Microsoft is modernizing their office and yours
Windows 8.1 / Windows 8 / Windows 7
Office 2016 upgrades the software in almost every sense of the word, but it does not happen in the way you initially expect. It operates similar to how Windows 10 ties phones, desktops, laptops, and tablets all together in a knot. The new technology adds another layer of intelligence, and with Office 2016, you connect to coworkers and use the built-in technology for more enjoyment.
Not Many Changes from Office 2013
If you're still using Office 2013, you can feel at ease because a lot of Office 2016's applications cannot be distinguished from the previous versions. The look and overall features are pretty much the same. You have the basic Office apps, but Microsoft added some new spice with their Sway app for light content creation. In addition, they have Delve. Where the real difference comes in at is collaboration through the cloud, which makes a real difference with Office 2016. Also, you are now encouraged to share your documents with the online community, and you have a more collaborative work environment.
Runs Best with Office 365
Microsoft takes us into a brave new world, and the best way to enjoy the software is through the subscription service. In that way, you receive automatic updates, and you can use the most advanced features without having to stop and update them. It is possible to buy Office 2016 as a standalone product, but Office 365 actually costs less through a monthly subscription. With a subscription, you can install the software on up to five different devices or phones.
Excel: The Indispensable Tool
You could find entire professions built on the everyday tool of Excel. To name a few, you have financiers, statisticians, and data scientists. Admittedly, Microsoft has had a hard time upgrading the tool because it has turned into an essential component of Office. It is an everyday tool. One of the new features of the software; however, is a small box in the ribbon that will say, "Tell me what to do." This feature cuts through the muddled confusion of past Microsoft Office products. Essentially, this becomes a search box similar to what you had with Bing. Nevertheless, it adds a little context around your phrase, and you no longer have these numerous menus and sub-menus to navigate. Want to justify a group of cells? All you have to type is "justify a group of cells." The suggestions continue to change as you type.
Where Excel Changed
In the past, you may have seen applications like Excel and PowerPoint as more of an offline application. That viewpoint changes in Office 2016. You now have a more practical solution than posting links online or sharing files via email. Instead, Excel takes on a new approach where you now have a virtual work environment. If you aren't connected; however, keep in mind how the software will only load a handful of templates. Still, the overall look stays largely the same as what you had with previous versions.
Word: Richer Documents with Greater Context
Known as a centerpiece application found in Office, you can rest assured, Office 2016 has this app in a way that's better than ever before. In some ways, it stayed the same, but Microsoft has a keen business sense for selling people on a single new feature. In 2013, that feature was called, "Smart Lookup." You only had a limited number of choices, and there was a small formatting window. You had options to link a phrase, check the spelling and look at the grammar. Office 2016 takes the past idea with "Smart Lookup," and it supercharges it to the fullest. Like Bing, you might see some information surrounding the content. Where Smart Lookup takes it a step further is you can now drag the image over to the body of your text. You can right-click and copy your text into Wikipedia.
PowerPoint Struggle to Make an Impact
Likely one of the worst areas for Office 2016 is with PowerPoint. You know the tool as a powerful creator for most of your modern presentations. In the upper right-hand corner with most of the Office 2016 apps, you have a "Share" button. This is where you can collaborate. The sharing experience; however, might differ greatly with the apps like Word and PowerPoint. When you use Word to collaborate, you will first save the document over in the cloud. After that, you invite your collaborators to edit the document. Next, you use the share button and open the in-app message box. This sounds confusing, and you can simply send a link. In most cases, the link will be enough, and you can build the permissions into the link.
This is where Word differs from PowerPoint. For some reason, PowerPoint takes a divergent approach here. Most of the collaboration in Word will be different. While you can still send links to your collaborators, comment, and make changes, but you cannot manage the changes or restrict how they make the changes. To make matters worse, the revisions to the PowerPoint presentation only show up if you hit the tiny "Save" icon. You will find this at the bottom of the screen. Nevertheless, it will be almost impossible to find unless you know to look for it.
In general, Office 2016 is a lot of what you might expect. It's the type of program that might come in handy if you have a real need for updated applications with the latest technology, but in all honesty, is it worth the upscale price tag? For most people, they will not need the few updates made to get the job done. It feels like more of a money grab. There's nothing overly innovative about Office 2016 that you couldn't get in Office 2013.