It’s widely known now that Microsoft is currently conducting a private Technical Preview for the next version of Office, currently codenamed Office 16. The company recently issued out a new build of Office 16 to the preview participants, being build 16.0.3327.1012 which includes a number of small changes, including Tell Me in PowerPoint and improvements to the black theme.
We recently uncovered an older build of Office 16 which was also dished out to preview participants. Unfortunately, users in the Office 16 Technical Preview aren’t being given builds with any of the ‘cool’ stuff in it just yet, meaning changes in this new build remain small. Things like dedicated Modern UI apps aren’t available just yet.
The changes that do exist in this build include improvements to the black theme, a new portrait layout for Outlook running on small devices, Tell Me in PowerPoint, Integration of Power Query, and new Proofing Tools.
In this new build of Office 16, it appears Microsoft is in the process of replacing the proofing tools which are currently available in Office with an updated, in-house version of the feature. In a document handed out to Tech Preview users, Microsoft states:
Microsoft is in the process of replacing third party Proofing tool components such as Spellchecker, Thesaurus, Grammar Checker and others with replacements built using Microsoft technology. This project extends over multiple versions of Office and will facilitate quicker updates/fixes to our Proofing Tools, eliminate security risk and reduce dependency on suppliers.
Advanced Proofing is a collection of features (punctuation checking, grammar checking and contextual spell checking) that analyse text to identify proofing errors and highlight those errors using blue underlines in Office 2013 and future versions (or green underlines in Office 2010). Advanced Proofing complements the Spellchecker, which identifies misspelt words and highlights them using red underlines.
All 3rd party Grammar Checkers will be replaced with Advanced Proofing gradually in the next versions of Office.
So it looks like improvements to the spell-checker, grammar checker and other proofing tools are on the way with Office 16. The improved portrait mode for small tablets means that “upon rotating the device into portrait mode, users will see a single pane experience in the mail module which takes advantage of the limited screen real estate.”
Furthermore, the new black theme available in this build has seen some slight UI tweaks, nothing too major to notice however. Power Query is now an integrated feature in Excel, meaning you can access it without needing to install any components. It’s automatically installed and ready for use.
That’s pretty much it regarding this build of Office 16. Microsoft is ever so close to releasing a public preview of Office 16 for the desktop, and with a touch-version of Office for Windows set to debut sometime next year, it’s safe to assume that we’ll have some awesome touch-based apps to play with soon.
Update: It looks like an older build of Microsoft Office 16 has leaked!Further reading: Microsoft, Office 16