What are the new features or tips and tricks of Microsoft Office 2016 (Excel, Word, PowerPoint)?

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Are you speaking of Office 2016 for Mac (which was released on July 9, 2015), or of Office 2016 for Windows (which is slated for release later in 2016 as of this writing, and is now available as a preview—see Office 2016 Preview)? The feature parity between Windows and Mac versions is much greater than in previous versions, but I’ll use the Mac version as an example for now, and assume that most of this applies to the Windows version to be released.

As for significant new features, see Office 2016 for Mac, Office 365, Word, Excel, PowerPoint. There’s no need to explain in detail here on Quora what’s already on the Microsoft website, but here are some personal observations:

For Word, the Paste options are available via dropdown menu on the Ribbon, and the Styles toolbox has now become a full-fledged pane that is “docked” to the right side of the screen on the Mac version. (This already worked on Office 2013 for Windows.) There aren’t any new features as far as styles and formatting go in Word, however. The threaded comments feature is fairly nice, and allows you to track discussions on document content. Again, this is new for the Mac, but it was already in Office 2013 for Windows. Ditto for the “Double-click to show/hide white space” option—this is now available for the Mac version, but it was in the Windows version since Office 2003, I believe. Most everything else in Word looks largely the same as before.

For Excel, the Mac version now allows for Windows-style CTRL+[keystroke] keyboard shortcuts to be used, and in-cell editing can be toggled with F2. Again, this has been in the Windows version forever. The Mac version now offers better Symbol insertion features (clicking on Symbol on the Insert ribbon will display the Mac OS X universal symbol palette, including emoji!). (Word does not offer this feature, and still relies on the legacy “Advanced Symbol” dialog box, with the frustratingly tiny character grid.) The Formulas tab on the Ribbon has been completely redone on the Mac version to catch up with the Windows version, although if you are an Excel veteran, this may not be terribly useful, unless you get really stuck on formulas.

Finally, for PowerPoint, there are new animations and templates, and a Comments pane is now available to view Comments at a glance on the Mac version (this has already been available on the Windows version since Office 2013). The “Merge Shapes” feature on the Shape Format tab of the Ribbon is useful if you wish to create new shapes of your own (these shapes can also be copied and pasted to other Office apps), but this was already a hidden feature in Office for Mac 2011 SP2 (as I recall) and a standard feature for Office 2013 for Windows. Likewise, the Format pane is now available on the Mac version, which allows you to edit shape attributes much as you would in apps like OmniGraffle. (This is actually a Mac-only feature from the looks of it, but it may find its way into Office 2016 for Windows.)

As for tips and tricks, it’s hard to give useful examples without knowing what you are looking for, how you generally use Office, and which product in the Office suite you use the most. The major differences I’ve noted vs. previous versions are in the user interface. The Ribbon has been upgraded and reorganized a bit. RTL (right-to-left) text support is STILL incomplete after all these years on the Mac version. New templates are available for the entire suite.

You might want to edit your question to specify which Office platform you mean, and let us know more about what Office apps you primarily use and what you mean by “tips and tricks”. The Microsoft Community forums (Office – Microsoft Community) provide dollops of insight on specific use cases—I’ve learned quite a bit from these forums over the years. At any rate, hope that this information is useful.


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