Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Microsoft Word 2016 review: Finally! Much needed updates make for a better Word

Jeffery Battersby | July 22, 2015
It doesn't matter that you don't think Microsoft Word doesn't matter anymore. It does--for tens, hundreds, thousands of people, Microsoft Word is an every day event.

microsoft word 2016 mac icon

It doesn't matter that you don't think Microsoft Word doesn't matter anymore. It does--for tens, hundreds, thousands of people, Microsoft Word is an every day event. An indispensable tool for getting daily business done. And without it, whether you like it or not, much of what must get done in the world of words wouldn't, if it weren't for Word.

What matters most to those users is how it works. Whether it works well. Whether it will get the job done without getting in the way. What matters to the hundreds of thousands of people who've traded up from a PC to a Mac and the tens of thousands of IT professionals who have to support them is whether or not Word on the Mac works in the world they work in. Is it invisible. Seamless. Unbroken.

With few exceptions, Word for Mac 2016 is exactly that.

As a word processing tool, Word 2016--which, at present, is only available as part of an Office 365 subscription--hasn't changed much since its last major release as Word for Mac 2011. (Students, parents, and teachers may be able to get Office for free or cheap. Check out Microsoft's Office in Education site to see if you qualify) How you create, edit, and style text remains the same as it ever was. What you may notice is that Word now supports some Mac OS-only features such as full screen mode, multi-touch gestures, and retina graphics.

Microsoft has also added some Mac-only features of its own, including a Smart Lookup feature that integrates Bing searches and other contextually relevant information from the web when you use the tool on selected text. All of the Office products also include something that Microsoft now refers to as the Task Pane, which, for my money, is an awful lot like Office's old Floating Palettes, without the floating. In short, the Task Pane provides an easy way for you to make quick formatting changes to text and other document elements without having to rely on a menu or Ribbon element.

Over the past several years Microsoft has undertaken a massive redesign of its Office products for Mac and iOS. These updates have streamlined the look and feel of Office apps, making them more like their Windows versions, but with what I find to be a far less cluttered look and feel. In fact, the new Mac version is as clean as Word on the iPad, which is an excellent app, and it also has some of the same limitations. The upside to this sameness is that, whether you're working on a PC at your office, your iPad on the train, or your Mac at home, you'll find the tools you need in substantially the same places.

 

1  2  Next Page 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.