As if yesterday’s Windows 10 announcements were not enough news out of Redmond this week, the Office 365 team leveraged the Office Blog to detail the upcoming version of Microsoft’s productivity suite. Office 2016 will be the next desktop suite, optimized for the keyboard and mouse, and it should be available in the second half of 2015. On the Windows 10 theme though, the new Office universal apps have been detailed, and will be available across the desktop, tablet, and phone form factors.

The styling is very similar to the Office for iPad and Android apps which have launched in the last while, but these will be universal apps, so the experience should be very similar across the Microsoft platforms. The Outlook Mail and Outlook Calendar apps will be the replacement for the Mail and Calendar apps on both the desktop and the phone, which is a good thing for consistency. We are not sure if this will be in the first Technical Preview for the phone or not, but hopefully it is so we can get an earlier look at it.

“Word for Windows 10—Create and edit great looking documents with Word. Review and mark-up documents, then share your work with others to collaborate in real time. The new Insights for Office feature (powered by Bing) in Read mode brings additional online resources like images, web references and definitions right to you in your reading experience.”

“Excel for Windows 10—Use Excel to create and update spreadsheets and gain new insights as you analyze data and visualize it with charts. And new touch-first controls shine in Excel, you won’t even miss your keyboard and mouse when selecting ranges of cells, formatting your pie charts or managing your workbooks.”

“PowerPoint for Windows 10—Create and edit beautiful presentations with PowerPoint. Then use Presenter View to prepare and present with confidence, even use Ink Tools to annotate your slides in real time so your audience really knows what you are talking about.”

“OneNote for Windows 10—Capture all your thoughts, ideas and to-do’s with the new version of OneNote. Getting things done with your friends, classmates and colleagues has never been easier with shared notebooks–now with the consistent Office ribbon experience.”

“Outlook Mail and Outlook Calendar for Windows 10—Crafting emails has never been easier or more powerful, with the familiar and rich capability of Microsoft Word built into the authoring experience. Simply insert tables, add pictures and use bullets and color to get your point across. Keep up with your inbox with new touch gestures that help you read, sort, flag and archive your mail.”

As these are just screen shots, final judgment will have to wait until the apps are made available to preview testers, but we can still glean some information from the images. First, the Outlook client is very much similar to, which once again improves consistency across the platforms. The ribbon is front and center on all of the other apps. They are very much like the iOS and Android versions, which should make for a great experience.

All of the apps have a common feel, and they look like a great update. The OneNote update in particular adds a lot of functionality to the Windows Store version of the app that exists now. Windows Phone will gain a lot of functionality over the existing Office integration. After a 2014 of Microsoft focusing on competing platforms, users of its products should welcome these updates. Pricing has not been revealed, but it is likely that they will be similar to the other mobile platforms where basic functionality is available for no cost, and an Office 365 subscription is required to unlock all features.

Source: Office Blog.

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  • ayejay_nz - Thursday, January 22, 2015 - link

    I hope that Outlook screenshot is of a 'simple' view and that an 'advanced' view can be switched to :o
  • Zak - Thursday, January 22, 2015 - link

    Why would you want to clutter all that gorgeous white and blue space with useless buttons and menus?
  • Makaveli - Thursday, January 22, 2015 - link

    lol zak not sure if serious!
  • djscrew - Friday, January 23, 2015 - link

    he sounds sarcastic but I have to agree with the sentiment... I don't want a bunch of clutter in Outlook. 99% of the time in outlook I don't need much more than an inbox and a calendar. Most of the other shit is just a waste of space and gets in the way of my nice big inbox and nice big email display. This new version looks good, although I'm pretty happy with my 2013 version after hiding a bunch of stuff and making the menu at the top only show when I click the button to make it drop down.
  • Tams80 - Friday, January 23, 2015 - link

    For my tastes, the 2013 version still used up more space to show the same amount of information, or rather shows less information at a time (even when it's just the inboxes, messages, and calenders.

    2013 was a needed cleanup, but they went too far with the damn white space and made everything a bit too big.
  • bountygiver - Friday, January 23, 2015 - link

    Keep in mind these universal apps are meant for more simplified usage (which matches the functionality of the current Mail app on Windows 8), which will only have as much feature as the phone ones, where the ones with advanced features remains on the desktop only app.
  • Disorganise - Thursday, January 22, 2015 - link

    Can we pleeeeease change outlook back to yellow? Having Word, Outlook, Visio and Lync all blue is REALLY hard to differentiate on the task bar. I never realize how much you rely on colour (and shape) to quickly navigate until my work PC was upgraded to Office 2013. I actually ended up getting most the suite downgraded back to 2007
  • Alexvrb - Thursday, January 22, 2015 - link

    I know what you mean, I often mistake a W for an O because they are the same color. That's why I painted them different colors on my keyboard. Definitely worth downgrading to an inferior version to get a different color icon.
  • inighthawki - Thursday, January 22, 2015 - link

    Can't tell if you are being extremely rude and sarcastic, or for some strange reason actually painting your keyboard...
  • krutou - Friday, January 23, 2015 - link

    Obviously sarcasm, he pointed out all of the fallacies in Disorganise's comment.

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