Mac users leveraging Microsoft Office 365 should be pleasantly surprised to learn they're eligible to begin using Microsoft's new Office 2016 for Mac applications. Numerous innovations are included with Microsoft's newest version of Word for the Mac. Office 365 users can learn more about the new version of Office, and how to download it, in my previous post: "What's new in Office 2016 for Mac?"
Word 2016 for the Mac includes a new Design tab. The tab aims to make it easier for Mac users to quickly access preconfigured design elements and produce professional appearing documents without having to possess any significant graphics or design expertise. Pre-formatted templates, color combinations, complete themes, and individual fonts all appear on the Design tab.
Smart Lookup provides contextually relevant information for highlighted text, so authors can access additional web-based data. For example, highlighting the word "Microsoft" within a document, then right-clicking and selecting Smart Lookup, generates a window that reveals Bing search results. In this case, you'll see a company summary, the company's Wikipedia page, and Microsoft's official website all listed within the top search results. The Smart Lookup feature is also available on the Tools menu.
Multiple team members can simultaneously create and edit a single new Word document. When a user working on a file saves any changes, the platform generates a notification that highlights the changes for the other users. There's also support for threaded comments, so collaborators and reviewers can conduct a conversation regarding a document's proposed changes. This innovation makes it easier for authors, editors, and other team members to directly address others' comments during the editing process, thereby eliminating confusion and enhancing collaboration.
Some sharing options were available in previous Word versions, but it's even easier in Word 2016 to share files. Sharing options are found on the File menu.
Mac users now find their OneDrive cloud-based file share listed directly within Word, too. This helps leverage Dropbox and iCloud for storing, backing up, and sharing Word documents. Selecting File and choosing Save As presents several options, depending on the cloud services configured on the Mac. Users wishing to save files to their OneDrive account can select the Online Locations button that appears within the Save As window.
Mail Merge is also improved. The Mailings tab makes it easier to connect Word, Excel, and Outlook to generate and distribute mass mailings. Icon options are included for creating envelopes and labels. Mac users will find additional options for generating mass mailings using Apple Address Book or FileMaker Pro.
A new Styles Pane will appear on the right-hand side of the screen when it's selected, which simplifies the ability to apply styles to text. To select it, simply click the Styles pane icon from the Home tab. Lastly, a new Navigation Pane helps users navigate documents by the type of change (insertion, deletion, etc.), which also aids collaboration between multiple authors. To access the Navigation Pane, click the View tab and select the Navigation Pane checkbox.
What changes in Microsoft Word 2016 for Mac are you most excited about? Let us know in the discussion thread below.
Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.