Microsoft Office 2016 is now widely available, and it includes a number of exciting features that small business owners and workers will find instantly useful.
Although the changes are more incremental than revolutionary, welcome news for people who like to do things the way they are used to doing them, there are some groundbreaking additions for those who gladly embrace more efficient ways to work.
Here are ten features, organized by application, that you can use in your business to save time and enhance productivity and collaboration. I’ve included scenarios to relate each feature to some real-life situations small business owners frequently encounter, and some reasons why the feature is valuable.
Real-time Co-authoring – Work together in real time on documents that you Share online at OneDrive or SharePoint. See each other’s changes to the document as they happen regardless of the device you’re using. (Also in PowerPoint and Excel)
- Use Scenario – Working late in the hotel to get that presentation or contract done while someone back home helps? Save confusion and time emailing multiple versions back and forth.
Attach Recent Files – Easily attach documents that you most recently used to get emails out faster.
- Use Scenario – I just finished that product description and I want to email it, but where did I save it? Instead of searching through folder trees, just pull down recently used files when you go to attach the file from the Ribbon.
Outlook Groups – A shared place for all team email conversations with full history, allowing teams to engage with members from the Group’s inbox. A more organized way to share email than distribution lists. (Requires Office 365 work or school account)
- Use Scenario – You occasionally miss important email threads from the marketing or sales team. Go to the group’s inbox to see all of the team’s email.
Search Suggestions – The Outlook search box now offers keyword and people suggestions based on your mailbox content from Exchange 2016.
- Use Scenario – You want to find an email from a vendor that you’ve previously collaborated with on a project. You know some details but can’t think what to search for.
One-click Forecasting – A new one-click Forecast Sheet button will quickly create a forecast visualization of your data series. Forecasting based on Exponential Smoothing has also been added to the Forecast function, allowing you to adjust common forecast parameters, like seasonality and confidence intervals.
- Use Scenario – Projecting sales for the year is tough when you have seasonal holiday spikes and summer slowdowns. So what will sales be next November based on the historical trend? Saves time and makes Forecast more useful for retail.
More Charts – Six new chart types (treemap, sunburst, waterfall, histogram, pareto, and box and whisker) aid data analysis and storytelling. Create commonly used data visualizations of financial or hierarchal information. (Also in PowerPoint and Word)
- Use Scenario – You are creating a presentation for investors or bankers and add a waterfall chart to help them visualize financial statements. You add a treemap chart to a presentation for a staff meeting to show which items are your store’s bestsellers.
Screen Recording – Include screen recordings in your PowerPoint presentations with just a few clicks. Select a portion of your screen to record, capture what you need, and insert it directly into your presentation in one seamless process.
- Use Scenario – Works great for creating a software demo or adding video clips and a scroll-through of documents to your presentation. Easier to use and more powerful than the static Snipping Tool to create interesting presentations.
More Office Themes – The new Dark Gray theme provides a high contrast look and feel and the Colorful theme offers a modern and fresh look.
- Use Scenario – Helpful if you like more contrast in your office applications. Or if you have multiple apps open at the same time, different app colors make finding your windows on a crowded desktop easier.
Tell Me – Type what you want to do in the app using your own words, and then Tell Me will guide you through the process and offer additional resources. (Word, Outlook, Excel and Power Point)
- Use Scenario – When you wear many hats in the organization it’s hard to remember how to do everything in each of the apps. Answers the question, ‘Now how did she do that?’
Smart Lookup – Highlight terms in your document and use this feature to bring search results from the web into your reading or authoring environment. (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook)
- Use Scenario – Save time researching for a presentation, article or speech. Fact-check or explore terms in information from vendors or the competition.
Upgrade to Office 2016 Today
Office 2016 is not a major departure from Office 2013, but the powerful new features make it worth the time to explore. Most are straightforward with simple prompts to guide users.
The new capabilities found in features like Real-time Co-authoring, Tell Me and Smart Lookup can provide tangible benefits for small business owners and employees, starting today for those who upgrade.
If you haven’t already, consider upgrading to Windows 10 as well. New features like Cortana and the Edge browser make Office 2016 plus Windows 10 a complete solution for getting things done.
Office 2016 and Office 365 Support
With Microsoft Experience Center (MEC) Qualified Partner status and two facilitators certified in the MEC training program, eMazzanti offers significant hands-on Microsoft Office 365 Small Business learning opportunities for area companies.