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Review: Office 2016 for Mac offers a new interface and better features

Preston Gralla | April 2, 2015
Mac users of Office who have felt left out in the cold by Microsoft (because the last version, Office 2011 for Mac, was released in October 2010) now have reason to be pleased: The preview of Office 2016 for Mac attempts to bring the suite out of the dark ages and into the modern world.

That's not to say all is well with this new version of Outlook. You can't export mail, tasks, contacts, notes, and calendars directly from Outlook. Because there's no support for CalDAV or CardDav, you can't sync your contacts or calendars with other programs and platforms, including Outlook.com. And because Outlook supports Apple's sandbox, you can't run local anti-spam products in Outlook 2016 with Exchange. Instead, you have to use an Exchange server-based anti-spam product from Microsoft.

Bottom line

With this version of Office, the Mac is no longer the poor stepchild in the Office world. All versions of Office, whether on a Windows PC or a Mac, will look and work alike, and also resemble the Office you'll experience on the Web and on tablets.

This is good news for Mac users, because the new interface and features, as well as the improved performance of Outlook, make it a considerably better suite. And it should also mean that Office on the Mac will no longer trail behind its Windows counterpart, but be updated on a similar schedule.

It remains to be seen whether some of the rough edges of the suite will be improved, such as with a variety of missing features on Outlook. But based on this first look, Office 2016 for the Mac is a winner.

 

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