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Microsoft Office for Mac Gets a Major Update, Now Built on Same Codebase as Windows, iOS, Android

Microsoft Office for Mac Gets a Major Update, Now Built on Same Codebase as Windows, iOS, Android
  • Update includes real-time collaboration, automatic cloud saving features
  • Word, Excel, and PowerPoint have undergone some changes in Office for Mac
  • Word also gets two security updates

Microsoft has rolled out a major update to Office for Mac. The update features the much-awaited real-time collaboration and automatic cloud saving features. Additionally, Office for Mac is now built from the same codebase as Windows, iOS, and Android systems. Notably, all three core Office apps - Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint - have undergone some changes which the company has detailed in its release notes.

Office 2016 for Mac was released by Microsoft in 2015, and it has often lagged behind Windows in terms of features. But with the new alignment of codebases could mean better parity in the future. Microsoft principal software engineer Erik Schwiebert tweeted, "Mac Office 2016 version 16 is now live! For the first time in over 20 years, Office is again built out of one codebase for all platforms (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android)!" With a shared codebase, everything may not be the same, but it will be easier for Microsoft to support all the platforms.

As for the new features, Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint for Mac now supports real-time editing. A thumbnail in the upper-right corner of the apps will showcase everyone who is collaborating on a shared document. In Word and PowerPoint flag icons will indicate areas where edits are taking place, while PowerPoint will also highlight any modified slides.

All the three core apps now also store files automatically in the cloud. Alongside the shared files, users can also view the updates others make instantly. Users also get the option to roll back to previous versions by going to version history.

Apart from the above common updates, Word does not get any major update. It does, however, get two "Remote Code Execution Vulnerability" security updates. Excel gets more charts such as funnel, sunburst, and histogram. It also has a new Map chart type that turns geographic data into a map with just a "few steps." Excel also gets better support for PivotTable charts, and faster formula calculation. Meanwhile, PowerPoint gets a new QuickStarter feature that enables users to create an outline of content with suggested speaking topics, among other things. It also includes basic video editing tools, where users can trim the beginning and end of video clips. Users can now use a mouse as a laser pointer on PowerPoint.

When it comes to Microsoft Outlook, the update brings support for Google Calendar and Contacts. It has also added simpler archiving and deleting feature where users can swipe across the trackpad to delete or archive a message.


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