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Office Insiders treated to new Insider build, can level up their querying skills

A person using a laptop that displays various Microsoft Office apps.
Microsoft is now rolling out the latest Insider build of Office 2016 (v16.0.6769.2011) that adds a few new features to the popular productivity suite. These additions consist of power query enhancements, a better way to share files and folders, and the ability to quickly search for photos. This update is automatically downloaded and installed for those who are enrolled in the Insider program.

According to Microsoft, Power Query is a new feature in Excel for seeking out, combining, and refining data from a number of sources. Users can also search for public data located on the likes of Wikipedia and similar outlets. There are also new transformations and enhancements to Excel’s connectivity capabilities.

Next up is OneDrive, which has received a new Search Photos command that allows users to examine photo tags and metadata. This new command also allows users to find and extract text that is contained within photos. Microsoft states that beginning with this specific Insider build, Search Photos can even recognize objects found within photos. That machine learning functionality should make it easy to find a relevant photo no matter the size of your Pictures folder.

The new Office 2016 build also injects OneDrive with an option to share files using email or a “get link” function. For the latter option, users can share these links anywhere, such as Facebook, Twitter, or in an instant message. When the recipient clicks on the link, he/she can view or edit the file, depending on the set permissions. A sign-in is not required to view the linked file, so be cautious about where it’s posted. Microsoft provides more information about OneDrive file sharing right here.

So how do you get into the Insider program? First, hopeful testers must be a subscriber to Office 365 Home, Personal, or University. To get into the program, simply visit the Additional Install Options page of My Account. There subscribers log into the service using their Office 365 info, and choose the Insider option found within the Version drop-down menu. If Office 365 is already installed, the software will be automatically updated to the latest Insider build. Additional details regarding the Android, Windows 10 Mobile, and Mac platforms can be found here.

Naturally, Insiders will get new features first. The remaining subscribers of Office 365 Home, Personal, and University receive the updated features around one to three weeks later in waves, presumably to make sure the updated Office 2016 changes aren’t causing problems. In either case, users must configure Office for Windows and Office for Mac accordingly if they want to automatically download new updates. This is easily done in any Office app by clicking on File, then Account, and then Update Options.

Recent changes to Office 2016 include the ability to save and publish workbook items in Excel, the ability to browse, join, and create groups from within Outlook, and an improved selection handle so that users on touchscreen devices can better manipulate small objects in all Office apps. There is also now an Archive command on the Outlook ribbon for quickly archiving items stored in the inbox or any other folder.

For more information about Office 365 for home use, head here. Prices start at $70 per year or $7 per month. Office 365 Personal is offered to consumers who need a single copy (one on PC, one on tablet, one on phone) whereas Office 365 Home covers five computers, five tablets, and five phones. This latter option is a better deal honestly if consumers have more than one member in the household that needs to use Word, Excel, and everything else Microsoft Office provides.

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