Microsoft Office 2016 Officially Confirmed For September 22nd Release

Microsoft has finally has announced a September 22nd release for the latest version of Office and intends to implement a more vigorous upgrade schedule:

“Consistent with Windows 10 approach, the new Current Branch for Business update model delivers three cumulative feature updates per year, while continuing to offer monthly security updates. You’ll see the first Current Branch for Business build in February 2016—which is effectively the same feature set as the September 22nd release, but with four additional months of security updates also included.”

There are a number of enhancements throughout Office 2016 including the background Intelligent Transfer Service (BITS) which helps to control network traffic when deploying new updates. On another note, you can easily recover loss information using Data Loss Prevention and employ Multi-factor Authentication. Currently, there’s no indication of the standalone office pricing but it could be fairly substantial as Microsoft tries to sell its subscription-based Office 365 software package. Also, with so many free options from Google Docs and Libreoffice, it’s difficult to get most consumers to purchase a genuine version of Office 2016.

Some power-users have also complained about Office 2013 user-interface so it will be interesting to see how-received the latest GUI is.  Personally, I’ll stick to using a combination of LibreOffice for local files and Google Docs for cloud sharing documents.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Microsoft Office 2016 Arrives Next Month

Microsoft has spilled the beans on their latest office suite, which is set to arrive next month. According to information accidentally leaked by a Microsoft intranet site, Microsoft Office 2016 will be launched on September 22nd, a little under a month from now. While we got a refresh for Microsoft Office for Mac earlier in the year, this suite will be for the PC market and replace the now 3 years old Office 2013.

According to sources, Office 2016 will bring the PC version of Office in line with the Mac, iOS and Android versions. We can expect a number of UI and interface changes which we’ve probably already seen on the other platforms. We can also expect a new theme to match as well along with a new dark theme which should be much easier on the eyes. One major continuity is that Office 2016 will cost pretty much the same as Office 2013; the only price change will come in the form of a new tier for Office 365.

Speaking of Office 365, it is interesting to see how the office suite landscape is evolving. Despite many users now opting for free alternatives like Libre/Open Office and cloud-based solutions like Google Docs, Office still remains a mainstay for both home and business. Even Office 365 isn’t quite enough to lure users away, though the monthly subscription fees probably don’t help in the long run, especially for home users. With releases around every 3 years, it will be interesting to see what the next iteration of Office will look like.

Thank you winfuture.de for providing us with this information

Microsoft’s Privacy Website Hacked

Digital privacy is a topic of hot debate at the moment. Covering topics from terrorism to hacking, people are more aware of what’s happening and who’s reading their messages in greater detail. Digital Constitution is Microsoft’s website dedicated to enforcing the concept of digital privacy. It would seem that security was not a topic priority with the website though.

First discovered on the 18th June, the site is seen (as above) with a list of keywords focusing on gambling that hyperlinked to several online casino websites. Even several hours after the initial hack was reported several pages within still linked to gambling related sites.

At the time of the breach being discovered the site was using an outdated version of WordPress, running at 4.0.5 (the current being 4.2.2).

The sites initial purpose was in response to the Edward Snowden revelations regarding the extent of observations being conducted by governments. Containing information about digital privacy cases, legal actions taken around privacy and Microsoft’s stance on people’s right to digital privacy.

From the style, execution and content the hack appears to have been done by somebody rather than done by an organisation for a specific reason. Hopefully, this reminds Microsoft to keep all of their websites up to date, as we all should with all our software.

Thank you ZDNet for the information and image.

Microsoft “Office Lens” Document Scanner App for Android Beta Released

Microsoft just released the Android beta app for “Office Lens”, an app that allows you to capture notes, business cards, receipts, and other printed material to be saved as a digital file. The app can also capture things like whiteboards and save them as a digital file, a useful tool for capturing meeting notes in the office.

The written text will be recognized with OCR, transforming what was written into text that you can edit. Using the app is very simple, and to start you just open the app and use the camera to capture your image.  The app takes care of the rest by framing, cropping, and enhancing the image. The resulting file can be saved to your gallery, Word, PowerPoint, OneDrive, OneNote, or as a PDF. To get started with the app you will need to join the beta community on Google+ and sign up to test the app.

Source: Android Police

The Top 10 Features of Microsoft’s Office 2016 Mac Preview

Microsoft is finally releasing a new redesigned version of its Office suite for Mac this year. The new suite is the first refresh of Microsoft Office for Mac since 2011, a 5 year gap during which Microsoft did not release any new version for Apple’s operating system.

The new Word, Excel, Powerpoint and Outlook apps aim to bring the Office suit in par with the Windows version in terms of design and functionality. Being a preview version means that the apps are not perfect. However, Microsoft states that it will only use the user feedback to make a few minor tweaks and improvements, which leads to believe that the final product will be more or less how it looks and feels now.

The top 10 features of Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac, as highlighted by Mashable, includes a Full Screen View Support, clearly emphasising that Office 2016 for Mac is truly built for Yosemite and can switch from windowed to full screen, compared to its predecessor which could not.
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Microsoft has also made some design changes and redesigned the Ribbons, making a consistency between both Windows and Mac version. These are now the same on both operating systems.
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The suite now lets you share your documents with easy through the Sharing button in the upper right corner. Documents shared via link can even be opened directly from the email.
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Sharing a document with a collaborator now allows you to have Threaded Conversations within comments in Word and Powerpoint. Though it is not as good as in Google Drive, it does show that Microsoft is moving forward into the right direction.
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Microsoft has also included a new Formula Builder in its latest version, making it easier to use Excel’s formula functions in your work.
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Powerpoint has also received an improvement in terms of transitioning, having Microsoft adding a variety of Transitions and a separate panel for managing animations within the presentation.
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One key feature most people using a Mac and frequently require Powerpoint will find extremely useful is the Presenter View, which lets users see the entire slide deck, note, and a timer, while an external display beams the current slide to the audience.
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Microsoft has also added a nifty feature, namely Removable Palettes, for those who desire to customize the Office apps view to better suit their needs
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The OneNote app has not been forgotten as well, having it come with a Tags function which makes it easy to quickly categorize notes by topic.
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Lastly, Outlook has suffered some minor improvements as well, having added the Conversations feature which allows users to sort their inbox by conversations, in addition to date, attachments, priority level and other categories.
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Microsoft’s Office 2016 Preview for Mac can be downloaded from here.

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information

Apple Opens Up iWork Web Apps To People Without Apple Devices for Free

Apple has just made it possible for anyone, even those who don’t own an Apple product, to access iCloud web apps. Previously, only those who owned an iOS device or Mac could use the online versions of Apple’s productivity apps including Pages, Keynote and Numbers.

From today, anyone can go to iCloud.com and access Apple’s apps in a similar fashion to Google Docs or Microsoft Office. The big difference though, is that Apple does not directly monetise the service. There are no ads or subscriptions and the apps can be used in Safari, Chrome, Internet Explorer or Firefox for free. However, free users only get 1GB of storage, while users of a Mac or iOS device get 5 GB of storage. Owners of Apple devices can pay for more.

The move is seen as significant, with Apple deciding to put themselves directly in competition with such services from Google and Microsoft. Whether they will pose any threat to those services remains to be seen.

Source: MacRumors

Someone Created a Word Processor in Minecraft

You read that correctly – someone has built a fully functioning (albeit limited) word processor in Minecraft.

Its creator, Koala_Steamed, says that the ‘app’ includes a 50-character limit, but can save and load files and can format upper and lower case text. The programming for the word processor was completed using Minecraft’s special brick ‘Redstone’.

“5×10, 50 character limit monitor using 16 segment display. There are 7.357×10^92 different combinations the screen can show, all of which can be controlled from 1 line.”

Source: Kotaku

Chat is Coming to Microsoft Office Online

Tired of working on a document and having to keep switching back and forward to Facebook or Skype to keep your co-workers in the loop? Well it seems that Microsoft is about to make collaborating on documents a lot simpler, by adding chat to Microsoft Word and PowerPoint online.

The chat functionality is essentially Skype built into the two productivity apps, so you’ll be able to contact people using their Skype usernames and continue conversations in the Skype app on your phone. Unfortunately, chat will not be available in Excel or OneNote. The new feature will be added to Word and PowerPoint “in the coming weeks”.

Source: The Verge

Microsoft Is Looking To Rebrand Its Web Apps Into ‘Office Online’ Soon

There were rumors about Microsoft rebranding their Office Web Apps suite to Office Online, which does indeed make sense since it is an online service and the name is also not so complicated (for most) as the latter.

According to Ubergizmo, Microsoft has apparently posted the Office Online suite as a comparison product on their “compare” page, which means that the rebraded Office Online suite might be closer to launch. The Office Online suite looks to be next to other Office product offerings from Microsoft, such as Office 365 Home Premium and Office 365 University.

It looks like Microsoft Online could be the answer to its competitors, such as Google Docs, Spreadsheet, and so on, essentially a free Office environment which can help people build their presentations and documents on a web browser. Microsoft’s Office Web Apps has been available since 2010 but was not so known as Google’s alternative, therefore this might be the way Microsoft attempts to make people more aware of its product and make it easier to work with.

Beside the name change, Microsoft is also changing the name of the apps contained within the suite to make them more Office friendly. Therefore the applications will be rebranded to Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online, and OneNote Online. Also, Microsoft is said to make available a variety of templates to aid customers in their work.

A launch date has not been revealed yet, though Microsoft is likely to release the product soon based on the comparison availability on its website.

Thank you Ubergizmo for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Ubergizmo

Real-Time Co-Authoring Added To Microsoft Office Web Apps

Microsoft responded with its own significant updates to the company’s Web-based Office applications after a major, free update to Apple’s iWork productivity suite for Mac, iOS and Web. More specifically, Microsoft announced that it has now added real-time co-authoring to its suite of Office Web Apps, allowing users to contribute to and edit documents simultaneously. The collaboration tools are now available for Microsoft’s Word Web App, PowerPoint Web App, and Excel Web App.

“New real-time presence helps you see where your co-authors are working in the document so that you don’t create conflicts as you edit,” the company said in a blog post. “Additionally, the new ability to see changes to text and formatting as they happen will help you and your co-authors stay on the same page as your ideas develop and evolve.”

Word Web App has also been improved with new formatting controls, including headers, footers and page numbers. Documents now automatically save and reflect collaborative updates, and the Web-based word processor includes find and replace functionality. Microsoft has also added a new table styles feature, that offers users a number of preset options. And page breaks can now also be inserted into Word Web App for more document control.

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Significant updates were also issued to Microsoft’s Excel Web App, such as sheet protection, which prevents users from selecting or typing in protected cells; status bar aggregates, which show values for multiple selected cells; and reorder sheets, allowing users to quickly move sheets into a desired order. Excel on the Web has also added the ability to drag and drop cells and rename workbooks. And Microsoft has promised that it has “much more in the pipeline,” with additional features expected to be added in the coming months, greatly expanding the functionality of its Web-based productivity suite.

Apple’s iWork platform has been enhanced to work across the Web, on a Mac, and on iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad. In revamping the suite, Apple was forced to change or remove a number of key features, though the company has indicated that a significant number of them will return within the next six months.

Thank you Apple Insider for providing us with this information
Video courtesy of Apple Insider