Microsoft Office 2016 for Windows Preview

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Download and Install the Free Office 2016 Preview for Windows

Family of Microsoft Surface Windows Tablets
Family of Microsoft Surface Windows Tablets. (c) Courtesy of Microsoft

Here is a quick guide to how you can try the latest updates Microsoft has released for its free Office 2016 for Windows Preview, an early but functional way to try the next version of Office. 

The full consumer version is expected later this year. Get more perspective here: Release Timelines for Office 2016 on Windows Desktop PCs.

The following slides give you a visual overview of each program (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, Project, Visio, and Lync aka Skype for Business) followed by system requirements and download options for the Microsoft Office 2016 for Windows Preview. 

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Top Features in Microsoft Word 2016 for Windows

Microsoft Word 2016 Preview
Microsoft Word 2016 Preview. (c) Courtesy of Microsoft

Top features in Microsoft Word 2016 for Windows include several that are also available in Excel and PowerPoint, such as more colorful user interface themes, a Tell Me search feature for finding tools, an updated backstage view, mid-load pan and zoom on large objects, higher DPI (Dots Per Inch) image quality support, automatic image orientation, updated modern Japanese and Simplified Chinese fonts, and accessibility improvements such as a new darker theme for users with certain visual impairments.

These desktop programs are also moving toward a more cloud-integrated model, making them more like Google Docs and other real-time collaboration programs. The free Office Online version is like this already, but lacks the full features of a desktop version, which is why this is so exciting. Office 2016 includes the best of both worlds.

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Key Features in Microsoft Excel 2016 for Windows

Microsoft Excel 2016 Preview
Microsoft Excel 2016 Preview. (c) Courtesy of Microsoft

Top features in Microsoft Excel 2016 for Windows include several mentioned on the previous slide as well as data model improvements, field list search, Microsoft Power Query integration, forecasting functions, touch-enabled multiple item selection in the Slicer tool, improvements to Pivot Charts including time grouping and drill down options, new BI (Business Intelligence) features, and more.

Check out Microsoft Power BI Business Intelligence Tools for more detail.

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Key Features in Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 for Windows

Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 Preview
Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 Preview. (c) Courtesy of Microsoft

Top features in Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 for Windows include many mentioned on Slide 2 of this slide show, as well as the integration of a new application for presentations known as Microsoft Sway, which helps you create more dynamic, interactive presentations for home, school, or work. 

Sway is not replacing PowerPoint. These are separate programs, but since they each have to do with presentations, it is worth mentioning the inclusion of Sway in some upcoming Office suite packages.

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Key Features in Microsoft Outlook 2016 for Windows

Microsoft Outlook 2016 Previeiw
Microsoft Outlook 2016 Preview. (c) Courtesy of Microsoft

Top features in Microsoft Outlook for Windows include more streamlined storage and email download defaults on smaller devices, improved cloud attachments and integration (which aids in collaborating on the latest versions of attached documents in real-time, and portrait message layouts.

Other features may be available depending on your Office 365 plan, such as Outlook Desktop Groups for some Office 365 Enterprise plans.

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Key Features in Microsoft OneNote, Access, and Publisher 2016 for Windows

Microsoft OneNote 2013 Icon
Microsoft OneNote 2013 Icon. (c) Courtesy of Microsoft

Microsoft OneNote 2016Access 2016, and Publisher 2016 for Windows have seen relatively few improvements so far, though this is likely to change throughout 2015. Stay tuned!

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Top Features in Microsoft Project 2016 for Windows

Project 2013 Icon
Project 2013 Icon. (c) Courtesy of Microsoft

Top features in Microsoft Project 2016 for Windows include a new Timeline View which gives you more flexibility for project phases and lets you see more detail for a specific date range (in the program, go to Format then look for Date Range or Insert Timeline Bar). 

 

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Top Features in Microsoft Visio 2016 for Windows

Visio 2013 Icon
Visio 2013 Icon. (c) Courtesy of Microsoft

Top features in Microsoft Visio 2016 for Windows include keyboard access to the Visio Shape Panel using your keyboard, new shapes, and a new Getting Started experience that can help new users get to know the diagramming application, which involves more template diagrams and other tips for creating and editing diagrams. 

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Key Features in Microsoft Lync 2016 for Windows

screen_skypeOutlookCOS_Web.jpg
Skype and Microsoft Office. (c) Courtesy of Microsoft

Top features in Microsoft Lync 2016 for Windows is actually now called Microsoft Skype for Business and includes new dial features such as the Call Monitor, which lets you multitask to other screens while remaining in-call.

Other features include a more simplified user interface and menu system and chat bubbled for IM (Instant Messaging).  

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How to Get Microsoft Office for Free on Your Windows PC or Computer

Aping-Vision-STS-Photodisc.jpg
LibreOffice Mobile and Desktop. (c) Aping Vision / STS / Photodisc / Getty Images

The Office 2016 Preview for Windows has a time limit, which is generally several weeks after the final consumer release, and that is slated for Fall 2015.

So, if you are looking for a non-preview, free way to use Office, check out these free alternatives to the full-featured version of Microsoft Office: Top 36 Free Alternatives to the Full-Priced Microsoft Office by Device.

But many still enjoy using a preview version. Download directions for Office 2016 preview are on the next slide.

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Microsoft Office 2016 for Windows Preview System Requirements and Downloads

Westend61-Westend61.jpg
How to Uninstall Office Software. (c) Westend61 / Getty Images

Office 2016 is available for preview on Windows 7, Windows 8, and Windows 10 desktop and mobile devices (tablets, laptops, and PC desktops).

Those previewing should plan on updating their installation throughout 2015, since Microsoft will be adding improvements to the preview version. 

Older Versions Must Be Uninstalled First

Also, before downloading and installing Office 2016 for Windows, you need to uninstall previous versions of the suite (Office 2013 included). 

If you decide you want to switch back to your previous version, you will need to then uninstall Office 2016 Preview before reinstalling. For that reason, please make sure you have the resources for reinstalling before you try the Office 2016 Preview, namely, the product key from your original installation.

Where to Download the Preview

You can download the preview from Microsoft's Office 2016 Preview site, where you can choose from the Office 2016 Preview (32 bit) and the Office 2016 Preview (64 bit) versions.

Or, if you already have a personal Office 365 subscription, go to My Account, then select Language and Install Options - Additional Install Options.

Unfortunately, business users cannot access the preview through their Office subscription at this time. Microsoft states, "The Office 2016 Preview is currently available only to customers on Office 365 plans with an Office 365 ProPlus client license. We will add availability of the Office 2016 Preview to additional plans, including Office 365 Business, in a future update to the Office 2016 Preview."

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Grigg, Cindy. "Microsoft Office 2016 for Windows Preview." ThoughtCo, Mar. 2, 2017, thoughtco.com/microsoft-office-for-windows-2511642. Grigg, Cindy. (2017, March 2). Microsoft Office 2016 for Windows Preview. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/microsoft-office-for-windows-2511642 Grigg, Cindy. "Microsoft Office 2016 for Windows Preview." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/microsoft-office-for-windows-2511642 (accessed November 20, 2017).