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Microsoft Rolling Out Office App Updates This Month

Microsoft's various Office applications are getting enhancements, both this month and in November.

Most of the feature updates announced this week by Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for Microsoft Office, concern Microsoft's free consumer Office Online apps run in a browser. Office Online apps, formerly known as "Office Web Apps," consist of browser based versions of Excel, OneNote, PowerPoint and Word, plus Outlook.com.

Office apps for Android and Apple Mac devices also got some improvements this month. Those changes are atop earlier announced UI improvements concerning Android and iOS Outlook apps.

The October improvements will show up for consumer users, plus Office 365 subscribers in some cases.

Office Online
Office Online applications are now powered by an extension to the Chrome browser. With the extension in place, Chrome users can now open Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Sway and Word documents when running Office Online apps. The extension also lets Chrome users open Office files that are stored using Microsoft's OneDrive and OneDrive for Business cloud-based storage services.

In addition, three Office Online apps got improvements this month. Word Online can now find "large documents." Excel Online received "formatting improvements." Lastly PowerPoint Online received "performance improvements."

Next month, Microsoft will roll out Skype voice and video integration into its Office Online service worldwide. This update will let Office Online users "see and speak to your Skype contacts," according to Microsoft's announcement. In addition, Office Online documents will have direct links to carry out instant messaging conversations or video calling sessions.

Android Apps
Microsoft claims it has reduced the footprint of Office on Android apps by 40 percent with this month's update. Office on Android apps also are more enterprise ready. For instance, they have support for Android "Marshmallow," as well as for Android for Work, which is a scheme for separating work and personal apps.

PowerPoint on Android users now can use PowerPoint's Presenter View feature, although it requires having an Office 365 subscription to do so. Presenter View lets presenters preview a slide as well as their notes without showing those materials to the audience.

Office 2016 for Mac
Microsoft added Visual Basic Editor improvements to Office 2016 for Mac. The Project Viewer now supports Add Modules. There's an Add Library References addition. Debug shortcut keys also were added.

Microsoft also added two new commands to the Visual Basic object model for Mac. Those new commands are "GrantAccessToMultipleFiles" and "AppleScriptTask." There's also a new conditional, called "MAC_Office_Version."

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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