During the last week of September, Microsoft had discreetly unveiled the licensed availability of Office 2016. The announcement of the new productivity suite was made as early as the second quarter of this year but was only made ‘officially’ available as a licensed product for OS X and Windows last September 22.
However, while everyone can agree that most of the updates are convenient and good overall, from a cloud-productivity viewpoint, many of us are already familiar with the new tools Microsoft have introduced. Here is a breakdown of some of the new features of Office 2016:
Also known as document synchronization, this feature allows multiple users to co-edit a single document at the same time. The function is pretty much the same with all of the other cloud-based documentation apps out there, and users have been wondering why it hadn’t been implemented at all for the past few years.
Since documents can be synchronized, so can the data that is transferred on the file itself. Every input of other collaborators can easily be seen on the shared document. This is nothing revolutionary, of course, though it is great that Microsoft Word can finally be used like this. However, you can’t help but feel like you’re just given something that you could have taken on another, more economical, software or app option.
Sharing options are among the most staple features of most file-based apps today. For Office 2016, this feature is available using the Share button in the Ribbon. Aside from multiple user availabilities, sharing options can also be configured from the feature, giving not just easy access, but also easy access control.
If comments, annotations, and synchronized editing aren’t enough, why don’t you talk to other collaborators live over VoIP? OK, this feature might not be a universal staple, but it is hardly new. Still, being able to suggest things on the fly, as if you are all working in the same office, is still unarguably quite convenient.
This feature wasn’t absent with previous Office versions. However, this is the first time that it has been directly integrated natively to Microsoft’s very own cloud-storage service. Access any Office document anywhere on any device as long as it has access to OneDrive. Most of us have already used cloud storage at some point, and there is no question of how beneficial it is to one’s workflow.
While there is no denying that these tools are helpful, the price of Office 2016 isn’t exactly ideal, especially for students, unless you can use Office through your education provider. With a student discount, you are looking at just under $100 USD per year.
What is great about Kami is the ability to collect feedback from collaborators without giving them the ability to edit the document. After all, when you collaborate with someone, you don’t always want to give them the key to change your work.
Not to sound like some comparative endorsement, but if you are looking for a cheaper alternative to Office 2016 at the fraction of the investment cost, wouldn’t you go for the more economical option?