Paul Wherly

Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac – First Review!

Office 2016 for MacOffice 2016 is just like Office 2013 for Windows –well almost.

Well here I am exploring the new Microsoft Office for Mac 2016 preview. I downloaded it on Friday and this has been my first opportunity to write about it.  I am an early adopter of software and as an IT Trainer who teaches Microsoft Office on both WInodws and Mac platforms I wanted to see how the new version of Office compares to Office 2011 for Mac and Office 2013 for Windows.


I am impressed! Isn’t it nice to know that your predictions are right? This new version is an app and it looks almost like Office for Windows! This is a major breakthrough as it means that staff in an organisation can have Microsoft Office no matter which operating system they use and it looks almost identical! It will reduce the learning curve and best of all – it connects to One Drive for Business!

Office 2011 works well however it looks like Office’s little brother/sister so it is great to see that Office 2016 for Mac looks like a fully grown version of Office 2013.

What do you get?

Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft OneNote and Microsoft Outlook. – All looking and behaving much like their Windows counterparts.

Be Aware

You do need to be running the latest OSX Yosemite operating system version 10.2.2 and I have to admit that Office 2016 was my reason to upgrade.

Let’s take a brief tour today and I will write more about them as I explore over the coming weeks.

Microsoft Word 2016 preivewMicrosoft Word 2016

On first look, Microsoft Word 2016 looks very familiar if you have been using Word 2013 on Windows or the Web version that comes with Office 365.  The familiar Ribbon is there along with a smaller Quick Access Toolbar. As this is a preview of the app, I expect to see more functionality when the full version is released. Specifically the ability to add icons to the Quick Access Toolbar, which you can’t do right now.

All the functionality you expect from this workhorse is there and each of the Ribbons has the icons you expect to find there.

Microsoft Word 2016 Ribbon




There is also the status bar, which allows you to change magnification and views, and also to see which page you are on and how many words you just wrote!

Status bar


I will review Word 2016 in more detail over coming weeks.

Microsoft Excel 2016 PreviewMicrosoft Excel 2016

Once again it looks and feels very familiar to those who have been using Microsoft Excel 2013 or the web version. The familiar Ribbon is here too along with menu commands and the same functionality as in the Windows version.

With Excel 2016 there is all the familiar functionality although Pivot Tables are still accessed via a menu rather than a Ribbon command. However Slicers are now present and it works a treat.

More on Excel 2016 over the coming weeks.

Microsoft PowerPoint 2016 PreviewMicrosoft PowerPoint 2016


Once again the familiar Ribbon is now present along with almost all the same icons as the Windows version. You now get the same look and feel as the Windows version with Smart Art included that now works exactly how you would expect.

Microsoft OneNote PreviewMicrosoft OneNote

OneNote is an online notebook that allows you to do loads of things. Take snapshots of web pages, arrange your notes into sections, add checklists, add images and generally keep your stuff all in one place.

It looks and behaves much like its Windows sibling.

Microsoft Outlook for Mac PreviewMicrosoft Outlook for Mac

Microsoft Outlook for Mac came out a little while back – it is lovely. Just like Outlook on Windows. You can do just about everything you can in the Windows version. As it is connected to your online Office 365 account your email is always up to date. You can connect several accounts to Outlook for Mac and have each account show up in its own inbox. Send email from the account you want to. Move email to folders to keep things tidy and the Web  version and any Windows versions will be synchronised.

All in all I really like using it and prefer it to Apple Mail.

To Summarise

I really like my first look at Microsoft Office 2016 – it is what I have been waiting for!

What do I like best about it?

  • It looks and behaves just like the Windows version
    • This is a great benefit; organisations who have staff with both Windows and Macs can now train staff at the same time. Things work the same way.
  • It connects to OneDrive for Business
    • This has been a bugbear for me. I run my business on Office 365 and store my working documents in OneDrive for Business. I have not been able to connect my Mac to my OneDrive up to now which has made working with Office a little more clunky for me.

I am really looking forward to exploring the apps more fully and getting to know them properly. Although I don’t think it will take too long!

I am also really looking forward to seeing the final version of these apps. I think Microsoft are on a winner here.

Anyone who had been thinking of migrating to Mac and was worried about having to learn a different version of software no longer has to worry.

I predict more Mac Users as a result!

Have you downloaded the Microsoft Office 2016 apps yet? What do you think? Please leave your comments in the comment box below.

You can download Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac – Preview here.


5 thoughts on “Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac – First Review!

    a great and informative blog. It’s great that office looks exactly the same across both operating systems. It makes perfect sense for example I use iMac and PC so it makes life a lot easier.

    Hi Demos, yes I love that it is the same across platforms. It also performs in a similar way on iPad and iPad also connects to OneDrive for Business. All in all a great move by Microsoft.

    Thanks for the update Shelley. This will make it easier for me when swapping between the PC and Mac versions of Office (which I frequently do). I wonder when the next version for Windows will be available?

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