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Mac users have often griped at the lack of functionality in Office products that have been designed for the Mac. Problems ranged from minor annoyances to full blown bugs. But in Office 2016 for Mac, many of the problems seem to have been ironed out.
The Mac has never been top priority at Microsoft. So the flagship product at Microsoft, Office, has always been geared more towards Windows than at the Mac. However, that seems to be changing, because with Office 2016, Microsoft seems to have finally woken up to the possibility that there are many people out there using the Mac, and they need to develop Office software for those users too.
Office 2016 for Mac was previewed recently, and here are the salient features.
1. The look of it is just awesome, especially if you have a retina screen. Microsoft has adopted the Apple Cocoa APIs, which means the graphics are sharp and the interface is intuitive, like all Apple interfaces.
2. The interface is similar to Office 2011, and almost identical to Office 2013. Some of the ribbons have been reorganised and some of the icons have been redesigned, but almost all of the traditional Office functionality is intact.
3. OneDrive is baked into the pie. The default save option of any document is on OneDrive, the Microsoft cloud platform. This means that saving onto your local machine or onto your iCloud is going to be more laborious than it should be.
4. In Word, there is a new collaborative facility with allows two users to simultaneously edit a single document. But unlike in Google Docs, where changes appear in real time, here the changes appear when both users manually save the document on their end. This could lead to synchronisation issues unless a process is set in place.
5. In Excel 2016, you will be able to build pivot tables, but not pivot charts. The Visual Basic editor does not work properly in this beta version, though it is likely that macros will be enabled in the final version. All the little annoying compatibility issues between the Windows and Mac versions of Excel 2013 – like keyboard shortcuts – look to have been corrected.
6. PowerPoint for Mac has a new Presenter feature, which shows notes on one monitor and the presentation on the other. This is similar to the Presenter view in the Windows 2013 version of PowerPoint. Microsoft has also ‘synced’ many other features of Windows PowerPoint 2013 with those of Mac PowerPoint 2016.

Indrasish Banerjee

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