One of the more innovate and popular features that Apple added to the 2016 MacBook Air is the new Touch Bar, an OLED touchscreen display that replaces the old-school function keys and adapts to what a user is doing in MacOS or other applications. In order for it to be as valuable as possible, developers need to update their apps to support it.
Apple has added Touch Bar support to its own professional creativity applications, including Logic Pro X and Final Cut Pro X, and third-party developers are constantly adding support to their apps as well. Now, one of Apple’s most important third-party developers, Microsoft, has followed suit by adding Touch Bar support to its Office productivity suite.
Microsoft originally released Touch Bar support in Office 2016 for MacOS only to Office Insiders, specifically to the Slow Ring of that program with the release of version 15.31 (170207). Now, however, Microsoft released Touch Bar support to all Office 2016 for Mac users, as 9to5Mac reports and you can find out the details on the new Touch Bar functionality by checking out Microsoft’s original blog post from October.
Note that there is still good reason to be an Office Insider on your Mac and you can sign up for the program here. Once you’re an Office Insider, then you can choose to join one of two levels. The Office Insider Slow Ring is for those more risk-averse users who want early access to supported builds with minimal hassle. The Office Insider Fast Ring is for risk takers who can live with more issues but want access to the absolute earliest preview builds.
But you no longer have to be an Office Insider to get support. If you have automatic updating turned on, then you might have already received the update. If not, then you can open any Office app. then go to Help > Check for Updates and kick off the update manually. Once you do, you’ll be able to more easily access Office commands using your MacBook Pro’s shiny new Touch Bar.
Updated on 2-16-2017 by Mark Coppock: Added details that Touch Bar support is now available for all Office 2016 for Mac users.