With Office365 such a big part of business now, it is no surprise that many users are eagerly awaiting the new updates for Office 2016. This is the 16th edition of the fabled office suite first launched in 1990.
For millions of businesses around the world, Office is a key component of what employees need to successfully complete tasks. Think about the multitude of applications from creating articles on Word, tracking data on Excel, adding prospects to Access, or using PowerPoint to create presentations to departments and customers.
With the new OneDrive and OneNote applications, companies can enhance their productivity in the workplace through shared content and digital note taking.
Office is a huge time saver for many companies. Therefore, we want to look at how the new Office 2016 launch in the fall this affects businesses.
Ways That Office 2016 Changes Your Business
HD Screen Support - Do you have a powerful HD screen? Then you want to use powerful applications that work better on HD screens. By working with HD screens now, employees can work at their station with less viewing problems.
Traditional computers become hard to read after long sessions working. While we do not advocate you stay glued to your computer 24 hours per day, you do need a screen that makes it easy on the eyes.
With all of the new HD laptops and computers, it makes sense that applications go beyond the traditional 1080 resolution.
By improving the images on computers, you can have an immediate productivity boost. After all, squinting at images generally does not make for improved productivity at the workplace.
Small Screen Profile - Another nifty feature in Office 2016 is the small screen profile. Essentially, you can create a profile for any sized device.
That way when you switch between a desktop and tablet you have preset displays that work for devices of all sizes.
A great option if you are on the go a lot (eg. sales professionals, contractors, etc.) and need to transition back and forth between a desktop, tablet, and smartphone.
The new small screen profile provides improved layouts on the touch and small screen devices. This is because Microsoft knows mobile users do not have the same needs as a desktop user.
Mobile Apps - Speaking of devices and small screen profiles, one of the biggest changes that Microsoft initiated are the new apps available for Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. All of them are already available for Android and iPhone users on their respective app stores.
This means anyone with a smartphone can access and change information on the go. A truly mobile world where those who use Office on a regular basis can fully embrace the technology wherever they go.
Real time coauthoring - If you ever used Google Docs to create a document then you noticed one of the coolest parts of the entire program is that you can have multiple authors creating the document at the same time.
While the rest of Google Docs does not equal Microsoft Word, this is something they should have added years ago. Now coauthoring is available on Microsoft Word. For offices with multiple locations, or even employees spread out in a building this is a tremendous boon. They can now interact simultaneously on the same document to improve it together as a team. Imagine a remote meeting on Skype or Yammer while employees improve a marketing document or internal memo together.
DLP (Data Loss Protection) - Another great feature provides extended backups for Office Applications.
Previously, OneDrive was great for businesses that wanted to make sure their SharePoint or personal documents were not lost. While these are definitely important features, it is also important for other Office programs.
Now, companies can also use that data loss protection for all Office applications. This can do this with an enhanced version history while you are working.
Automatic saving that ensures you never lose your information while working on a Word doc or Excel file. A little more sanity in the work place where you know your work cannot be eaten up by computer goblins.
DLP also has another key component. By including this, it makes it possible for professional firms to stay in compliance with security laws. The enterprise version of Office 365 includes features that ensure all emails and documents are protected.
These protections make Office a clear leader over other services like Google Docs and Open Office for any professional in a highly regulated field.
Improved Business Insights - Excel has always been intended to be a place where businesses can put all of their numerical data in one location.
As James Kwak mentioned in his blog, The Baseline Scenario, "Excel is everywhere you look in the business world... For all the talk about end-to-end financial suites ...at the end of the day people do financial analysis by extracting data...and shoving it around in Excel spreadsheets."
From accounting to lead generation, Excel has been one of the most powerful productivity tools used to help companies dig through the onslaught of data they receive every day. Furthermore, Word has new insights as well. While not data driven like Excel, it is still useful for businesses.
Word Insights are powered by Bing. They allows users to research relevant information while they are writing. As a blogger, I cannot begin to tell you how huge this is. This ensures that professionals of all stripes can research the information they send out ahead of time with ease.
Improved Grammar - For those of whoeth absysmal at spelling and grammar then feareth not. Office improved their grammar and spelling features to ensure the American employee looks intelligent in their conversations. You almost might even sound downright bourgeoisie with the new grammar updates. Almost!
The Word mobile app also has easy to use cursor controls to review these spelling mistakes, along with an easy interface to replace the mis-spelled word.
One of the coolest features on the mobile apps is that you can even make grammar changes on any device. The track changes show up on every device.
Imagine viewing corrections while you are on the train to your next sales presentation or after hours relaxing on your couch. It does not matter. You can edit Word docs wherever you go.
Excel snap and smart scrolling - Another exciting new feature in the updated Excel product is the snap and smart scrolling. While not a lot of information on this feature is out yet, smart scrolling is supposed to make it easier to manipulate data in specific cells.
For any non-tech small business owner who ever attempted to balance their books in Excel, than this is a tremendous advantage. Sometimes you feel like you spend more time manipulating cells than entering information.
Sway - The newest member to the Office family of programs is Sway. This is supposed to be an online alternative to PowerPoint presentations.
Sway allows users to integrate interactive media directly into the program. Everything from videos and pictures to Tweets, embed codes, and charts.
This is something that is head and shoulder above PowerPoint.
While PowerPoint provides a linear presentation model, Sway should be able to help those with interactive presentations improve their look and feel.
It even connects with social networks like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Flickr to create engaging presentations. Fear not! You can still upload images and videos if you want, or take screenshots from OneNote.
While some confusion exists over whether Sway is for face to face presentations, the truth is that Sway is a great way to embed or share through social and email marketing campaigns your interactive media.
Because the Sway Engine has some control over the interpretation of what content is most important they might adjust your content as they see fit. For this reason, it is highly unlikely users will use it to create presentations in front of groups of people. The initial usage seems like some type of application that would work something like a mishmash of Slideshare and Animoto.
Imagine creating a Sway presentation with Tweets, Facebook photos, and YouTube videos that you could embed onto your blog to create interactive posts that users engage.
Office 2016 does not have a lot of ground-breaking changes to the platform. The biggest changes are the mobile apps and the introduction of Sway.
Other changes are almost necessary if Office is to be relevant in the 21st century. Things like making it easier to manipulate data on Excel and grammar improvements were definitely needed. This way, users can use the programs more effectively for their intended purpose.
All in all, we are looking forward to the launch of Office 2016 later this fall. The earth will not shake, and mouths will not drop on the launch date. However, for those who care about using an improved product then Office 2016 fits the bill.
In the meantime, let us know in the comments below what you think is the biggest change to Office 2016 for your business.