Microsoft opens up the Office 2016 preview for everyone, shows off new collaboration and search features

microsoft opens up the office 2016 test drive to general public preview now available 2

Microsoft revealed a preview of Office 2016 on May 4 at Ignite 2015, and a trial version is now available for users to test out. Some of the most notable features of the newest edition of Office include real-time co-authoring for collaboration and OneDrive synchronicity for Outlook. It will also be compatible with Mac products, such as the iPad, and Android tablets.

“Over the last 12 months, we’ve transformed Office from a suite of desktop applications to a complete, cross-platform, cross-device solution for getting work done,” wrote Jared Spataro, general manager of the Office marketing team, on Microsoft’s Office blog.

Excel has received several enhancements in Office 2016. The program can now push workbooks to Microsoft Power BI, display data in new charts and provide one-click forecasting. It also has a feature called Power Query, which allows individuals to use Excel to connect to a broad range of data sources, such as Salesforce.

Clutter, a new Exchange feature that lights up in Outlook, is also drawing attention to Office 2016. This smart application learns your email patterns and de-clutters your inbox accordingly. However, it isn’t the only smart app that comes with Office 2016.

Tell Me, for instance, will now allow you to search through all of your Word, PowerPoint and Excel files for exactly what you want. Insights, powered by Bing, will help you find what you’re looking for on the Internet.

Finally, Office 2016 comes with some appealing security and compliance features, such as Data Loss Protection, which lets administrators create organization-wide policies for document authoring and sharing. It also supports multi-factor authentication for additional security, which is important given the breath of connected surfaces Office can now talk with.

“Office 2016 Preview is still a work in progress, and while not all of the features we expect to ship in the fall are available for use now, new features will be added every month,” Spataro concluded. The full version of the software is expected to release in late 2015.