Microsoft has uploaded a preview of Office 2016 for Mac users, which means the beta version of the new software suite is now available on both the Windows 10 test preview and Mac OS Yosemite, as well as on Android, iOS and Windows Phone mobile terminals. The final version of Office 2016 is due to launch in the second half of this year.
The 2016 version of Microsoft's Office for Mac still includes the Office ribbon, but the rest of the interface has been radically revamped. The idea is to bring this version more in line with Office for Windows, all while optimizing display on Apple's high-definition Retina screens. All of the programs (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook) can easily be synced with the OneDrive cloud storage service.
The test version lasts 60 days, including free updates. Previously, the latest version of Office for Mac available was from 2011. Microsoft's suite is in direct competition with Apple's iWork (Pages, Numbers, Keynote), which is now offered entirely free of charge.
The three main applications in the new Office -- Word, Excel and PowerPoint -- are already available for download in Windows 10 for users who have installed the test preview of the forthcoming OS. Dedicated versions for Windows 10 smartphones and tablets are expected to be available later this spring. Optimized for use on touchscreen devices, without a keyboard or mouse, the new apps have the same design and layout regardless of the Windows 10 device used to access them.
Windows Phone devices come with a pre-installed Microsoft Office "hub," and the suite is also available for Android and iOS. Office is used by over one billion people worldwide, according to Microsoft.