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Grow Your Business Technology

You Can Now Preview Office 2016 and Skype for Business

You Can Now Preview Office 2016 and Skype for Business
Credit: Microsoft

There will be some big changes to Microsoft Office, and your business can try them first.

Microsoft is now rolling out preview versions of the new Office 2016 and Skype for Business. Here's what the two new solutions have to offer and how they can help your business.

Previously launched as a private preview, Office 2016 is now available for commercial Office 365 users. This gives IT teams and developers a chance to test the product and provide feedback. They can also be the first to try new features that are issued via monthly updates. [Skype Adds Lync Connectivity for Cross-Platform Video Calls]

The Office 2016 Preview offers a host of new capabilities that are especially useful for businesses. These enhancements include:

  • Data Loss Protection (DLP) for Word, Excel and PowerPoint. DLP lets IT administrators control content authoring and document sharing. It does so by allowing administrators to create, manage and enforce policies. Before Office 2016, that feature was available only in Exchange, Outlook, SharePoint and OneDrive for Business.
  • Outlook will now support multifactor authentication, deliver emails faster, and offer improved search, MAPI-HTTP connectivity, better storage management and more.
  • "Click-to-Run" deployment for Office 365 users. This includes Background Intelligence Transfer Service (BITS) to avoid network congestion, more control over updates and bug fixes, more efficient update distribution, new device activation processes, and more.
  • Enhanced accessibility is offered, for instance, keyboard shortcuts for PivotTables in Excel, fixed readability issues in Outlook and dark themes to aid visually impaired users.
  • Information Rights Management (IRM) to protect Visio files on- and offline.

To learn more about and download the Office 2016 Preview program, visit the Office 2016 Preview section at Microsoft Connect.

Microsoft is also now letting users preview its new collaboration tool, Skype for Business. Formerly Microsoft Lync, Skype for Business takes everything Lync has to offer and improves the service with additional capabilities. Users can also now search for and connect with anyone on the Skype network, including those outside of an organization.

Skype for Business is built right into Office. This allows users to IM, make voice and video calls, and hold online meetings straight from the Office platform. Skype for Business is compatible with most systems that already have the software and hardware for Lync 2013.

Businesses can get more information on test driving the Skype for Business Client Preview from Microsoft's TechNet. The preview will be available from March 16 until April 30, 2015. Microsoft says Skype for Business will be generally available in April.

Sara Angeles

Sara is a tech writer with a background in business and marketing. After graduating from UC Irvine, she worked as a copywriter and blogger for nonprofit organizations, tech labs and lifestyle companies. She started freelancing in 2009 and joined Business News Daily in 2013. Follow Sara Angeles on Twitter @sara_angeles.