As promised, Microsoft has finally launched its Office 2016 for Windows today. The latest suite of Microsoft’s Office tools, which was announced back in January and released for Mac in July, has finally made its way to the most beloved PC platform of the world.
However, unlike the test version — which was free — you are going to have to shell out cash, either once or on a monthly basis, to continue enjoying the Office 2016 services.
So what are the options you get ?
You can purchase an Office 365 subscription, starting at $6.99 per month (Office 365 Personal) or $9.99 per month (Office 365 Home). Microsoft has promised that you’ll now see “more frequent updates with new features and improvements.” Or you can purchase the entire suite upfront, at once — $149 for Office 2016 Home and Student while $229 for Office 2016 Home and Business.
The new Office for Windows has been designed while keeping all the various type of Windows toting devices out there. Not only does it support multi-touch input on touch-enabled devices along with the conventional Keyboard-Mouse system, but it also permits the user to let go of the hassle of remembering passwords by allowing them to login via a biometric recognition system that allows you to confirm your identity through your finger, iris, or face.
That being said, the touch feature is still best used with Windows 8 and 8.1, although they do support the 7 as well.
The new office tools also lay a lot of emphasis on teamwork. Real-time co-authoring, one of Office’s more popular tools, that has been available in its web apps ever since 2013, are finally being integrated into the native apps as well. While Microsoft Word has already received the feature, other office apps are also expected to receive it shortly. The feature is certainly going to prove very handy.
The company is also launching Office 365 Groups today. launched for Outlook 2015 as well as an app for Android, iOS, and Windows Phones, the feature allows users to create public or private teams that can share an inbox, calendar, notebook, and cloud storage for group files.
Microsoft Excel has also undergone a renovation and now features integrated publishing to Power BI and all-new chart types. Microsoft has also promised to add new charts, formulas, connectors, and other cool stuff later. Office apps also feature a brand new integration with Skype that allows instant message, screen share, talk, or video chat right from your documents.
Microsoft has also upped its security. While the new Data Loss Prevention feature promises to plug the leaking of sensitive data by giving IT admins greater sway over policies for content authoring and document sharing, Multi-factor authentication lets employees have a good nights sleep by enforcing secure access to content, when they are away from their corporate networks.
The system requirements for installing the Office 365 on your systems are as follows:
- A Valid Microsoft account.
- 1 GHz or faster x86 or x64 Processor with SSE2 instruction set
- 3.0 GB of Available Hard Disk.
- A Display of at least 1280×800 resolution.
- At least 2 GB of RAM.
- DirectX 10 for Hardware acceleration.
- Runs on Windows 7 Service Pack 1, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2012 R2, or Windows 10 Server
- Microsoft Edge, Mozilla Firefox 35 or higher, Chrome 40 or higher, Internet Explorer 9 or higher for internet browsing.
- .NET 3.5 required, however, .NET 4.0 or 4.5 CLR needed to access all features.
Well, if your system fulfils all the above requirements, you can get the Office 365 tools by visiting the Microsoft website. As mentioned before, an Office 365 subscription, along with the promise of regular updates and support can be had for $6.99 per month (Office 365 Personal) or $9.99 per month (Office 365 Home). On the other hand, if you would prefer to make a one time payment and be done with it, Office Home & Student cost $149 while Office Home & Business, with its larger array of features, is somewhat more pricey at $229.
Talking about recent event on Microsoft’s update calendar, the company is planning to integrate the Enterprise Data Protection (EDP) in Office Mobile later this year, while the desktop app for the same is expected to hit the public by early 2016. Also, starting from November, Cortana may be relied upon to take care of Calender and e-mails via Outlook 2016 support. The feature is expected to be released for both Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile simultaneously.
Microsoft also has a couple of unreleased apps in its bag that may be introduced next year as part of the new Office 365 setup. These apps include the Office Planner, which is to be available for preview next quarter, and productivity app GigJam. The company is particularly excited at the latter’s impending inclusion into the Office family and described it as
an unprecedented new way for teams to accomplish tasks and transform business processes by breaking down the barriers between devices, apps, and people.
Well, Microsoft’s upcoming schedule certainly looks pretty loaded, thanks to the Office 365 and its associate software. However, that is probably a small price to pay for being the company which has its products installed in virtually every house with a desktop. Also, as an aside, Microsoft is probably going to make a lot of money too!
(and yea, don’t wonder why MS announces Office for a rival OS before its own blood).