This Is All About The Microsoft Office 2016 Tools
If you’re a student, we expect that you’re eager to get your hands on this incredibly useful pie of elite software tools. But the buzz is still new in Microsoft Office 2016, so we understand if you have questions (plenty) and concerns (some) on migrating to this new version. And that’s why we’re here, to help YOU understand what every student needs to know (for sure) before biting the upgrade bullet.
In this post, we capture 13 facets that can redefine the Microsoft Office 2016 experience for you. Do note that we’ve tried to capture authentic information on the price range, version, etc. in this post. However, please refer to the Microsoft website for updated information.
14 New Refer to Microsoft Office 2016 Tools
Microsoft Office 2016 Tools is FREE, for Students
We bet this got you sitting straighter! But YES, this means that the cost you pay to use this fancy software suite is potentially Zero. Nada. Zip. Zilch. It’s true!
Reaffirming their commitment to support Education, Microsoft has released Office 365 Education, a version that specifically caters to students, professors, and other teaching faculty. If you’re eligible for it (meaning you’re a part/ full-time student of a qualifying school/ academic institution and have an email-id associated with it), you can use the Office 365 Education online suite for free ($10 for faculty members).
Yes, we did say online (not downloadable apps). But this is good – no, a great thing for students with steady internet access, as the suite is designed to make online collaboration easier (so your team can simultaneously work on a project using Office online tools).
If you wish to use the thick client on your personal pc/laptop, you can purchase a legal copy of Office 365 2016 that comes bundled with a reasonable student discount and a 4-year subscription.
Microsoft Office 2016 Learning eases online collaboration
In the past few years, Microsoft has steadily been endorsing cloud computing and its vast benefits, so users can seamlessly collaborate online using their Office suite.
The free student version entitles you to:
- A basic version of the suite (includes Word 2016, Excel 2016, OneNote 2016 and PowerPoint 2016, all must-have tools for students).
- 1 TB of free storage space on OneDrive.
- Seamless integration and compatibility with SharePoint, Yammer, etc.
This allows you to easily create and share Office files with your peer group at school, effectively manage your contacts list (and the people you choose to share your files with), and organize your calendar online. You can also have several people simultaneously co-author a file in Word. A small pity that this much-needed feature is restricted to Word in the Microsoft Office 2016 tools desktop version; but we hope that this trend will positively flow to other Office tools as well (hopefully, well before the next big release). Yes, Microsoft is now actively supporting teamwork and online collaboration.
Microsoft Office 2016 Microsoft Office 2016 Tools Features is backward compatible
Let us quickly clarify what we mean by backward compatible.
- It can run on systems that supported its previous version (Office 2010). So if you have Windows 7 and above, you’re mostly good to go. (Phew!)
- It works on Mac, like before. (Double phew!) For this, you will need to use Microsoft Office 2016 tools for MAC (released on September 22nd, 2015).
- It is compatible with (a few) older versions of Chrome, Internet Explorer and Firefox.
- Most importantly, it recognizes older files from versions 2007, 2010 and 2013. (We understand that this can be a big concern for some users, that their older files are no longer readable with newer versions.) For versions before 2003, a compatibility pack is available for download on the MS page.
Microsoft Office 2016 tools are cross-compatible
It’s not just cloud computing that Microsoft endorses, it’s also seamless cross-platform computing. This means that your version of Microsoft Office 2016 tools can operate equally effectively on PCs, tablets and smartphones and their like (both touch-screen and mouse-friendly versions). And there’s that special version for Mac users too.
(Incidentally, if you decide to buy a new Windows 10 mobile device or even the tablet version, it comes (freely) bundled with the latest version of Office. Aha!)
This enables you to seamlessly create/ share and edit your files, whether you’re at work, school or play. You can also have multiple users create, access and edit it simultaneously, and integrate it with external tools like Yammer and SharePoint for an even more collaborative experience.
Share to your heart’s content with Microsoft Office 2016
As a student, what’s that one thing you do most with your phone? (And no, this is not a trick question).
Call or talk to somebody? No!
Text somebody? Wrong again!
Think about it.
- Did you find the download link for Microsoft Office 2016 tools for your school/ university? You share it with your peer group.
- Your exam results are up online? You share it with your besties.
- Do you read a crazily funny joke on Facebook? And oh-my-God, you have to share it with somebody!
You share, to show that you care!
Student life is all about sharing your resources with others. And Microsoft Office 2016 learning allows you to happily share its resources to your heart’s content. There’s an exclusive share button that takes email addresses (and contacts in your list) that allows you to do this just as easily as your mobile.
And you can even share your Notebook!
Hey, we did tell you that Microsoft Office 2016 tools allow you to take sharing to another level. In true form, OneNote 2016 supports this too.
Within OneNote, you can now invite contacts (or email addresses) to share your notebook. This allows your group to centralize all important information like info notes, videos, clippings, images, and a whole lot more. It also allows you to sync updates easily as it generates a common link for access when you send an invitation for sharing with others.
Just, Tell Me!
Do you remember “Clippy,” that cute little assistant dude that was eager to help you in Office 2003? Microsoft lost him in later versions, but have now brought back a 2016 refined version called “Tell Me”.
This “useful Office assistant” is available across all Office 2016 products and enables you to ask MS what you want to do, so it calls to tell you how to do it. So for instance, let’s say you want to create an excel bar chart from scratch. So in Microsoft 2016, you invoke “Tell me” and key in your demand: “How to create a bar chart?” And your demand is this assistant’s command, so it will point you to the commands that can fulfill what you want.
We guess only time will tell if the “Tell Me” dude is indeed as useful (or as friendly) as good old Clippy.
Seamlessly find what you want with Insights.
MS has us believing that Microsoft Office 2016 tools has indeed smartened up in several ways. Smart assistant, smart sharing features, and an even smarter (Bing-powered) lookup called Insights. You can highlight text from your files in Word, Excel, PowerPoint (and even Outlook) and use Insights to instantly find related pages, articles, and images on the web. This is mighty helpful for students slogging through a tough assignment and appreciative of expert online help!
Use Excel 2016 to forecast.
Now, this is one feature that’s sure to be a hit with Stats’ and Analytics’ students. We’ve traditionally used Excel, to sum up, lists, create a bar graph or chart or two, or perhaps even introduce an interactive dashboard. Now, your sheets can truly blow away their audience with clever forecasting.
Simply capture your data (aka historical data) onto an Excel 2016 sheet, and use the forecasting feature to predict values for the future. (Excel extends this onto a new sheet so your old sheet is left untouched).
Now, you look like the expert you’re studying to be!
A much smarter OneNote
Microsoft Office 2016 learning again plays its smartness with an enhanced OneNote app. Here are some of the cool things you can do (across platforms and devices) with OneNote 2016:
- Take a picture of all that your tutor has captured on the whiteboard with your phone’s camera, and easily integrate/ share this as a OneNote resource.
- Use your touch-sensitive Tablet/ PC to quickly scribble or draw something by hand (way faster than typing).
- Easily record audio (including a whole lecture).
- Organize your life with even better lists. (Easily manage assignments, schedules, activities, etc.)
- Quickly add foot-notes and other annotations to your PowerPoint slides and Word files.
- Share all that you’ve captured with your social group. (We’ve already talked about this).
- Collaborate together using cloud computing resources, share online and across devices.
At the risk of sounding repetitive, this is indeed smart(er).
A better reading experience
We have to say that the features introduced in Microsoft Office 2016 tools vastly improve the overall working and reading experience for us. It comes pre-loaded with 3 brand new themes – a vibrant color theme, a dark grey theme and a dark theme, all with a high contrast color palette that is surprisingly easy on the eyes. There’s also the effortless lookup through Insights and the enhanced reading mode (in Word). In addition, Word 2016 provides for a smooth integration with other non-MS tools.
More power to templates
MS templates have been pretty basic; they work for most of our users, but advanced users typically find the need to tweak a thing or two. We believe MS has taken note of user concerns and are strengthening the quality of their default templates. For instance, the in-built templates in Excel 2016 are noticeably better as they take care of the initial setup for you: the basic design, the charts, and tables you need to add, etc. All you need is to provide the raw data. PowerPoint 2016 templates are visually stronger too and take care of refined formatting needs like better color-matching options, refined alignment, and other design features.
And finally, more Office tools!
We saved the best for the last! If there’s one attention-grabbing feature that’s packed with Microsoft Office 2016 tools, it’s not 1 but 2 new applications: Sway and Delve.
Sway tries to provide a little bit of everything: some Word features, some OneNote features, some PowerPoint features and even a bit of Publisher! We guess that the intent was to provide a better app for quickly creating interactive, shareable presentations with embedded content, but in doing so, it’s turned into an amalgamation of MS’s most friendly features across their suite. Well, we’re not complaining! J
Delve is more a file-organizing utility so you can easily sort through shared Office files. Considering MS’s attention to improving online collaboration, this is the right move.
The closing note…
There’s a lot said about MS and Office tools: good, bad and viciously ugly. We’ve captured a lot of the good in this post. That said, there are some downsides some users won’t ignore.
- There is no demo-version available for users, yet. So for those of us who’re used to testing the 30-day trial version before deciding to buy it, you’ll just have to take a chance either way. The Business version of Microsoft Office 2016 learning will only be available in 2016.
- This may not particularly impact home users and students, but we’re hoping the delay will be offset with even stronger online-collaboration features.
In closing, the Office suite of applications has consistently provided students and home users the most comprehensive set of tools to make learning (and assignments, and work, and sharing) more manageable. (And perhaps more fun). Microsoft Office 2016 tools continue this legacy.
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