Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac Preview

    While there are no shortage of options for office productivity apps among Mac users, ranging from Apple’s own iWork suite to more cloud-based solutions like Google Docs, it’s pretty hard to argue that Microsoft’s Office suite remains the 800-pound gorilla in the room when it comes to features and compatibility for exchanging documents with others. Even though Microsoft tends to lag a bit behind in their Mac versions, they provide reasonably good support for the Mac platform, making it easier for users to work on files from their own computers, or even to use their Macs at work. With Microsoft’s Office 2016 for Mac Preview (free), the company is basically giving away preview versions of its latest Office apps, a bundle that now adds Microsoft OneNote alongside updated options of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

    Although Office 2016 will have a price tag attached once it’s ultimately released later this year, these preview versions give you an early look into what the new versions will deliver, and while the FAQ notes that some features may still be missing, it works remarkably well even at this early point. Users with Office 2013 on their Windows side will appreciate a look and feel that brings the apps closer to their Windows counterparts while not compromising the Mac design ethos. Keyboard shortcuts are now more aligned with the Windows versions, Excel 2016 for Mac gains more functions from Excel 2013 for Windows, and the Ribbon is now designed more consistently across both platforms. In addition, Microsoft has packed in a lot of new Mac-specific features, including Retina Display support. In fact, the preview is only officially supported on OS X Yosemite. Microsoft has also tightened up its own OneDrive cloud support, and has expanded Outlook to make it more useful in corporate Exchange environments.

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