Technical Preview of Office 2016 In Comparison To Previous Word Apps

Document support

Interesting to note is that all most all formats can be viewed, edited and saved under the Office 2016. This includes open XML (.docx), Binary format (.doc), Open Document (.odt), Plain Text (.txt) and even rich tex(.rtf)

Product

Platform

.docx

.doc

.odt

.txt

.rtf)

Word Online

Web

supported

online conversion to Open XML

compatibility warnings

none

none

Word 2016

Windows 10

supported

compatibility mode

compatibility warnings when saving

supported

supported

OS X

supported

compatibility mode

none

supported

compatibility mode

Word app

Windows 10

supported

read‐only, convert to Open XML to edit

online conversion to Open XML

none

none

Windows 10 Mobile

supported

read‐only, convert to Open XML to edit

online conversion to Open XML

none

none

Android

supported

read‐only, convert to Open XML to edit

online conversion to Open XML

none

none

iOS

supported

read‐only, convert to Open XML to edit

none

none

none

WordPad 10

Windows 10

supported

none

compatibility warnings

supported

supported

Office Mobile

Android

discontinued

iOS

Windows 10 Mobile

 

Discontinuation of office mobile

The attempt by Microsoft in bringing Office to devices ends prematurely with the discontinuation of “Office Mobile”.

Users can forget the one-office-app approach and will be forced to download individual apps separately.

Important to note is that as much as Microsoft officials insist that the apps offer familiar and consistent office experience this is not the case on the ground. They are more like word with slight differences in icon and toolbar placements. Functionality and editing experience remains the same on each platform. The output produced only differs slightly.

ODF Support

The Microsoft team has still not added support for open document format to iOS and Mac OS X only stating that this will be available to Office 365 in May. The said changes will ensure that Office 365 is compliant with the policy for sharing and collaborating on government documents and made available for all public sector organizations.

Office 2013 added a new export panel to highlight that one could use the “save as” dialog to save ODF. There seems to be compatibility problems saving and when exporting an ODT document which is also prevalent with Office 2016.

However, in word online, there’s a new “Download as ODT” option in file menu. One must open the document in editing mode when exporting to ODF while still being able to export to DOCX or PDF even in viewer mode.

 

Cloud first integration and sharing

From the title of a Microsoft Blog, cloud first can be explained as the new format conversion service for Office 2016. This platform integrates one drive better than office 2013 and even Windows 8.1 and one can see and share the same.
By clicking the “head plus” icon one can invite people by email to view or co-edit the document without the need to sign in.
This entire experience pushes users to save documents in One Drive so as to use the new document shared and editing features. However, all other functionalities except the online-storage integration are available when the Word app is used offline.
Users not comfortable with sharing of contents in their document with Microsoft can convert their open document to open XML locally using WordPad, TextEdit or LibreOffice.

 

Security and processing.

Thanks to the Rights Management Services feature even Mac users can enjoy new ways of protecting documents.
Microsoft officials also advise that in order to continue working with certain office files in this version they have to be first processed using the “cloud first” platform.
As noted before, processing ensures that users get the most out of the most up-to-date features while ensuring their security across all devices in use.
Contents are however never saved on Microsoft servers hence files are not at risk for privacy. Nonetheless, in some rare cases, the processed file may remove some incompatible data whilst maintaining the original file remaining intact and untouched.

 

Document upgrade

New office users are usually faced by the words “compatibility mode” as they open certain documents simply because certain new features on the later versions need to be upgraded before they are introduced for view and use.
The difference in a simple document is brought about by addition of XMLNS schema present in upgraded documents. This is displayed by one single metadata which represents the version number of the application used to create it.
Unfortunately, the compatibility warning may be deemed unnecessary especially for an empty or one sentence document. There’s also no feature-detection to determine the need of an upgrade and better if it would have been silently upgraded incase it is beneficial.

Our verdict

It is still a preview release and Microsoft has not mentioned how much Office 2016 will cost when it is released.
One thing that is for sure is that it will certainly be available as part of office 365. Although slower than what we are used to it’s possible that this will be improved and may be have extra features on Mac.