Microsoft Office 2016, the latest Windows-based version of the major technology company's application suite, is scheduled for a release sometime in the fall of 2015. However, we already know quite a bit about the product, thanks to a preview and testing program that Microsoft has been running.
Here are 6 details to look forward to, ahead of the product's mainstream release:
1. Better Security
Microsoft Office 2016 will emphasize the value of better security parameters. In addition to a file-level encryption functionality, new data loss protection tools inside of Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft PowerPoint will warn users when they attempt to save confidential files to unsafe locations. Microsoft Outlook will also be more secure, thanks to a multi-factor authentication feature.
Similarly, the application suite will have stronger information rights management tools that let you limit what people can do with your documents or emails after you've shared access with them. For example, you can allow access to a certain document to expire after a set period of time, and prevent it from being forwarded. These tools will also stop people from copying and pasting information out of Microsoft Office 2016 applications.
2. Business Intelligence Features
Microsoft Excel lives up to its name in Microsoft Office 2016. The latest version of this application features a built-in business intelligence tool called Power Query. This tool can dramatically change the way that you approach your data.
Using it, you can quickly combine your own numbers with figures from public databases like Data.gov and Microsoft Azure Marketplace. After doing this, the application has another tool that lets you create detailed visualizations of the combined data.
The data analysis tool Power Pivot got an upgrade and will now be capable of analyzing millions of rows of data. The application will also be able to automatically find trends within your data and extrapolate them out into charts and tables.
3. The Tell Me Tool
The Tell Me feature makes Microsoft Office 2016 even easier to use. If you are ever lost or confused while working with a particular application, you can use this feature — found in the title bar of each program — to search for help. Just tell the application what you are looking for and it will offer a few options for you.
4. The Ability to Search with Smart Lookup
The Smart Lookup feature allows you to search the Internet for something without leaving your application. After highlighting a word and then selecting Smart Lookup, a panel will open up on the side of the screen with Bing search results for the highlighted word. The application will also scan the document so that it can provide the right information for the word based on the context.
5. Tools for Collaborating with Colleagues
Microsoft Office 2016 will expand on the real-time co-authoring capabilities of Microsoft Office Online. The additions will make it easier to collaborate with colleagues remotely. Microsoft has already added the co-authoring feature to Microsoft Word, and experts expect that other applications will soon have it as well.
The tech giant has also added features that let you create and manage groups from within Microsoft Outlook. Thanks to these features, you can monitor activity within your groups, read through the groups' conversation logs, and keep track of files and notes stored in OneDrive.
Microsoft has also improved the way that attachments work in Microsoft Outlook by adding a sleeker drop-down menu filled with recent opened files. After choosing a file, the application will ask you if you want to share a link to the file stored through Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft OneDrive, or Microsoft OneDrive for Business.
6. The Clutter Feature
A new feature called Clutter will improve the way that you manage your inbox in Microsoft Outlook. This feature will analyze your inbox, looking for the low-priority email messages that you are most likely to ignore. It will then send these messages to its Clutter folder. By moving these messages out of your inbox, the Clutter tool will let you focus on more important things.