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Microsoft Releases Office 2016 For Mac But Don't Celebrate Yet

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Microsoft has finally unveiled Office 2016 for the Mac, but only users with an Office 365 subscription can get it for now.

Office 2016 for the Mac has taken a long time coming. The last Mac version of Microsoft's popular cross-platform productivity suite was 2011, and Microsoft has taken four months of beta testing from March to June with seven major updates before it rolled out the final version to consumers.

It seems the beta period has paid off, though. As Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for Microsoft's Office Client Applications and Services group, writes, the new features integrated into Office 2016 are the result of 100,000 pieces of feedback received from users who volunteered to test the software.

"Office 2016 for Mac is now available in 139 countries and 16 languages," says Koenigsbauer. "Based on feedback from the great Mac Office community, we've made major updates to each of the apps, and we couldn't be more pleased to deliver it first to our Office 365 customers."

As expected, all of Microsoft's most popular apps are included. Words, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote receive sleek and shiny new improvements that combine the familiar Office environment with some of the best Mac features, such as the ability to toggle into full-screen view and use multi-touch gestures to execute certain actions.

Microsoft says Office 2016 for the Mac also gets full support for Apple's Retina displays, so users can expect to see clearer, sharper text and images when working on their files.

The new software also gets built-in document sharing tools designed for collaborators working on a single file. For instance, people working on a Word file can now share their comments in a threaded format right next to the text they are editing.

In Excel, users get a new chart previews tool that recommends the best charts most suitable for creating a visual representation of data. The spreadsheet software also gets PivotTable Slicers, which helps users filter and analyze large volumes of data.

PowerPoint also receives an interesting new feature called Presenter View, which lets users see their presentation's current slide, next slide, notes and a timer on their Mac screen, while their audience sees only the current slide.

Users who already have an Office 365 account may now download and install Office 2016 for their Macs. New Office 365 subscribers can also get Office 2016 immediately. The cheapest Office 365 is $6 for individual users and $8 for up to five users each. Students can also get Office 365 for free or for a deep discount. Those who would rather wait for a standalone version have until September to purchase the suite.

Check out the video below to catch some of the newest Office features in action.

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