As if yesterday’s Windows 10 announcements were not enough news out of Redmond this week, the Office 365 team leveraged the Office Blog to detail the upcoming version of Microsoft’s productivity suite. Office 2016 will be the next desktop suite, optimized for the keyboard and mouse, and it should be available in the second half of 2015. On the Windows 10 theme though, the new Office universal apps have been detailed, and will be available across the desktop, tablet, and phone form factors.

The styling is very similar to the Office for iPad and Android apps which have launched in the last while, but these will be universal apps, so the experience should be very similar across the Microsoft platforms. The Outlook Mail and Outlook Calendar apps will be the replacement for the Mail and Calendar apps on both the desktop and the phone, which is a good thing for consistency. We are not sure if this will be in the first Technical Preview for the phone or not, but hopefully it is so we can get an earlier look at it.

“Word for Windows 10—Create and edit great looking documents with Word. Review and mark-up documents, then share your work with others to collaborate in real time. The new Insights for Office feature (powered by Bing) in Read mode brings additional online resources like images, web references and definitions right to you in your reading experience.”

“Excel for Windows 10—Use Excel to create and update spreadsheets and gain new insights as you analyze data and visualize it with charts. And new touch-first controls shine in Excel, you won’t even miss your keyboard and mouse when selecting ranges of cells, formatting your pie charts or managing your workbooks.”

“PowerPoint for Windows 10—Create and edit beautiful presentations with PowerPoint. Then use Presenter View to prepare and present with confidence, even use Ink Tools to annotate your slides in real time so your audience really knows what you are talking about.”

“OneNote for Windows 10—Capture all your thoughts, ideas and to-do’s with the new version of OneNote. Getting things done with your friends, classmates and colleagues has never been easier with shared notebooks–now with the consistent Office ribbon experience.”

“Outlook Mail and Outlook Calendar for Windows 10—Crafting emails has never been easier or more powerful, with the familiar and rich capability of Microsoft Word built into the authoring experience. Simply insert tables, add pictures and use bullets and color to get your point across. Keep up with your inbox with new touch gestures that help you read, sort, flag and archive your mail.”

As these are just screen shots, final judgment will have to wait until the apps are made available to preview testers, but we can still glean some information from the images. First, the Outlook client is very much similar to, which once again improves consistency across the platforms. The ribbon is front and center on all of the other apps. They are very much like the iOS and Android versions, which should make for a great experience.

All of the apps have a common feel, and they look like a great update. The OneNote update in particular adds a lot of functionality to the Windows Store version of the app that exists now. Windows Phone will gain a lot of functionality over the existing Office integration. After a 2014 of Microsoft focusing on competing platforms, users of its products should welcome these updates. Pricing has not been revealed, but it is likely that they will be similar to the other mobile platforms where basic functionality is available for no cost, and an Office 365 subscription is required to unlock all features.

Source: Office Blog.

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  • Tams80 - Friday, January 23, 2015 - link

    Hurray for the removal of the damn caps (yes, most of them can be removed, but that shouldn't have been necessary in the first place). Entirely perfunctory, but I don't want to lose the window border themes. I quite like the 'lunchbox' one.
  • gseguin - Friday, January 23, 2015 - link

    3 Wishes:
    1. Visio and Project to no longer be 'previous generation' and are fully integrated/integratable.
    2. If they can do windows/phone/tablet, hope they do Mac as well, so that you can transition from a mac to a surface/windows phone, etc. and facilitate using a mac at the office and windows at home.
    3. That productivity isn't made a second class citizen to cross device compatiblity (i.e. the Windows 8 compromise).
  • britneybates2 - Friday, January 23, 2015 - link

    If they want to give something away out of guilt, they need to be giving away refunds. I spent so much money until I found and finally fixed all the problems my computer was having. I can't believe how slow it got! I never had this problem with Windows XP so if they are trying to win me over with a free upgrade, it won't work.
  • bigboxes - Saturday, January 24, 2015 - link

    Get bent spammer.
  • BlueBlazer - Sunday, January 25, 2015 - link

    Will these Office universal applications struggle on ARM based Windows mobile devices? Especially editing in highly complex document with lots of layouts and graphics. Even low end PCs can struggle (slow down) a bit.
  • Wolfpup - Monday, January 26, 2015 - link

    I'm confused...are there separate "Metro/Universal" and normal desktop programs/versions? Because these look dumbed down from real Office.

    I'm not even sure what they're for. If you've got a Windows tablet, the desktop version of Office already works great-better than this would. If you've got a phone, this is still too "big" to fit on a tiny screen. So what is the point of this?
  • Amazing2u - Monday, January 26, 2015 - link

    From Office 2013's "touch optimized" interface and now back to post 2010 icons. Tic-Toc-Tic...

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