Microsoft is working on the next version of its productivity suite which will be called Office 2016. The suite is expected to launch sometime in the second half of 2015 and the company said they’ll have more to share about it “in the coming months”.
Microsoft is apparently conducting a private beta with a group of selected individuals. We’ve heard about some of the features which will be introduced with the upcoming version, such as a new dark theme, improved proofing tools and much more.
The folks at Neowin managed to get hold of a document which sheds some light on the updates pushed out to beta testers for the month of January. Rather than introducing new features, the updates focus on improving the existing features by adding some new functionality to them.
Here’s a list of changes:
- Forecasting Functions
- Time Grouping for Model Based Pivot Tables
- PowerView over an OLAP connection
- Data model PivotTable Automatic Relationships Detection
- BI in Excel – BI features discoverability
- Updated Backstage UI
- Rename Tables, Columns and Measures in Power Pivot and Adjustments of the PivotTables
- Data Cards
- Skype for Business
Obviously, some of these may not be useful for a regular Microsoft Office user, but if you go into the professional world, features like Pivot Tables, Skype for Business, etc can come in quite handy. Microsoft confirmed there will be two versions of the productivity suite: one featuring a touch-optimized versions of Word, Excel and Powerpoint so it could be used on tablets and smartphones, while the non-touch version is targeted towards desktop users. The new Office 2016 apps will be pre-installed for free on phones and small tablets running Windows 10, and available to download from the Windows Store for other devices.