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What you need to know about Office 2016

Technology fans got their first look at Microsoft Office 2016 when images of its updated interface surfaced online in March. But it wasn’t until early September that Microsoft officially confirmed its existence and told us what to expect when it went on sale. Now that it’s available, here’s a summary of what you need to know about Office 2016.

Outlook is moving to the cloud

Outlook 2016’s interface hasn’t changed much, but it has some great new features. For example, when attaching a file to an email, you'll get the option to copy it to the cloud. This not only makes it easier to find in the future, it also means that people can collaborate on one version of a file instead of constantly sending each other updates.

Outlook also has a new email filter called "Clutter," which uses machine learning to identify messages that, though not spam, might rank low on your list of priorities.

Word supports real-time collaboration

For a while now, Office Online users have been able to use "Live Typing" to watch colleagues edit a shared Word document in real time. Now it’s coming to the desktop version, making collaboration even easier.

Word 2016 also features a new way for you to find the exact button you’re looking for. "Tell Me" lets you avoid Office’s menus and simply tell Word what you want to do. It’s a similar idea to Clippy, Office 98’s assistant – but more effective and less annoying (sorry Clippy …).

PowerPoint gives the power back

One common complaint about PowerPoint has been that it offers a limited range of editing tools. With Office 2016, however, it’s easier than ever to develop a visual style that suits your subject matter.

For example, "Variants" allows you to change color schemes for the included design themes. Similarly, a redesigned Format Options pane lets you quickly select text and shape options for every feature of your presentation.

Excel is better at integrating new data

Microsoft has tweaked Excel 2016 to be more efficient in the "Big Data" world.

Excel 2013 users could use Power Query, a data analysis plug-in that simplified data integration and combined multiple data sources into single spreadsheets. Excel 2016 includes Power Query as a standard feature. It also integrates completely with Power BI, Microsoft’s online tool for visualizing data and using personalized dashboards to track key data metrics.

The Good and the Bad of Windows 10

Windows 10 is the new, and potentially last, OS upgrade you’ll be receiving for a while. But is it time to upgrade? Windows 10 merges the best of Windows 7 with the intentions of Windows 8 to create a hybrid for those familiar with both. But just like upgrading any company OS system, changing to Microsoft 10 could cost you money, time, and work that could be placed in other areas. Let’s take a look at some of the Pros and Cons of upgrading…

Security

While any new OS will inevitably contain ways to breach security, Windows 10 provides some much appreciated security devices to protect your data and keep networks clear.

These upgrades include:

  • Device Guard prevents applications from running unless they’ve been recognized.
  • Windows Hello allows you to setup biometric authentications, including voice, iris, and fingerprint recognition.
  • Secure Boot will prevent malicious software from loading while your computer boots, which thereby potentially compromising the operating system as soon as it starts.

Upgrade

As the permanent installment to Windows OS systems, Windows 10 strips you of your ability to choose whether you want to download system updates and instead makes software updates mandatory. For administrators, this could be a potential issue should a patch arise that creates problems with your system or programs.

Similarly, hardware incompatibility could mean that your copier, scanner, or fax machine no longer works with Windows 10, forcing you to find a resolution to the issue, or forcing you to upgrade to compatible hardware.  Likewise, the same issue arises for porting Windows 7 or 8 apps over to Windows 10… once ported, will they work?

Cloud Computing

Straight out of the box, Windows 10 is ready for a host of Azure services, such as Azure Active Directory, which can drive new desktop infrastructure, selling Office 365 licenses, building out private cloud and configuring disaster recovery over a network.

Style

Windows 10 is a direct upgrade to Windows 8. It brings together what people loved about Windows 7, such as the Start bar, with the app and panel design of Windows 8, to bring about a visual and functional style which promotes easy access and visual pleasure. Along with the Start bar is the return of the Aero look, which allows you to make your Start bar translucent, and can be customized, along with the app tiles, to an array of colors.

Included in Windows 10 is Cortana, a virtual assistant which will be familiar to anyone using iOS’s Siri. Cortana responds to typed or spoken commands, and can schedule, set reminders, check times, search general inquiries, or provide you with OS help.

Multitask

Lastly, of prominent features, Windows 10 comes with the new Microsoft Edge Brower, Continuum for your Microsoft smartphone, and multiple desktop functions.

First, Microsoft Edge is an immense upgrade over Internet Explorer and is a large competitor to Chrome, Safari, and Firefox. Built into the browser is the ability to highlight, annotate, mark, and make notes on webpages for your reference or for sharing with others, functions that previously were only available as add-ons in competing browsers.

Next, Continuum allows Windows smartphone users the ability to pick-up on their phone from wherever they left off on their OS. As a result, many apps will be able to transition from one platform to another with little issue.

And lastly, Windows 10 offers the ability to manage multiple “virtual” desktops that you can easily transition between. As well, you can now multitask more efficiently with window snapping, a feature that allows you to place a different window in each of the desktops four corners. 

Surface Tension

Saturated markets are everywhere and technology is one of them. The options for a tablet, computer, or smart device are endless. You may be asking yourself what makes the Surface Pro a contender in a world governed by Apple and Google? 

Microsoft attacked a market that runs on a mobile operating system and brought a full version of Windows to it. What does this mean for you, the consumer? Use everything you would use on your desktop at home, at work, or on your laptop in a more compact setting. The Surface Pro 3 packs a punch in the power department. Outfitted with a varying size range of SSDs, the latest generation of Intel processors, and even a detachable keyboard cover, it’s everything you need to do most anything.

Being the size of an iPad, it’s an easy grab, allowing you to get your work done in any environment, be it the café, office, or just watching videos on the couch. Some cool features of the Surface Pro include the Pen to draw or manipulate the device in any way you see fit. The built-in Kickstand allows you to set it up anywhere with ease and get to work quicker. The mini display port allows this beast of a tablet to be plugged into various monitors, meaning, you can use this device as a full-fledged computer if you desire. Do I hear jumps for joy? I sure am jumping myself.  You can see more of the features of the Surface Pro 3 in the below pictures.

In conclusion, the Surface Pro 3 does what the competitors can’t. Run a full-fledged operating system natively on something the size of a tablet… And do it flawlessly. Use it as a tablet, use it as a computer, heck, even use it as a creative space or a journal. It’s whatever you want it to be.  We guarantee you are going to love it. 

Windows 10 release week: What to know, and what to expect

Windows 10 has nearly arrived after months of anticipation. You may have questions regarding the release or maybe you're not quite sure if upgrading is best for you. Well, we're here to clear up some confusion and get you in the know about the new Windows 10.

What's Happening?

Tuesday at midnight ET, Microsoft will begin rolling out Windows 10 in stages. 

While you may not receive a notification for the upgrade immediately, do not fret! The upgrade is scheduled to be pushed out in waves, beginning with Windows Insiders and followed by the general public. These waves will span out over a period of a few days to ensure a more stable launch, so don't be alarmed if you do not receive your update immediately. 

 

What will Windows 10 look like?

Windows 10 is a refined version of the Windows you know and love. The design and interface is meant to bring you the best of both Windows 7 and 8 with, of course, some new features. Cortana, Microsoft's intelligent personal assistant, will be deeply integrated into Windows 10 bringing an advanced start menu and convenient voice commands to the experience. Microsoft will also be debuting their new Edge browser, and their XBOX integration is deeper than ever before. 

Why should I upgrade?

The best thing about the new Windows 10 is that it's free! (for the first year) for qualified Windows 7 and 8.1 devices. So long as your computer meets the requirements, you are free to install and upgrade. As far as we know, this will be the latest and greatest, and will eventually become the standard for Windows. Getting familiar with it now will give you the upper hand if your company decides to roll it out onto every computer. 

What we suggest

We are excited about the launch of Windows 10 as much as you are, but you may want to hold off on it for a few weeks or until the first Service Pack arrives, and here's why. With every new software there is always the possibility of upgrade trouble or bugs. Before you implement Windows 10 into your business, always consult your technology service company and your in-line business application providers to ensure it’s compatible.  While we implore you to wait to upgrade on the business side of things, we do encourage you to upgrade your personal devices (but make sure to fully backup before you install!) to try out and hopefully fall in love with Windows 10.

 

Learn more about Windows 10 here