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September 22, 2015

Microsoft launches secure & collaborative Office 2016

Windows giant focuses on the enterprise with latest update.

By Alexander Sword

Microsoft has released Office 2016, the latest apps with new collaboration, management and security solutions.

The latest versions of Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Visio and Access include co-authoring, allowing two people to edit a document in real-time and see each others’ edits.

In addition, there is in-app integration with Skype allowing Skype features to be used within the documents, while Office 365 Groups have been integrated with the Outlook 2016 client app.

Office 2016 also brings a range of security updates, including built-in data loss prevention across Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook, which will give IT administrators tools to manage content authoring and document-sharing. Also added was multi-factor authentication.

There are also new features for searching; Outlook removes low priority mail and there are now cloud-based attachments to provide every addressee of an email with access to documents.

Tell Me makes it easier to find Office features or commands, while Smart Lookup connects with the internet to provide insight within documents.

In addition, Excel brings integrated publishing to Power BI and new chart types, while a new list of recently used documents allows you to pick up where you left off on any device.

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Microsoft also announced new solutions that will be available in coming months, including Office 365 Planner, which helps teams organise their work, and GigJam, a new collaboration solution. New updates to OneDrive for Business, including a new sync client, are scheduled for later this month.

Enterprise data protection will be available in Office Mobile apps later in the year and in desktop apps early next year.

The product is available either as a one-time purchase or through Microsoft’s Office 365 subscription service.

"The way people work has changed dramatically, and that’s why Microsoft is focused on reinventing productivity and business processes for the mobile-first, cloud-first world," said Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft.

"These latest innovations take another big step forward in transforming Office from a familiar set of individual productivity apps to a connected set of apps and services designed for modern working, collaboration and teamwork."

Gareth Johnson, CEO Crayon UK, the IT asset management, commented on the updates:

"Microsoft Office 2016 really does change the game for enterprises, having been built from the ground up with today’s mobile first, cloud first playing field in mind. It looks and feels different and certainly has some clever new features to excite business users.

"Firstly, it becomes a hub for real-time collaboration, breaking down the geographical barriers workers face, something which will end up saving us all precious working hours in the future.

"The game-changer this time around though is real-time co-authoring, meaning users can simultaneously edit documents regardless of location. This renders obsolete the stress involved on waiting for colleagues to respond with amends to things like presentations.

"Another handy addition that should also help protect the enterprise from lapses in staff concentration is also included within Office 2016, with users of Word, Excel and Powerpoint now being warned when trying to save information marked as confidential outside of the corporate firewall.

"There’s also the added advantage of being licensed to use the new product across five devices when purchasing a subscription to Office 365, something that should help to solve a number of headaches associated with SAM in the process."

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