Microsoft already told us Office 2016 for Mac was coming, but the public preview is out now as a free download, without any Office 365 subscription required. The updated software includes support for Retina displays, as well as iCloud syncing, and has a look and feel more in tune with the versions of Office currently available on Windows and mobile.
Office 2016 for Mac includes redesigned versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook for Mac users, and can be installed and used right alongside Office for Mac 2011 for anyone hesitant to switch entirely to pre-release software for their productivity needs. The preview will be updated on an ongoing basis and includes an auto-update feature, and while each new build will expire 60 days after its release, the preview will remain freely available to download until the official launch. When it becomes shipping consumer software, Office 2016 For Mac will be included in the price of an Office 365 subscription.
Some highlights of the updated Office for Mac include support for OneDrive, OneDrive for Business and SharePoint for cross-platform document syncing, as well as the redesigned Ribbon that should provide easier access to tools and formatting for anyone switching from Office for Windows, or who are more used to that software. Not having to look at those annoying down-sampled fuzzy graphics on either the Retina MacBook Pro or Retina iMac is also a huge plus.
We’ll have more in-depth impressions to follow, but since it is a free download, it’s probably worth checking out yourself if you ever find yourself having to work with Office documents on a Mac.