[Review] What’s New in Microsoft Office 2016?
Recently we told you about the free public preview release of the new Microsoft Office 2016 suite. You can download and install the free Office 2016 Preview in your computer to test its new features and changes using following link:
Microsoft has made many changes and improvements in the user interface as well as functionality of all Office programs in this new version. Some new features have also been added as usual.
Today in this exclusive review article, we are going to talk about all new features and changes present in Office 2016. We'll also try to compare various features of Office 2016 with Office 2013 in this article.
So without wasting time, let's start the article:
Office 2016 Setup and Installation:
First of all lets talk about the installation process. Microsoft has not provided any offline installer or standalone ISO files of Office 2016 Preview. The company has just released a small online installer which is also known as Click-To-Run (C2R) installer to install the free preview in all computers.
So you'll need a working Internet connection at installation time so that the Office installer can download or stream the required Office files from Microsoft server.
It takes a few minutes depending upon the Internet connection speed in completing the installation process. Everything is fully automatic and unattended. You don't need to enter any information. Just run the installer and wait for the completion.
Office 2016 Activation:
After installation when you'll launch any Office 2016 program, it'll ask for activation. Click on "Enter a product key instead" link given below the next button as shown in following screenshot:
Now enter following key and click on Install button to finish activation process:
The above mentioned product key has been provided by Microsoft to activate the free Preview version of Office 2016.
New Themes in Office 2016:
When Microsoft was working on previous version of Office suite i.e. Office 2013, the company released a free Customer Preview version of Office 2013 to public so that people could test the new features and provide feedback and suggestions. Microsoft removed Aero glass transparency from Office 2013 UI. Also the company introduced a new White theme in all Office 2013 programs which didn't get good reaction from users. People were getting mad because of the too much white space in all Office 2013 programs.
Microsoft listened users and added 2 new color schemes / themes in Office 2013 final RTM version: Light Gray and Dark Gray as mentioned in following article:
But people were still angry with the white interface in Office apps.
Now to make everyone happy, Microsoft has finally added 2 more themes in Office 2016 programs. So you get total 5 themes in Office 2016 which are as following:
- Colorful (default)
- Light Gray
- Medium Gray
- Dark Gray
Now the default theme is set to "Colorful" in all Office 2016 programs so you won't get any white space problem. The default Colorful theme is awesome and shows each Office 2016 program in different color.
Previous "Light Gray" theme remains unchanged but the "Dark Gray" theme has been renamed to "Medium Gray" which is correct decision IMO as the previous Dark Gray theme was not dark at all.
The new "Dark Gray" theme is a welcomed addition and will definitely please all Office 2016 users. It provides a dark UI in all Office 2016 programs and dark theme lovers will love this new theme.
Do we need to say anything about "White" theme? Its same as Office 2013 but not applied as default theme.
You can access and change all these themes by going to File -> Account -> Office Theme section.
Just select any desired theme from the drop-down box and it'll immediately change the interface.
No CAPS in Tab Titles in Office 2016 Ribbon:
Another issue in Office 2013 was the use of too much CAPS in tab titles of ribbon. In Office 2013, the tab titles were shown in all caps in the ribbon and people were not comfortable with it.
We provided a tutorial to get rid of the caps issue and show normal tab titles in Office 2013 ribbon:
But in Office 2016, you'll not need to use any tutorial because Microsoft has decided to not use all caps in tab titles. In Office 2016, tab titles in ribbon are shown in normal title case.
Another welcomed move from Microsoft.
New "Tell Me" Search Assistant in Office 2016:
When you'll launch any Office 2016 program for the first time, you'll immediately notice the new Search box present in the ribbon. This new search box contains "Tell me what you want to do..." text inside it and that's why its called "Tell Me" tool.
At the moment "Tell Me" search tool is available in Word, PowerPoint and Excel programs only. You can click inside the search box and type any desired query. It'll show list of helpful commands to choose from.
New Office Updates Settings:
As far as I remember these settings were not present in previous Office versions. Microsoft has added new options to customize and change Automatic Updates settings in Office 2016.
Just go to File -> Account page and you'll see a new "Office Updates" section where you can change the behavior of Office updates installation.
You can disable automatic updates, view updates history or check for new updates.
Removal of Privacy Options from Trust Center Settings:
While checking the settings of Office 2016 programs, we found that Microsoft has removed several privacy options which were available in previous Office versions.
To check the privacy options, go to File -> Options -> Trust Center -> Trust Center Settings.
Following is a screenshot of Office 2013 privacy options list:
And following is a screenshot of new privacy options list in Office 2016:
As you can see there were 7 privacy options available in Office 2013 settings. But in Office 2016 settings only 2 options are present.
New Option Available for Message Bar in Office 2016:
Although Microsoft has removed several privacy options from Office 2016 settings but they have also added a new option related to Message Bar.
In same Trust Center Settings window, click on "Message Bar" link present in left-side pane and you'll see a new option "Show Policy Tip in the Message Bar. Turning this off will disable all Policy Tips unless your organization requires it":
This option was not present in previous Office versions.
Some Troubleshooting Tips and Other Helpful Tweaks:
Office 2016 also comes with Start Screen similar to Office 2013. If you don't like the Start Screen, you can disable it using the same guide which was posted for Office 2013:
- How to Bypass or Completely Disable Start Screen in Microsoft Office 2013 Applications?
- Registry Tweak to Disable Start Screen for All Applications in Microsoft Office 2013
The good ol' Picture Manager is still unavailable in this new version of Office but you can bring it back using following tutorial:
If you are having any performance related problem in Office 2016, check out following articles which will also work for Office 2016:
- Fix Blurred Font and Cursor Hanging Problems in Microsoft Office 2013
- [Tip] Improve Microsoft Office 2013 Performance by Disabling Unnecessary Animations
Also check following tips:
- [Tip] Change Number of Recent Documents and Show Them in Left Sidebar of Microsoft Office
- 5 Tips to Customize "File Save" Page in Microsoft Office Applications
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Don't forget to watch following exclusive video which shows all new Office 2016 themes in action:
PS: General availability (GA) of Office 2016 will start on September 22, 2015 as mentioned at following link:
That's all for now. We'll keep updating this article if we find anything new and useful in Office 2016. So keep checking this page regularly...
Posted in: Microsoft Office
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