Free Office 2016 preview is now open to the public

Office 2016

If you wanted to try out Office 2016 before buying it, now is your chance.

Office 2016 on the PC has been locked away from the public as a Consumer Technical Preview since February, but now Microsoft has finally released (opens in new tab) a Public Preview version of its productivity suite. The new version Microsoft's productivity suite is available as a free download for anyone who visits the Office 2016 Preview (opens in new tab) site.

Unlike the previous Technical Preview, you won't have to sign any long, complicated non-disclosure agreements to use the software either.

Built for the cloud

The Office 2016 suite brings new and more colorful versions of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook. Along with the new looks, these applications have been built from the ground up to work with Microsoft's cloud data service, OneDrive.

On top of this, these smart application will learn more about the user as they are working to be even more productive. Outlook for instance has a new "Clutter" feature, which uses machine learning to analyze your email patterns to sort out your unimportant and spam emails into a separate folder.

Microsoft has also introduced the "Tell Me" search tool that allows users to quickly look up commands in Word, PowerPoint and Excel. Lastly, users can expect the Bing-powered Insights feature to help them find information from the web without having to leave the file or switch to a web browser.

Update: Office 2016 will also bring with it real-time Word doc co-authoring, according to The Verge. The functionality will come to Word first, but will extend to PowerPoint and Excel later on, according the site.

Users had the ability to co-author a Word document on the web, but will soon be able to do it via the desktop Office 2016 app. Look for the functionality to arrive in early summer.

Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.