Major Office for Mac update out now!

Back in October we told you interesting things were coming to Office 2016 for Mac, well now they’re here.

Microsoft has pushed out a major update to Office 2016 for Mac with not just new features but significant changes ‘under the hood’.

Version 16.9.0, build 18011602 has ‘new’ features which will be familiar to Office 2016 for Window users like

  • Real-time collaboration in Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
  • AutoSave for cloud stored documents
  • Improved Open menu with frequently used sites and groups
  • Google Calendar and Contacts support in Outlook for Mac
  • Archive/Delete emails with swipe actions on the touchpad.
  • Excel Charts – more charts like funnel, sunburst and histogram
  • Excel Maps – the much improved mapping in Excel for Windows is now available to Mac users.
  • PowerPoint QuickStarter

Shared Codebase

Microsoft loves to boast that the Office products share a lot of common code.  But it’s not been true for the last two decades.

Common code means the different types of Office (Windows, Mac, Apple, Android) should run more consistently.  It also means that bug fixes and changed features should be deployed more quickly.

According to a tweet from Erik Schwiebert on the Office for Mac team, Office for Mac 2016 v16 returns to the single codebase after many years existing on it’s own branch.

That’s a good thing overall, but such a fundamental change to the software might mean some teething troubles for Mac users.  If you’ve got a critical deadline looming you might prefer to switch Microsoft AutoUpdate to Manual until you’re ready.

Some commentators are already hyperventilating about the idea of Office for Mac having the same features as Office for Windows.  Forget it.  Ain’t Gonna Happen.  Microsoft might make polite noises but the company has every reason to ensure that the Windows versions of Office is superior to the MS Office versions for other, non Microsoft, platforms.

Burying the Lede

There’s not been a big Microsoft PR push for these changes.  No official blog posting about how ‘excited’ the team is and gushing about the ‘new’ Mac features.

Even the important codebase change isn’t mentioned in the official Release Notes.  We only know about the codebase change because of a single tweet from the personal Twitter account of a Redmond executive.

Full Change List

Here’s the full change list for Office 2016 for Mac in the 18 January update as supplied by Microsoft.

Word

  • Edit with others in real time:Thumbnails in the upper-right corner of the window show who else is working with you in a shared document. Flag icons show where others are working and you can view changes as they type.
  • We save for you!Changes are saved automatically for documents, worksheets, and presentations stored in the cloud, and you can see others’ updates in seconds. Need to roll back? Check the version history for a list of changes and access to earlier versions.
  • Quickly access your sites and groups:Quickly find presentations stored in your frequently used sites and groups in the Open menu.

Excel

  • Collaborative editing:Work with others at the same time in your workbook. Thumbnails in the upper-right corner of the window show who else is viewing or editing the file with you.
  • We save for you!Changes are saved automatically for documents, worksheets, and presentations stored in the cloud, and you can see others’ updates in seconds. Need to roll back? Check the version history for a list of changes and access to earlier versions.
  • More charts:Use new charts, such as funnel, sunburst and histogram, to transform your data into professional visualizations, or use the new Map chart type to transform geographic data into a map with just a few steps.
  • More functions:Shorten the formulas you write using the new logical functions IFS and SWITCH.
  • Quickly access your sites and groups:Quickly find presentations stored in your frequently used sites and groups in the Open menu.
  • Better support for PivotTable charts: Change your filters in a PivotTable, and the chart you created will automatically adjust to show exactly what you want.
  • Multi-threaded calculation Formulas are updated faster when values are changed, because Excel uses multiple processing threads.

PowerPoint

  • Edit with others in real time: Thumbnails in the upper-right corner of the window show who else is working with you in a shared document. Flag icons show where others are working and you can view changes as they type.
  • We save for you! Changes are saved automatically for documents, worksheets, and presentations stored in the cloud, and you can see others’ updates in seconds. Need to roll back? Check the version history for a list of changes and access to earlier versions.
  • See what’s changed:Slides that have been modified by others while you were away are highlighted.
  • A quick start to your research: Starting from scratch is hard. QuickStarter automatically creates an outline for your topic of choice with suggested talking points and designs that make your presentation pop.
  • Trim media:Remove unwanted content from the beginning or end of an audio or video clip.
  • Quickly access your sites and groups: Quickly find presentations stored in your frequently used sites and groups in the Open menu.
  • Laser pointer in Slide Show: Use your mouse as a laser pointer to draw attention to certain parts of your slide.

Outlook

  • Archive or delete with just one swipe: Save time organizing your Inbox by swiping left with two fingers across the touchpad to archive an email or swiping right to delete it.
  • Support for Google Calendar and Contacts: No need to move between apps! Manage your Google Calendar and Contacts without leaving Outlook.

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