The next version of Microsoft's productivity software suite, Office 2016, is designed and built from the ground up for mobile and Web. It's expected to release in the second half of 2015, along with the full launch of Windows 10. The new suite includes the standard Word, Excel, OneNote, Access, Lync, Outlook, Publisher and PowerPoint programs.
Embracing Third-Party Apps
Through Microsoft's new Office Graph, developers can tap directly into office data. That means they'll be able to layer in third-party data through Add-Ins. Specifically, you'll be able to order an Uber right from your Outlook calendar, or you'll be able to import and buy photos from PicHit from inside PowerPoint. Other partners that have been hinted at include Salesforce and LinkedIn.
Colorful New Theme
Microsoft Office 2016 looks like it will come with a refreshed and colorful theme, according to leaked images from BetaArchive. The new design, called Colorful, will align with the modern apps. The previous default theme was called White. You will still be able to change your theme in File > Account > Office Theme.
Universal Apps Available Across Platforms
With the new release of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote for Office 2016, users will enjoy a very similar experience across devices, from Android tablets or phones to iPads, iPhones, Windows desktops and laptops.
Tell Me Brings Back Less Annoying Clippy
Designed to be less intrusive than Microsoft's old Clippy – the talking paperclip on Word -- Tell Me is the company's new assistant in Office. According to reports, Tell Me will help users add images to documents and solve other troubleshooting problems. This feature will not be animated, and will sit at the top of documents like a traditional search bar.
Insights Engine Enhances Word
Tapping into Bing, the new Insights for Office will bring online resources, such as images or definitions, directly into your Word documents. That means if you highlight a word, you can get more data in a sidebar.
To test out these new features for yourself, you just need to join the Office Consumer Technical Preview (opens in new tab)program. Or you can just wait for the fall when the final version is available.