Microsoft has announced the next-gen of its Office suite, which users can try out now. The Redmond giant released a beta version of Office 2016 on May 4 at Ignite 2015, and has added a slew of features to its newest edition of Office.
There are a slew of subtle upgrades that should enhance the overall usability of the software. The beta version includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher and Access only.
Stand out features in Office 2016 include real-time co-authoring and OneDrive integration for Outlook, along with the addition of smart apps. Office 2016 will also be compatible with Apple and Android devices.
“Over the last 12 months, we’ve transformed Office from a suite of desktop applications to a complete, cross-platform, cross-device solution for getting work done. We’ve expanded the Office footprint to iPad and Android tablets. We’ve upgraded Office experiences on the Mac, the iPhone and on the web”, wrote Jared Spataro, general manager of the Office marketing team, on Microsoft’s Office blog.
In addition, there’s a productivity suite slated for a launch sometime later this year, while Office 2016 will be available for free on mobiles and sub-8-inch tablets.
Other notable additions for Office 2016 Preview include a new Tell Me tool to help users get started with Office. The ‘Tell Me’ feature allows users to ask for help while performing a task.
There’s also an automatic image rotation feature that allows users to position images correctly in Office documents. ZDNet’s Mary J Foley reports, ”Automatic image-rotation feature helps users correctly position images in Office documents, the screenshots indicate, as well as a new ‘black’ theme option for Office users (in addition to the current light gray, dark gray and white themes),”
Users interested in downloading the preview can head over to Microsoft Connect and sign up here. There are two ways to go about it – either use a Microsoft account to sign in, or use the serial key generated at the time of downloading the trial. The free trail will be valid for a period of 180 days, after which users can either uninstall the trial version or pay for a full version to continue using the software.
Meanwhile, users who already subscribed to the available Office 365 package, will be entitled to the Office 2016 upgrade at no additional cost.