office 2016Microsoft has recently released its 2016 version of Microsoft Office, which is the first time the software package has been updated since 2013. Approximately 1.2 billion people use Microsoft Office for its various programs and their diverse functionalities. Although many new features have been introduced or updated, this article covers the main things you need to know. The most important features Microsoft has introduced in this update are Real-Time Collaboration, Tell Me and Smart Lookup.

If you are currently a user of Office 365 or Google Apps, then you are probably familiar with the concept of real-time collaboration. Historically, whenever you worked on a Microsoft Office document as a team, you would send your work to a co-worker, wait for their additions and have them send it back so you could make further revisions. With Real-Time Collaboration, you are able to edit the document and share it as the edits are being made. This allows for multiple authors to be working on a single document at the same time, letting co-authors watch changes as they happen.

Tell Me is similar to the previous assistant in Microsoft Office. Remember the pesky paper-clip that never seemed to leave you alone? The difference with Tell Me is that is a lot more useful and more subtle. When you are working on a document, excel file or something else and want to do something that you don’t know how to do, just type it into the Tell Me toolbar. For example, if you are trying to create a footer in Microsoft Word and are unable to figure out how to do so, just type it into the Tell Me toolbar and you’ll be provided with clear instructions on how to do it.

Whenever I accidentally come across Bing search, the only thing I use it for is to search for Google. That being said, the new Smart Lookup feature appears to make Bing search relevant again. Smart Lookup allows you to make instant web searches within your document so you can easily conduct research, fact check or search a word without having to leave your document. In theory, this will allow you to focus on your document for longer periods of time and improve your efficiency.

The 2016 version of Office seems to focus primarily on integration into the cloud and team collaboration.  The three features covered here make it easier to work as a team and to make use of the various Microsoft programs without the need for third-party assistance. In addition to these upgrades, there are a few minor aesthetic upgrades and new options for charts and graphs in Excel. Overall, Microsoft Office 2016 is a welcome upgrade from its predecessor and provides a greater ease of use for all different types of users in the modern, more collaborative and often cloud-based workplace.

If you’d like to learn more about the new features of Office 2016, you can check out this overview from Microsoft:

Written by: Steve Ciniello, Marketing Intern

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