Office 2016 review

Officice 2016 is colorful, intelligent and cross-platform

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Our Verdict

The look is colourful, the emphasis is on collaboration and business intelligence, we love the way Outlook shows recent files to attach to emails and it's easier to find files you've been working with (especially in OneDrive).


  • Changes to backstage make it easier to find documents
  • Attaching recent files in Outlook is very convenient
  • Better sharing and collaboration options


  • The colourful Windows 10 look can be a bit overpowering
  • You can't see files shared on OneDrive inside Office apps
  • Some programs – OneNote in particular – don't get many new features

Microsoft Office is a lot more than just Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook, although that's what most people think of first.

There's now a whole range, from the Office 365 cloud services to the mobile apps for iOS and Android (along with Skype for Business, Dynamics and Power BI), backing up CEO Satya Nadella's claims that Microsoft is the productivity company.

The mobile Office apps are certainly popular, but Office on Windows and Mac remains the main attraction, even in Microsoft's cloud-centric approach.

At any rate, Office 2016 isn't the same Office everywhere. It's more like the right Office for each platform – and in this case, that's Windows 10 and Mac OS X. Here's how they all break down at a high level:

  • Windows still gets the lion's share of tools and features simply because it's had the most attention over the years. And though it might be hard to keep adding major features to something with this much power already, there are some very welcome improvements – but also some changes you need to be aware of.
  • Office 2016 for Mac gains many new features (or at least, features that are new to Mac users) and its OneDrive integration is unmatched. It doesn't have all the Office applications and it doesn't have all the Windows Office features, but what you get has the both feel of a real Mac application and the tools of a real version of Office.
  • The touch version of Office for Windows 10, otherwise known as Office Mobile, sits somewhere between Office for iPad and the Windows RT version of Office for Home and Student, but brings in features from Office Online.

Microsoft is trying to make sense of the core Office tools across multiple platforms, and to make the Office 365 subscription a great deal. But, before we get into the meat, let's see what's new with Office lately.

Latest news

Now that it's available in full-force (and 64-bit), Office 2016 has – for the most part – taken care of battening down the hatches and squashing bugs. Now the software is focused on the materialization of new features.

SharePoint, for instance, is about to become a whole lot more enticing thanks to completely overhauled page authoring and publishing features previously unavailable in the internally focused enterprise application. Even more importantly, though, it's going to be tied much tighter to Office 365, perhaps paving the way for Windows 10's success with businesses amid its current struggle to win over company execs.

Moreover, Skype, too, is about to form a closer relationship with Office, as the online communication service is taking on Slack with a team-oriented chat system. Of course, the incentive to use it is the seamless integration with Office 365 hopefully, again, in an attempt to earn the love of businesses.

Joe Osborne and Gabe Carey have also contributed to this review



Mary (Twitter, Google+, website) started her career at Future Publishing, saw the AOL meltdown first hand the first time around when she ran the AOL UK computing channel, and she's been a freelance tech writer for over a decade. She's used every version of Windows and Office released, and every smartphone too, but she's still looking for the perfect tablet. Yes, she really does have USB earrings.