REMEMBER that annoying paperclip cartoon that used to hassle you every time you opened Word?
“It looks like you’re writing a letter, would you like the letter template?” it would ask, before you swiftly looked for the ‘X’ to shut it down.
Well, the Microsoft Office of 2016 is so far from the program of that bygone era, your 1995 self wouldn’t have believed it.
The new Office suite is officially available worldwide and Microsoft is touting it as its most significant release, ever.
Given that pretty much anyone who uses a computer for work will interact with Office software, it’s something the technology giant had to get right.
With the new release, Office was designed to make the user’s whole experience sleek and flawless.
For example, those dreaded unwanted emails? Microsoft wants to be your personal assistant when it comes to clearing them out all those promos and emails from colleagues who never have anything useful to say. You know the ones.
A new feature, known as Clutter, is essentially a low-priority smart email filter. It will sit within Outlook, Office’s email program.
“Clutter watches things that come into your inbox and sit there for a long time, things you delete instantly and things you consistently move to a different folder,” Microsoft general manager of Office marketing Jared Spataro said. “After learning your habits, the feature will very conservatively move messages it perceives to be noise into a folder labelled “clutter”.
“Every couple of days it will send an email saying ‘I have moved the following new messages into the clutter folder, you should tell me if I have done something wrong’.”
Another exciting time saving feature is the “Tell Me” bar, which promises to cut the legwork out of discovering how to use specific functions. Previously, users would’ve had to go through a maze of drop down menus.
What “Tell Me” does is take you directly to the function you wish to use.
“Say I want to shadow something. Instead of offering a list of steps, it will take me directly there,” Mr Spataro said.
Another useful addition arriving with Office 2016 is the “Smart Lookup” feature.
This allows users to highlight and look up a single word, sentence or paragraph in context with the rest of the article they are working on. As it is integrated with Bing, it will then bring up the insights toolbar will open with definitions, Wiki articles, and top related searches from the web to help users further their knowledge.
Office will also have enhanced features to allow better collaboration between people, such as making changes to shared documents in real time and Skype integration.
Acknowledging the cost of Office may have been previously prohibitively expensive for some people, Microsoft has introduced monthly subscriptions to make it easier on users’ wallets.
A personal subscription to Office will set users back $9 a month while a household account (allowing for five users) will cost $12 a month.
A subscription will also mean you won’t miss out on monthly updates. However, if you’re into a one-off purchase, you can still do that.