Microsoft is finally paying attention to Mac users.
For the last four years, the company has doled out to Windows, Android, and even iOS users new versions of its Office suite. Meanwhile, it's left Mac users in the dark. They've been stuck with the outdated word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation apps in Office 2011 for Mac, which is the successor to Office 2008 for Mac, but now those apps have finally been given a long-overdue refresh.
Microsoft made up for the years of neglect on Thursday by launching a free preview - or public beta version - of Office 2016 for Mac. The new software suite will officially release this summer as part of Microsoft’s Office 365 monthly subscription service. But those of you who want an early look can just grab the preview's 3GB download now, though you should know the software isn't completed and might contain bugs.
Microsoft posted screenshots of the software to its blog, and from those images, we can tell that the updated look and feel of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint make the old Mac suite look archaic. You'll see things like the new ribbon menu design and integration with Microsoft's OneDrive cloud storage service, for instance. The new suite also contains Outlook and OneNote, but those apps have been available separately since last year.
Office 2016 for Mac has a tonne of new features overall, such as new templates and animations in PowerPoint, threaded comments in Word, better analysis tools in Excel, a dual-calendar view in Outlook, live collaborative editing over the internet, and full support for Apple’s Retina display and Mac OS X Yosemite’s fullscreen app mode. The suite is also supposed to be speedier and more stable.
Grab the free download now to check it out for yourself.