft's way of convincing people that they are getting something for their money by making cosmetic changes. If you are on Office 365 this is really not necessary as you automatically get the new release. The new look this time is the color scheme.
The default now is 'Colorful' which matches the look of the Windows 10.
Microsoft dropped The Dark theme from Office 2013 and it is back for Office 2016. For Office 2016, Microsoft is now saying 'Dark' is an accessibility option for people who find the brighter displays and colors too difficult to read.
With the cosmetic features out of the way, there's more useful things to look at.
A New help system called Tell Me
This is a a more natural and useful help system that's been tested with Office Online for some time. Instead of the traditional way of trying to guess the name of a command, you type in what you want to do ( 'add a PivotTable' , 'sort by columns' etc.) and 'Tell Me' will recommend solutions and provide links to the functions. To save time the last five commands are displayed to let you access repeat queries.
Backstage is the name for the options on the File menu in Office 2013. Many users found it to be confusing so it has been rearranged. The browse button has moved to the top of the listing instead of hiding at the bottom.
The order of the storage locations has been changed. Microsoft says this is to 'reduce confusion' however it seems like a continuing effort to force their cloud storage options on to customers.
Locations will now appear in the order: One Drive, OneDrive for Business , Online Locations (SharePoint etc) and lastly local computer. This might suit Microsoft's corporate strategy but not necessarily customers who would prefer to put locations in an order that suits them.
THE orientation of a Picture
Office has always had a problem with the orientation when you import a picture. Office 2016 finally gets it right.
With the advent of handheld devices with relatively small amounts of disk space Outlook can't possibly cope with a PST/OST file with all your email etc. Outlook 2013 let Exchange Server customers keep just the last months data locally with the rest on the server. Outlook 2016 will give you choices of 14, 7, 3 or even one day only if your computer is really short of disk space.
For Outlook on smaller screens, there's an alternative viewing mode where the reading pane appears when you select a message. Most recently used documents can be selection from the ribbon or action bar to become email attachments.
Most of the changes in Excel are in the 'Business Intelligence' area.
- Read only mode. This opens up a workbook via SharePoint in a read only mode.
- Field Lists. The field lists in Pivot Tables and Pivot Charts are now searchable so scrolling down long lists should not be necessary.
- PowerQuery - the Excel 2010/2013 addon is now intergrated into Excel 2016.
Forecasting. Some new functions to predict future values from existing data.
I will talk about the changes to Word and PowerPoint in a future issue of my Office Tips. Office 2016 is due out in the second half of this year.
- Forecast.ETS() - Returns the forecasted value for a specific future target date.
- Forecast.ETS.Confint() - Returns a confidence interval for the forecast value at the specified target date.
- Forecast.ETS.Seasonality() - Returns the length of the repetitive pattern Excel detects for the specified time series
- PivotTable Time grouping is now available over Data Model PivotTable.
- PowerView in Excel 2016 has an Online Analytical Processing (OLAP) cube connection.
- Automatic relationship detection for everyone using Office 365. In a Data Model PivotTable with two or more tables but no relationships, there's a notification to run Automatic relationship detection.
- Business Intelligence (BI) features Power View, Power Pivot and Power Map are now automatically applied. If you select one of the BI components, the others will become available automatically.
If you have an Office 365 ProPlus, Business Premium or Enterprise E3 licence (that means business users) you can now try out an early version of Office 2016 for Windows. For the link to download a preview version of Office 2016 CLICK HERE.
The usual caution applies. Don't run this on a working machine. I have it loaded on my test notebook with Windows 10 as the operating system.
Note: We will be demonstrating both Windows 10 and Office 2016 in some of the K2E Canada Inc. seminars during the remainder of this year. It will also be part of my Tech Update keynote at the 2015 Institute of Professional Bookkeepers of Canada annual conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario.