February has been another busy month for releases across our Office clients on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android. There are a number of exciting new capabilities in Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. In addition, we released the first cumulative feature update since the initial September release of the Office 2016 apps—otherwise known as the “Deferred Channel” build—for our commercial customers. Read on for the details.

Enhancing the Office experience on mobile devices

We’re continuing to make Office on mobile devices even easier, more natural, fluid and contextual, so you can use Office to do more, faster, with whatever device you have in your hand.

  • Annotate with ink on Windows tablets—Last month we discussed the evolution of the inking experience in Office. Now you can use your pen, finger and the new tools in the Draw tab to naturally write, draw and annotate in Word, Excel and PowerPoint Mobile on Windows tablets (available initially to Office Insiders).

Review and comment on documents with your pen or finger—no printing required.

  • Pin your docs to the Start menu on Windows phones and tablets—It’s even easier to pick up where you left off by pinning your favorite documents, spreadsheets, presentations and notes to the Windows Start menu. Get going in just a couple of taps!

Pin your documents to the Start menu to get going in one tap.

  • Insert images using the camera on your phone or tablet— Office apps are now integrated with your device’s built-in camera, so you can capture images, crop and insert them directly into your documents on Windows and Android phones and tablets. This is available now in PowerPoint for Office Insiders and will be coming soon for Word and Excel.

Capture and crop images directly into Office apps using the built-in camera on your Windows and Android phones and tablets.

Box integration is now available in Word, Excel and PowerPoint on iPhone and iPad.

Boosting Excel with more functions, charts and sharing options

We added more ways to manipulate, visualize, and share your data with Excel. New functions make it simpler and faster to build common calculations, and improved Formula AutoComplete helps you find the function you’re looking for (click here for more information). The launch of Excel 2016 brought you new chart types, such as Treemap, Sunburst and Waterfall. Now we added the Funnel chart for Windows desktops, tablets and phones, as well as Android, enabling you to display data in progressively decreasing proportions. Learn more here.

The Funnel chart helps you display data in progressively decreasing proportions.

We’re also making it easier than ever to share what you work on in Excel with others. Excel is now more integrated into the Power BI service. This means you can now pin your workbook’s rich formatted charts and graphs directly to your Power BI dashboards and interact with them from anywhere—giving you even more options for telling your story through data. (Read more here; Power BI subscription required.)

Pin your Excel workbook’s richly formatted charts and graphs directly to your Power BI dashboards.

Outlook improves connections with Office 365 Groups and adds one-click Archive

Outlook 2016 helps you stay connected with your Office 365 Groups by providing integrated access to your team’s shared inbox, shared calendar, OneNote notebook, OneDrive and more. Now we’re making it even easier for commercial Office 365 customers to browse, join and create Office 365 Groups right from within Outlook 2016. We’re adding a new Groups section to the ribbon with easy entry points to browse and join Office 365 Groups. Suggested Groups offer one-click access to relevant Groups you might like to join, personalized based on information in the Office Graph. You can also create new Groups from the ribbon.

It’s even easier to browse, join and create relevant Office 365 Groups from within Outlook 2016.

We’re also introducing an Archive capability in Outlook 2016 that lets you quickly move messages out of your inbox and into another folder. This will allow you to triage your inbox with an experience similar to archiving in other email services like Outlook.com. Archive is rolling out to Outlook 2016, coming soon for Outlook for Mac, and available today in Outlook on iOS, Android and the web.

Archive is coming to Outlook 2016 to help you triage your inbox more quickly.

Office for Mac updates

Office has addressed key customer feedback with improvements and new features for Office for Mac.

  • Morph is now part of PowerPoint for Mac—Morph is one of the latest PowerPoint tools that helps you create stunning presentations quickly. The Morph transition effect helps you easily transform and move several objects at once across slides. Get started here.

The Morph transition effect is now available in PowerPoint for Mac, and the Quick Access Toolbar in the top-left is now customizable.

  • Customize the Quick Access Toolbar – In response to a top user request, Word, Excel and PowerPoint for Mac now allow you to customize commands in the Quick Access Toolbar. Pick your favorite commands (such as New, Print or Save) to show at all times in the top-left corner. Get started here.

  • Faster updates—Office for Mac users who stay current can now download just the latest incremental changes since the last release. This means faster downloads of smaller update packages, with download sizes to drop even more in the coming months.

We’ve seen over 150,000 downloads of early builds of Office for Mac apps through the Office Insiders program since initial availability last month. If you haven’t joined yet, opt in to the Office Insider build from the Microsoft Auto Update (MAU) tool on your Mac. To learn more about Office Insider on Mac, go to Office.com/Insider. Follow the updates and get Office Insider support @OfficeInsider on Twitter.

Office 2016 build now available for commercial customers in Deferred Channel

We are releasing the first Office 365 Deferred Channel build, which is effectively the September 22, 2015 release of Office 2016 with four additional months of security updates included. Deferred Channel allows commercial customers to elect to receive cumulative packages of new Office features three times a year, instead of in monthly updates. This can be helpful for taking extra time to validate add-ins, macros, custom line-of-business applications, etc. Customers on Deferred Channel can get the new build of Office 2016 in the Office 365 User Software Page as well as the Office CDN.

You can learn more about what’s new in Office 2016 and Office for Mac. If you’re an Office 365 Home or Personal customer, be sure to sign up for Office Insider builds to be the first to use the latest and greatest in Office productivity. Commercial customers on both Current Channel and Deferred Channel can also get early access to a fully supported build through First Release.

—Kirk Koenigsbauer

February Office 365 updates - Office Blogs