Microsoft announced the availability of Office 2016 for Mac preview last week. The preview offers access to the next version of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote. The official launch will happen in the second half of this year, so Mac users will have a little bit longer to wait for their overdue version of the office suite.
Long time Mac users will know that Microsoft had 2001, 2004, 2008 and 2011 versions of Office for Mac, following the 2000, 2003, 2007, and 2010 versions for Windows. However, while Windows had Office 2013, the Mac missed out on Office 2014. There wasn’t a 2015 either. Better late than never.
The Mac version has always been a little different from the equivalent Windows one. It seems like more thought had gone into the user experience design. Indeed, Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office 365 Client Apps and Services team, wrote that “Office 2016 for Mac shares an unmistakably Office experience — but is also thoughtfully designed to take advantage of the unique features of the Mac.”
My Office needs are simple. I don’t use Outlook and OneNote. I use lots of Word and Excel and occasionally PowerPoint. My Word documents never get very complicated, but it definitely goes far beyond letter writing. For a long time, I’ve tried many Word-alternatives, but they never work out. I find myself often working on Word documents collaboratively, meaning the files need to be passed around and edited (or vetted) by several people, and anything but the basic formatting tends to screw up majorly when you open them up with the different Office suite alternatives.
At one time, I figured that presentations are something I pretty much work on my own, and hence ventured out to try Keynote. Keynote didn’t work out for me either.
Office 2016 for Mac is unmistakably Office, and should be completely familiar with any Office user. There is now a strong integration with Microsoft’s cloud service, OneDrive, enabling you to open and save documents to cloud storage. With cross-platform Office also available on Android and iOS devices, Google will find it tough to compete with their own office suite.
A nice thing about the OneDrive integration is that Office 2016 for Mac can access multiple accounts at the same time. It’s not uncommon for individuals to have more than once account these days. Unfortunately, only OneDrive is supported, not any other cloud storage services.
Office 2011 for Mac is becoming to look a bit dated. In fact, it already looked a little odd back in 2010. It was actually closer to its Windows counterpart than Office 2008 for Mac was. Thankfully Office 2016 for Mac is looking better, even though it is simply closer to the Windows version in looks.
Sadly, Office 2016 for Mac remains a 32-bit application. I know, some people might ask why does it matter so long as the app runs properly and smoothly. But in this age, it seems a bit of a dinosaur to have a huge app still not making the move to 64-bits. Will it take Apple to abandon 32-bit app support for Microsoft to catch up?
If you want to try out Office 2016 for Mac preview, head over to the Office download page.