During Microsoft's recent Windows 10 ultimate reveal (my term, coined in a recent Short Takes), we saw tidbits of the next Universal Office in demos of upcoming products launching as part of the Windows 10 wave. The demos highlighted what we've all been waiting for, touch-first Office applications. Office for Windows 10, as Microsoft is calling it, will bring a touch-optimized experience of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook to small screens. For phones and tablets running Windows 10, the new Office apps will come pre-installed. If you want a good first look for touch-heavy apps, Microsoft will deliver them as part of a new Windows 10 Technical Preview build in a few weeks. If you're not part of the Windows Insider program yet, this is a good reason to join now.
Additionally, and despite it releasing in the 2015 calendar year, the next version of Microsoft's desktop productivity suite will be titled Office 2016. Office 2016 is the update to Office 2013 and will continue to deliver an optimized experience for mouse and keyboard users. Reports suggest that this version of the next Office is already in limited testing by unnamed customers.
I'm providing some screenshots of Office for Windows 10 below and I think it's important to highlight something for the keen eye. The UI is very similar to what Microsoft has built into the apps for iPad and Android tablets already, and may seem additionally familiar to Windows 8.1 users – particularly the next version of Outlook. This version of Outlook looks strikingly similar to the Mail app that comes pre-installed with Windows 8.1, which is decidedly not the best design, suffers from lack of robust functionality, and is often times severely quirky. But, I'm sure Microsoft has already taken those flaws under consideration.
Outlook for Windows 10
Word for Windows 10
Excel for Windows 10
PowerPoint for Windows 10
OneNote for Windows 10
To get a deeper look before the preview is available, join the Office Mechanics in a 7 minute tour…