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Early morning, Las Vegas: I log in for the day, excited to start tapping away at the keys, when the phone rings. Before the phone even gets to my ear, I can hear a loud frantic voice on the other end.
“DON’T DO IT” is all I can make out as the phone reaches my ear.
On the other end is Will Robins, the Executive Editor here at Feedster, and he just installed Office 2016 on his computer.
“I don’t have Skype for Business” was all he said. “I can’t believe it, my Skype for Business is GONE!
Keep in mind that we run Office 365 Business Premium, so our experiences may not necessarily apply to your situation. Our experiences are exactly that…OURS.
My point: Please do some research before you decide to install Office 2016. The guys over at ghacks.net wrote a nice article entitled: “What you need to know about Office 2016 before you install it”.
I researched this issue a bit and came up with this: https://community.office365.com/en-us/office_2016_preview/f/1000/t/348899 That’s an Office 365 community thread talking about this very issue.
Now, in all fairness, that thread was started in May and is in reference to the release of Office 365 PREVIEW, but it is also proof that the issue has existed since then and has not been resolved (or at least no clear explanation exists, that we can find) so I cannot honestly tell you why they made this change.
This I CAN tell you… as I type this, Will is on the phone with me and trying to get tech support on the horn. There is no clear way to get Office 2013 back, nor was there a warning before the install that Skype for Business would not be present. As you can imagine, not having Skype for business can be crippling.
That issue aside, let’s look at what GOOD things the boys in Seattle have in store for us…
According to Microsoft: “This marks a milestone in delivering new value for Office 365 subscribers with a focus on collaboration, apps that work for you, a perfect pairing with Windows 10, and security features businesses will love. It also marks a new model for delivery, where subscribers can expect to get more frequent updates with new features and improvements. Along with Office 2016 for Windows, today we are also releasing Office 2016 for Mac as a one-time purchase option, along with several new and enhanced Office 365 services.”
Hmmm…raise your hand if you’ve never heard statements like this from tech giants before. Yeah (snicker) me neither. Let’s take a better look, and maybe we’ll be pleasantly surprised at the end of the day.
With me? Cool…
First: New Themes? Thumbs up Mr. Gates!!
Among the tech updates, Microsoft has taken many user requests for the theme, and implemented them. The Verge reports: “Office 2016 for Windows release has revealed that Microsoft is updating the desktop client to include a new “colorful” theme that’s identical to the latest Mac, iOS, and Android apps. It’s also similar to the Windows 10 touch-optimized versions of Office, with a colored look that matches the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint applications. The new colorful option arrives alongside a dark theme for those who dislike the traditional look of Microsoft’s Office apps.”
So far so good, but what’s under the hood?!?!
Collaboration and teamwork seem to be the big focus for most of the improvements. “Collaboration is the way we get things done in the workplace, but the process itself can be complex and frustrating” states Microsoft, “people often start and end their work in Office, but there is often a messy middle that involves a lot of discussion.”
Real-time authoring has always been available in the online version of Office, but they’ve now empowered that capability in the native version as well.
I like it.
Skype for Business is now available (they claim) within the client apps, so that you can IM, screen-share and video chat from within your docs. Again…we could not seem to make this work, and have yet to find it. It also seems that by this explanation (as well as removing Skype from the Office suite) that we can now access Skype for Business from within our docs ONLY. And that just makes no sense. Again, please do your homework on this one before you switch.
Office 365 Groups seems to be a great new addition to Outlook 2016, and allows the creation of private teams that can share: calendars, cloud storage, group files and OneNote.
Office 365 Planner allows groups to stay organized by creating plans, organizing and setting tasks and setting due dates.
Microsoft is also designating Outlook 2016 as its smartest inbox to date, with “lightning fast” search and killing off low priority mail. Additionally, you will not be able to send anyone to OneDrive via email that does not have proper access.
Tell Me will help you find the right command, and Smart Lookup will help bring information from the web right into your documents. Until this release, these two options were only available I the online version, but have now been incorporated into the native versions as well.
If you’re an Enterprise user, your corporate information is now even more protected. Office is adding built-in Data Loss Prevention (DLP) with the ability to create, and enforce document authoring and sharing policies. Multifactor Authentication keeps secure access to content when employees are away from the office network, and later this year, Enterprise users will see Enterprise Data Protection (EDP) in Windows 10 that allows more secure sharing of data within the corporate network, thus helping to alleviate information leaking outside corporate boundaries.
WOW. I think it’s fair to say that they really are putting a fair amount of effort into collaboration. Good. We’ve all been asking for it for a while, it’s good to see they’re listening.
But were they listening on the price?
According to zdnet.com, “A one-time purchase of Office 2016 — for either Windows PCs or Macs — costs $149 for the Office Home & Student; $229 for the Office Home and Business; and $399 for Office Professional”.
I’m OK with that.
Now on to the important stuff…the thing we all love about Office. The APPS.
There really is a TON of improvements that they’ve made to their entire suite. I could easily double the length of this post just LISTING them, much less going into detail. I’ll give you a basic bulleted rundown of what’s new, but for the whole story, head on over to this page:
- Co-Authoring: Word and PowerPoint
- Simplified Sharing: Word, PowerPoint and Excel
- Shared Notebooks: OneNote
- Real-Time Typing: Word
- Modern Attachments: Outlook
- Mail Triage: Outlook
- Improved Version History: Word, PowerPoint and Excel
- One-Click Forecasting: Excel
- New Chart Types: Word PowerPoint and Excel
- More Flexible Timelines: Project
- Export Data Source Info to Excel: Access
- Better Control Over Resource Scheduling: Project
- Improved Data Connectivity: Visio Professional
- Modern Shapes: Visio
- Better Together with Windows 10: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Mail, Calendar and OneNote
- Office Themes: Word, PowerPoint, Excel OneNote, Outlook, Access, Project, Visio and Publisher
- Tell Me: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, Project, Visio and Access
- Smart Lookup: Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook
- OneDrive Integration: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote and Outlook
- Cross-Platform, Cross-Device: Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneNote and Outlook
- Skype Integration
I’m going to go out on a limb and speak for the gang here at Feedster. We’ll go ahead and call this one a win. I’m pretty impressed with the new Office, and I don’t have a problem with the price at all. My only gripe may be that I JUST got comfortable using the old version…now I have to go through another learning curve.
Oh well, seems as though it’ll be worth it…and it will give me an excuse to work a little slower.