We already know that Microsoft Office 16 is currently in the works, but only few details have actually reached the web, so it’s hard to predict its official release date.
And still, a new report coming from Microsoft watcher Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet indicates that a preview version could be unveiled anytime soon, just to give users the chance to test drive the next version of the productivity suite.
Microsoft hasn’t confirmed this until now, but a preview build of Office 16, which is still said to be the codename of the next version of Office, could make sense, as the company wants to collect feedback and see the software solution at work before it hits the market in stable form.
Partners have already received early testing builds of Office 16, sources say, but Microsoft obviously wants to keep all details secret, so very few details have leaked until now.
Previous information on Office 16 revealed that Microsoft might be working to bring back Clippy in the next version of the productivity suite, but in a completely new and different form.
Chances are that the new helper won’t be called Clippy, but at some point, Microsoft might add this functionality in its personal assistant Cortana, a feature that’s scheduled to debut on the desktop in Windows 10 in spring 2015. This way, Cortana could be used to provide answers to a number of questions regarding Office 16 and thus lend a hand to users experiencing problems with some features.
At the same time, it appears that Microsoft is also working to introduce a dark theme that would make Office 16 easier to use at night, especially on laptops and tablets.
Word has it that Office 16 could launch in spring 2015, possibly very close to the public debut of Windows 10. Not much is being said about the release date, but there’s no doubt that spring 2015 is going to be a really busy time for Microsoft.
At the same time, the company is also preparing a touch-optimized version of Office specifically aimed at Windows 8 and possibly Windows 10 devices and designed to be used in the Modern UI. This particular SKU would be mostly built for tablets, as Microsoft is believed to be working on removing the desktop from certain versions of Windows 10 and thus keep the Modern UI as the only working environment on tablets.
More to come in the coming weeks as we get closer to the preview release date.