Microsoft Office 2016 Release Date Set For September 22, 2015

Microsoft finally announced the official release date of the new version of its office productivity suite, Microsoft Office 2016 (codenamed Office 16). Microsoft has set September 22, 2015 as the release date of Office 2016 for Windows. Office 2016 for Mac is already released and is available through Office 365 subscription. The preview version of Microsoft Office 2016 was first announced back in March and it is already available for a test. Office 365 subscribers can download the preview version from their Microsoft Account to test out the new features. Volume licensed consumers of Microsoft Office will be able to download the productivity suite from October 1, 2015.


Microsoft Office 2016: What’s New?

Here’s a partial list of new features of Microsoft Office 2016:

  • Math input control is now available in Word, Excel and PowerPoint. You can write math equations with a digital pen, a pointing device, or even your finger, and have the ink converted to a “typed” format.
  • Improved conflict resolution in PowerPoint that simplifies resolving conflicts when co-authoring.
  • Quick Shape Formatting increases the number of default shape styles by introducing new “preset” styles in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • New timeline view in Project to display multiple timeline bars in a single view.
  • Visio getting started feature to help users who are new to Visio and not used to the rich set of tools offered.
  • Higher DPI support for 250% and 300% so that Office documents look great on larger screens.
  • Pan and zoom while loading large charts/SmartArt.
  • New “Colorful” Office theme to align with the visuals of modern apps. The default theme is now “Colorful” (previously, the default theme was “White”).
  • Insert images with the correct orientation with automatic image rotation. This only affects newly inserted images and does not apply to pictures in existing documents.
  • Skype for Business (earlier known as Lync) comes with host of new features to try including the Call Monitor, new “Peek” menu/conversation control and more.
  • The Building Plan and Electrical stencils in Visio have been refreshed with new shapes.
  • New and improved ways to easily attach Office documents from the Ribbon or Action Bar in Outlook emails. Cloud attachments in Outlook now possible.
  • New “Clutter” feature introduced in Outlook to sort low priority messages.
  • Read-only mode for Excel that lets you open up an Excel workbooks within SharePoint in read-only mode to quickly get to what matters most.
  • New Chinese and Japanese Default Fonts have been updated with a Unified modern look and feel across the primary authoring apps: Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook Mail and OneNote.
  • Improved Cloud connection makes it easier to share files and collaborate.
  • The backstage user interface, the place from where you can open and save documents, is updated to be more intuitive as far as storage locations are concerned.

Office 2016 includes many more new features which is not possible to include in this post. The complete list can be seen here.

Microsoft Office 2016 Release Date and the new Software Update Model

Alongside the announcement of Office 2016 release date, Microsoft also shared insights to new features and options which will be available for I.T. admins and businesses looking to deploy the productivity suite. A new update path has been introduced for Office 365 ProPlus customers. See the screenshot below for an overview.

New Office 365 ProPlus Software Update Model

Current Branch (CB) and Current Branch for Business (CBB) update model in Office 365 ProPlus.

Office 365 ProPlus subscribers who are subscribed to Office for companies will receive the Current Branch (CB), Microsoft’s new way to say “always up-to-date” version. This means company’s will receive monthly feature and security updates just as they have been over the past few years.

But based on customer feedbacks, Microsoft has introduced a new update model called Current Branch for Business (CBB). This new CBB model is consistent with how the company delivers Windows 10 updates to businesses. Through CBB, Microsoft will offer three cumulative feature updates per year, while continuing to offer monthly security updates. This new software update model is designed for organizations that wants to first test new releases of Office 2016 before rolling out the new features.

Office 365 Personal and Office 365 Home users need not have to worry about the new model. Personal and Home users can start installing Office 2016 apps on September 22, 2015 from, and automatic updates will begin rolling out in October. The new “tri-annual update model” is purely for organizational subscribers of Office 365 ProPlus.

Office 2016 for Mac

Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac is already available for Apple Mac OS X users since July, 2015. At this moment, Office 2016 for Mac is available only for Office 365 subscribers. At the time of release of Office for Mac back in July, the company hinted that the standalone version will not arrive until September.

Source: Office Blogs

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