The latest iteration of Microsoft's Office suite looks packed with new, productivity-boosting features. Microsoft Office 2016 — which includes new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook — is set to launch alongside Windows 10 this summer. Here's a rundown of the additions we're most excited about.
One of the most interesting new features is the ability for developers to build extensions — small programs that run alongside Office — to let you do more without juggling multiple applications.
Microsoft demonstrated the new functionality by showcasing some extensions for Outlook, the company's email and calendar application. For example, the Uber application will let you set a reminder to book a cab directly within your Outlook calendar. When the time comes, you will automatically be reminded with a notification on your desktop, and have the option to book a ride with one click — the extension can even automatically grab time and destination information from corresponding emails in your inbox.
You also will get the ability to send money directly from your inbox using the PayPal add-on, or draft emails and schedule them for a later delivery with the Boomerang add-on.
And there are add-ons planned for other Office apps, too, like DocuSign for Word, which provides a secure authentication panel in which to digitally sign documents, or the PicHit.me pictures library for PowerPoint, which gives you access to a huge online photo library to help you build visually striking presentations.
Microsoft is also beefing up the security options for the 2016 Office apps. That includes the introduction of Data Loss Protection (DLP) functionality to Word, Excel and PowerPoint. DLP lets you set parameters on Office documents, ensuring that users do not send sensitive information outside of a company network by accident. Another noteworthy new security feature is two-factor authentication for Outlook, to ensure that only you can access your inbox.
Insights for Office
The new Insights for Office can help you polish your documents by bringing outside resources right into Microsoft Word. When reviewing a document, you can highlight a word to instantly access resources like images, definitions and other references in a sidebar. The feature is powered by Bing, Microsoft's search engine.
Universal office apps
Microsoft wants to blur the line between the mobile and desktop devices with Windows 10, so the company is prepping a new "universal" version of Office 2016 that will launch alongside the desktop suite. The universal apps are touch-optimized and feature scaling interfaces. That means they'll work equally well whether you're running them on your desktop workstation, your tablet or even your smartphone.