Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac preview is now available for free


Photo: Microsoft
Microsoft is showing the Mac a lot of love these days. Photo: Microsoft

The Mac platform has been treated as an afterthought by Microsoft’s software engineers for decades. That slowly started to change last year with new apps for iPhone and iPad, but with the public release of Microsoft Office 2016 for Mac, Microsoft is making its biggest play yet to woo Apple users to its productivity software.

Microsoft released a free preview build of Office 2016 for Mac today. You’ll be able to buy the final suite of Office apps later this summer, but Microsoft is luring Mac users by giving out the beta to the public.

It’s been nearly five years since Microsoft put out an update to Office for Mac, and the software’s age has been showing. The new Office 2016 sports an updated look that mixes some of the Windows version of Office with some remnants of Office 2011 for Mac. The new ribbon menu styling from Office 2013 for Windows has been brought over, and there’s more cloud integration than ever with support for Microsoft OneDrive.

Office 2016 also packs big updates for PowerPoint, including new templates. Outlook receives a new dual-calendar view. Excel gets better data-analysis tools. And Word finally gets threaded comments. Retina Display is also added, along with full-screen mode support for Yosemite.

You can grab your free preview copy from Microsoft’s website if you’re willing to put up with some beta bugs.