For devotees of Microsoft Office, it is almost time for the unveiling of new versions of Excel, Word, Outlook, PowerPoint, and the rest of the important office apps used by many companies like yours.
How this year will be different from the rest
For past product releases in 2007, 2010, 2013, and 2016, we saw that depending on your level of enthusiasm for the new features, buyers either rushed out to upgrade, or decided to wait another three years to see what comes next.
What makes Office 2019 different is two things:
There aren’t very many new features, and you probably already have them (if you use Office 365).
In 2015 Microsoft decided to be more like popular cloud-based apps, such as Salesforce or Google Apps, by updating their apps on a more regular basis. For Windows 10, this meant monthly security updates and semi-annual feature updates. For Microsoft Office, this meant a push hard to encourage people to use their subscription-based Office 365 product and that they would reward you as their Office 365 customer with monthly updates.
If, however, you do not get your Office through Office 365, then your version of Excel 2016 is that same version that was released three years ago, without any of the intervening feature updates.
What to expect with Office 2019
In October, Microsoft is expected to officially take the latest versions of Excel, Word, PowerPoint, Outlook, and Access, along with all the feature updates that Office 365 users have already received, and call it Office 2019.
If you are an Office 365 user, you’ll see very little difference. If you are NOT an Office 365 user, and your organization does plan to move from the “traditional” version of Excel 2016 to 2019, here are some of the new features you can look out for:
Improved graphics: Excel (and other Office apps) now support SVG image files, which can be scaled to any size without looking fuzzy, as well as 3D models. The 3D models option sounds like something engineers might use, but really it’s great for clipart – you can grab a 3D model from Microsoft’s library at Remix3D.com and then tilt or rotate it to just the right angle to fit your need.
Ink & Stylus support: On computers with a touchscreen or stylus you can draw freehand directly on your spreadsheet (or document in Word) using a variety of virtual pens and pencils. You can convert your sketches to shapes if needed, and your customized pens will show up in any Office app.
Improved sharing and co-authoring: It’s now very easy to share a spreadsheet from inside Microsoft Excel, which can include the ability to allow someone else to co-edit the spreadsheet with you at the same time. This requires a cloud storage solution such as Microsoft’s OneDrive, SharePoint, Groups, or Teams, but can also work with some third-party solutions such as Dropbox.
New Charts, Functions, and Features: There are a handful of new charts and functions, the most useful of which might be the Stock Quote function. A few new features can be handy, including the autosave feature for cloud-hosted files, and the Microsoft Translator tool to work with different languages.
Overall there is no big “wow” feature added to Excel this time, just lots of smaller but solid new tools and features that help to improve the world’s most popular number-crunching app.
Check out Bigger Brains’s elearning courses, offered through OpenSesame, for all your Microsoft Office training needs. Bigger Brains is focused on improving the productivity and skills of business professionals. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.opensesame.com.