Microsoft has officially launched Office 2016 for Mac after offering a free public preview for the last several months (see Julio Ojeda-Zapata’s overview, “Microsoft Releases Public Preview of Office 2016 for Mac,” 6 March 2015). However, the latest version of Office is currently available only for Office 365 subscribers, with a one-time purchase option promised for September 2015. The lineup of Office 2016 is a familiar one, with stalwarts Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook now joined by the OneNote digital notebook (though it is still available as a standalone free app from the Mac App Store). As Julio noted in his review of the public preview:
With this update, Office for Mac has an appearance that is more consistent with other versions, including its iOS brethren. The control-laden Ribbon, for instance, looks similar from device to device. Other features shared by the Office apps include a full-screen view and what Microsoft calls “little Mac affordances like scroll bounce.”
Word gets a new Design tab for applying new “designer-quality” layouts, colors and fonts, and the app enables multiple users to edit documents simultaneously while using threaded comments next to corresponding text. Excel’s keyboard shortcuts are now consistent across Mac and Windows versions, and a new PivotTable Slicers feature helps you filter large volumes of data and discover patterns. PowerPoint receives an improved Presenter View, which provides views of the current slide, next slide, speaker notes, and a timer, as well as a new animation pane. Outlook improves its conversation view to automatically organize the inbox around threaded conversations.
If you’re ready to give Office 2016 for Mac a try, you can still do so for free with a 1-month trial (and if you already have Office 2011 for Mac, you can run Office 2011 and Office 2016 side-by-side). When the trial ends, the subscription rates cost $6.99 per month ($69.99 annually) for the single-license Personal edition, or $9.99 per month ($99.99 annually) for the Home edition, which allows up to five installations on either Mac or Windows systems. (Requires Office 365 subscription, $6.99/$9.99 monthly subscription, release notes, 10.10+)