Microsoft has officially launched Office 2016, its first standalone productivity suite release since Windows 10 hit computers world-wide.
Designed, the company claims, to be 'a perfect pairing with Windows 10
' but also available for older Windows releases as well as in a specialised OS X-compatible Mac variant, Office 2016 brings numerous improvements to the de-facto office suite standard. Chief among these is support for real-time co-authoring of documents in Word, a feature available on the cloud-based Office Online editor since 2013 but only now coming to the native suite. The company has indicated that support for real-time co-authoring will be extended to cover additional applications in the suite in future updates.
The new Office suite also brings Skype for Business support, somewhat embarrassingly the day after the company's Skype voice-over-IP (VoIP), video, and text-messaging platform took a 15-hour outage. Outlook 2016 gains integration with Office 365 Groups, while GigJam - described by Microsoft's Kirk Koenigsbauer as 'an unprecedented new way for teams to accomplish tasks and transform business processes by breaking down the barriers between devices, apps and people
' - will be available to users as a preview ahead of a 2016 release.
Additional changes and improvements include support for Windows 10's Hello sign-on feature, Tell Me and Smart Lookup from Office Online, and new chart types in Excel. Interestingly, the release also brings with it a shift in release cadence, with Microsoft pledging to release new feature updates for the software every month - all of which will be made available, naturally, to the company's Office 365 subscribers.
More information on Office 2016 is available from Microsoft's official announcement