New features go live in Microsoft's Office 2016

Collaboration and file sharing are among the new features and functions.

Microsoft releases new features Office 2016
Pete Brown (CC BY 2.0)

Microsoft is still working on the next major update to its work productivity suite Office 2016, but it has rolled out new features to the more than 1 million users currently testing out the suite.

Microsoft said it would make updates to the Office suite over time back when it first rolled out the public preview a few months ago, similar to how it rolled out new features to Windows 10 over the course of its beta cycle.

The following features were first announced at Ignite last month and are now live in Office 2016:

Real Time Presence in Word

Real Time Presence is a precursor of sorts for Real Time Typing, a Google Docs-style feature that will let desktop users of Office view what their co-workers are doing to a document in real time. Real Time Presence will simply let you see where in the document people are working.

Simplified file sharing

Sharing files and making them available to others to review, comment, and edit can be done by clicking Share on the Ribbon. The file will be saved to OneDrive and made available to others in one easy step.

Insights for Office (currently in Word and Outlook)

Insights, powered by Bing, brings contextual information into documents. Right click on a word and information is pulled down from the Web.

Version History improvements

This makes it easier to find different versions of files stored on SharePoint or OneDrive for Business. Users can select the History command in the File menu to view or restore any previous version.

Microsoft says that there are other minor improvements with the latest release as well, including updates to how Power Pivots work.

Microsoft has not set a release date for the Office suite, but its release date would hint at next year. You can download a beta (32-bit version) here.

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Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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