Microsoft Office for Mac 2016 public beta is free – for now

“After a five-year gap, Microsoft has unveiled the first public beta of its forthcoming Office 2016 for Mac with the release of Microsoft Office for Mac 2016 Preview,” Nick Peers writes for BetaNews. “The new release is free for all Yosemite users during the remainder of the product’s pre-release phase, with the final version slated for release later this year.”

“Office for Mac 2016 Preview ships with five components: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote,” Peers writes. “The current preview version will function for 60 days, and can be installed alongside Office for Mac 2011 — users will need to keep updating to newer preview builds to extend this deadline.”

Peers writes, “Once Office for Mac 2016 is officially released — “later this summer” was the vague date provided on the Office blog — then the preview will expire within one month. Pricing for Office for Mac 2016 has yet to be confirmed, but it will be available as a free update to all Mac users with a valid Office 365 subscription.”

Read more in the full article here.

“Office for Mac, while still a beta, doesn’t feel near as sluggish as previous versions. It almost feels lightweight,” Gene Steinberg writes for The Tech Night Owl. “But it’s also clear Microsoft is running out of ideas, since there aren’t a whole lot of new features to consider.”

“If you’re an Office 365 subscriber, or you’re on a long-term Office contract, it won’t matter. You’ll get the new version free of charge,” Steinberg writes. “But those have to pay an upgrade fee after the public beta process is over should think twice whether it’s really worth it, and that is the biggest problem with Microsoft’s curious upgrade priorities that seem to favor form over substance.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: We’ll pass. Let’s just let Microsoft die, okay?


    1. They can’t. This is how Microsoft makes money. And that’s precisely Microsoft’s BIG problem. Apple can give software to its hardware customers; Apple software is a value-added service. Google can do “other things” to profit while making its software and services free. Microsoft must sell its software, in a world where the expectation is now, “They should just make it free already.”

    2. Why should they? Good software is worth paying for, and Office remains the most powerful suite on the market.

      My first and biggest disappointment is that MS has abandoned software sales and, like Adobe and others, will henceforth only rent you their software.

      Google and Apple and other imitators can attempt to pay you to take their office software for all I care, but we can all see how that works out. All of the freebie wares are of lesser quality and functionality. If a neutered free version of iWork is good enough for you, fine, enjoy it. Some of us need more power, and nobody delivers spreadsheet and word processing software with the abilities that Excel and Word do. Period.

      That isn’t going to change anytime soon since Apple seems more determined than ever to abandon professionals and tie its consumer-grade users to a subscription-based cloud. I would be much more impressed with Apple if it charged a fair price for professional-level desktop Mac software. But no, all Timmy cares about is getting the kids hooked into cloud payments.

      1. There are some good alternatives to the different pieces of Microsoft Office. But there is still not a great alternative to the entire suite of Microsoft applications including their tie-ins with Outlook. If a company like Apple were committed to dethroning Microsoft then, in my opinion, it would be possible to do so.

        There is nothing magic about Microsoft Office. It remains a bloated and somewhat inconsistent set of software components developed or purchased from multiple sources and glued together into the Office suite. To this day, no one can explain why tables in Word are different from tables in Excel. Word should use Excel code for embedded tables. And why can’t you vertically center content in the cells of Word tables?

        Office’s primary strength is the fact that it is widely used in business. Microsoft also continues to ensure that Office does not function *quite* right on the Mac – little inconsistencies and issues here and there that render the Mac a second-tier citizen. SharePoint is the same.

        If Apple really wants to take a bite out of Microsoft’s enterprise sales, the Apple needs to get serious about a Microsoft Office alternative and associated applications like Outlook and SharePoint.

  1. Fact is, for many of us, we still need to deal with MS Office because we interact with others who use it. More complex files tend to lose their formatting when switched between apps; and new and better designed software is always welcome. Seriously, MDN’s childish ad hominem attacks far too frequently undermine the credibility of any valid points they venture to make. Shame.

    1. The reason is that some of the powerful features, there simply isn’t competition. Time is money and powerful features like pivot charts and pivot tables save oodles of time when used properly.

      By extension, most of these features are overkill for the 90%.

    2. Yeah, lots of ignorant people out there. Office is still the core of corporate tools and nothing will change that soon. But it will not stay that way unless Microsoft gives Windows with Office 365 for the same price. A simple one stop solution is all they have left to offer. If they F that up, its over.

      1. “plenty of alternatives to MS Office”

        Sure, always have been. Switching to the those alternatives is difficult and costly, as those alternatives require training. Plus, alternatives have compatibility issues and lack all of the same features.

        I think MS is on to something with Office 365. It’s actually a pretty good deal for small businesses who want corporate features without having to run a corporate like network.

        As much as I dislike Microsoft, they still have value. If they threw in Windows with Office 365 for the same price with the exact same version of Office for PC and Mac, that would be awesome.

  2. I normally use Office when I have to. That means at work usually.

    This year I started using OneNote and I was actually surprised at how nice the Mac version of the software was.

    The beta apps of Office are definitely similar to OneNote, and they feel like a lot of care has been put into them. I agree with the article that there’s none of that bloated feeling so far (let’s see how long that lasts).

    But I’m sure of one thing: the Mac version of Office feels way nicer to use compared to Office 2013. 2013 is truly awful, looks overly cartoony, and literally hurts my eyes.

  3. Whenever someone gives me a Word doc I just copy and paste the contents into a real program (usually Creative Suite). If they need a Word doc back then I save a PDF from a real program and have Acrobat make me a full-formatted Word doc.

    Whenever someone gives me a PowerPoint doc, I open it, export a PDF and get the hell out.

    Now Excel I spend hours and hours in and neither Numbers nor Google Spreadsheet come close to Excel in ease-of-use or functionality. From the article “PivotTable Slicer, which is designed to pick out patterns from large volumes of data” sounds like an extremely useful function.

      1. LibreOffice, OpenOffice and NeoOffice are all free. (Well, NeoOffice does demand a ‘donation’). Go pay for the finished version of MS Office 2016 if you prefer. I’ve lived without M$ for years and have done some very nice work in LibreOffice, my preferred freebie. THAT is worth a donation.

  4. I’m looking forward to the new version of MS Office for the Mac. Since Apple destroyed iWork and raped Pages of its most salient features, I’ve returned to MS Office for the Mac. I’d rather pay for a full featured and functional office suite than work with a free, stripped down, nearly non-functional suite that masquerades as a word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation program. Even MDN has registered complaints about iWork, so the MDN Take seems misplaced if not misguided.

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