Microsoft is working on a new version of Microsoft Office, and The Verge has obtained a few screenshots and details on its upcoming features.
Based on the report, it seems like the user interface is very similar to the Office 365 suite we’re already familiar with. The biggest changes seem to be the addition of an option for a black theme and the “Tell Me” helper that’s already present in its Office Online apps. You can think of the Tell Me tool sort of like a newer version of Clippy – except without the animated character.
Microsoft also made a few small tweaks, like adding automatic image rotation in documents and new syncing options for the Outlook email client.
Here’s a quick look at what Office 16 will look like based on The Verge’s screenshots:
Tell Me- helper found in its Office Online apps.
This is the new version of Microsoft Excel. It doesn’t look too different from the current software
And here’s PowerPoint. Notice the darker themed background.
Other new features include automatic image rotation, allowing Microsoft to use camera metadata to correctly position images in Office documents. Once pictures are inserted, Office will automatically rotate a picture to match the camera’s orientation, with options to manually rotate afterwards. Microsoft is also improving its Outlook email client with sync options to just download 1 day, 3 days, 7 days, or 14 days of email. In the existing version of Outlook you can only download a minimum of one month of email, so the new option will improve any space issues on Windows laptops and tablets with limited storage.
The majority of Microsoft’s improvements in what is known as “Office 16” are fairly minor changes. This next version of Office should set the schedule and the ability for Microsoft to regularly update Office 365 with new features, improvements, and fixes. That was the promise of a subscription version of Office, and it appears Microsoft is planning to deliver that for its desktop users.
The company is believed to be working on its new version of Office, reportedly called Office 16, as it prepares its Technical Preview of the next version of Windows. There’s a chance we’ll hear more about this at the end of the month at Microsoft’s event on Sept. 30.