Many of the apps from the Microsoft 365 suite now run natively on Apple’s new M1-powered MacBooks. Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote are now all able to take full advantage of Apple’s custom ARM-based silicon.
These new Microsoft 365 apps for Apple M1 Macs are all universal apps, which means that they will also run on traditional Macs with Intel processors. This also means that the Office apps on Apple’s M1 Macs — like the new MacBook Air, 13-inch MacBook Pro, and Mac mini — should all feel snappier and faster than when they were previously running under emulation with Rosetta 2.
To get these apps today, you can visit the Mac App Store and then click the Updates tab. You also can manually update with Microsoft Auto Update, or visit the help menu in your Office app and then choose Check for Updates. Microsoft recommends turning on automatic updates, too.
But this version of Office for Mac goes beyond just optimizing for the M1. Some of the Office apps on Mac have also been redesigned to match the new look of MacOS Big Sur and will be getting new features, too. One of the biggest changes comes to the Office Start Experience, which has been redesigned with Microsoft’s Fluent Design System and acrylic effects.
Microsoft is also bringing support for iCloud accounts to Outlook for Mac and introducing a new voice dictation toolbar with voice commands in Word and Outlook on Mac. Microsoft Editor, which is similar to Grammarly, is also coming to Word for Mac, too. The updates are coming to customers with access to Microsoft 365 for Insiders in early 2021.
Also coming along with the new Outlook for Mac is calendar sharing. You’ll be able to give access to your calendar, plus plan meetings and events. This is coming to the Office Insider Mac Beta Channel in the first months of next year.
You’ll also be getting a new “modern commenting” experience in Word for Mac. Microsoft says this experience “enables a contextual view of comments that allows you to focus on your content without missing active comments by contributors and reviewers.” It will include support for @mentions and is available in the Office Insider Beta Channel now and coming to the Current Channel Preview in February 2021.
As for Microsoft Teams, a version that is optimized for Apple’s M1 Macs is on the way. The app is currently available in Rosetta emulation mode and the web. A universal app is in the works, and Microsoft promises more will be shared as work progresses.
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