Office 2016 Release Date Set, Windows 10 Details Arrive

Microsoft gave attendees of its Windows 10 Media Briefing a look at Office for touch yesterday, but it’s going into much more detail. This morning Microsoft shared another look at its touch-centric apps Office for Windows 10.

Microsoft talked about the new additions coming to its Microsoft Office family of apps and services in a post on the Office Blog earlier today. Included were very detailed descriptions of the individual apps that’ll make up Office for Windows. In total, six different apps will make up Office for Windows 10. Four of those are set to rival what’s the Office for iPad and Office for Android apps. The fifth is the Outlook client, something that’s not available on any other platform.



All five apps are made for a different tasks, but there are some common elements. The ribbon that divides formatting changes and saving options is in the Office for Windows 10 apps. Commands and options for getting things done like saving, sharing and redoing something also sit at the top of the screen.

Microsoft says the Office for Windows 10 apps will come pre-installed on all Windows 10 devices. That being said, it’ll continue to offer upgraded versions of the Desktop version of Office that users are more familiar with. These will continue to be their solution for mouse and keyboard users who like precision and don’t have touch. Named Office 2016, Microsoft plans to update these this year.


Word for Windows 10 does exactly what anyone who has used Office before might assume it does. It easily allows users to create documents. Some of the big changes here include a new real-time collaboration function so that users can edit documents while they’re colleagues are editing too. Excel for Windows 10, PowerPoint for Windows 10 appear just as feature rich and offer nearly identical user interfaces.



OneNote is the only one of the Office for Windows 10 apps that’s an upgrade. Today, there’s a very basic version of Office available for free in the Windows Store. That version doesn’t include some basic formatting and forces what formatting and editing options users do have into a small wheel that appears when users touch the screen. OneNote for Windows 10 appears to dump that much hated options wheel in favor of organizing tabs and options in a ribbon above the writing area.


Finally there’s Outlook for Windows 10. Instead of being one experience, Outlook is divided into two separate apps: Outlook Calendar and Outlook Mail. Outlook Mail looks a lot like the Mail app offered to users of Windows 8.1. There are three different panes. One holds folder and account information, the second organize the actual emails and the third acts as the reading and composing window. Microsoft says that Outlook Mail has Microsoft Word built-in. As such, users should expect more formatting and viewing options built-in. Outlook Calendar has tons more features too.


With Windows 10, Microsoft is trying to popular Universal Apps, apps that work across different devices with a slightly different interfaces. These Office for Windows 10 apps are Universal Apps, so users can expect every feature to be available on smartphones and tablets.


The company posted a briefing look at each Office for Windows 10 app too. Even from the screenshots and video it’s easy to see that what users are getting here are better options than they had before. That’s especially true for Windows phone users. That version of Office has lagged behind every other version for years.

Members of the Windows Insider Program will be the first to try Office for Windows 10 when Microsoft issues an update next week. Microsoft Office 2016 will get detailed later this year.