MS Office 2016 Highlights & Training
In the 2016 release, Microsoft continues to highlight the cloud-based collaborative features, focusing on allowing users to share documents, spreadsheets and presentations. But, even if you don’t need to use the collaboration abilities in Office, there are still plenty of new additions to excite your interest.
Let’s walk through how Office 2016 is setting the stage for workplace productivity beyond the basics of word processing, spreadsheets and email.
Focus on Collaboration
Office 2016’s new features encourage sharing data that resides in the cloud rather than working with downloaded or local files. Sharing files can easily be done by clicking Share on the Ribbon. The file will be saved to OneDrive and made available to others in one step.
Before MS Office 2016, you would create a Word doc, save it to your desktop and then email the file to another person. With Office 2016, Word saves the file to OneDrive, and when emailed through Outlook, a link is sent to OneDrive to enable sharing through the browser-based Office Online.
From OneDrive, the document can be accessed and co-authored in real time, allowing for a level of collaboration not yet available through one application. Co-editing is currently only available in Word 2016. Microsoft has said the feature will become available in other applications in the future.
Outlook 2016 also encourages cloud collaboration by including an option, when adding an attachment to an email, to share a link to a file store in Sharepoint or OneDrive.
One of the biggest issues with any new software release are navigational changes. When menus and dialogs are changed, even highly trained users can easily be lost and frustrated.
Although Microsoft hasn’t changed the Office UI drastically since 2013, it now includes a “Tell me” box, which provides a universal search to locate a function without navigating through menus and dialogs. “Tell Me”, in addition to showing instructions on how to do something, will actually do it for you. This feature eases the transition for those proficient in earlier versions of MS Office.
Excel 2016 looks similar to the 2013 version, but a variety of previously-optional plugins like Power Query have now been integrated in Excel for Office 2016. In addition, one-click forecasting and a larger selection of charts and graphs makes Excel even more useful for Enterprise applications.
Not your Father’s PowerPoint
Microsoft Sway, a presentation application that allows drag and drop presentation building using photos, videos and files from your computer, OneDrive, YouTube, Facebook or Twitter, will be a new addition to the MS Office 2016 Suite. Microsoft calls Sway a “digital storytelling app” to distinguish it from it’s presentation application PowerPoint. Following the collaboration theme in Office 2016, Sway makes it easy to share stories across desktop, tablet and mobile devices.
Microsoft is working toward a collaborative Office in which all applications work together in a coordinated fashion. Maintaining a good understanding of how to use these applications effectively will help you achieve your career goals.