Microsoft has released the public beta of Office for Mac 2016 on its Microsoft Office webpage, most notably bringing a redesign and Retina support to the suite of apps. The beta can be downloaded for free and provides an alternative to Apple’s iWork suite.
Office for Mac 2016 is the first major update since Office for Mac 11, and probably to the satisfaction of many, packs a design closer to the Windows version of Office. Not that Mac fans are typical Microsoft-design diehards, but many love Office’s ability to handle and edit documents.
The beta is a whopping 2.5GB download and takes close to 6GB of your hard drive space after it installs. We’ve installed the beta, and many of the apps pack a slick new look that honestly gives iWork a run for its money.
Under new Microsoft CEO Satya Nadel, it’s clear the company is putting focus on its cloud services. Analyst Ross MacMillan of Jefferies predicts $4 billion of additional annual revenue for Microsoft from the Office unit very soon, and calls it one of the most important parts of the company.
A subscription to Office 365 costs $10 per month, or $100 per year and gives you the right to download Office software to up to five computers. It’s a pricing model that Microsoft has used for Office for iPad. Right now the beta doesn’t require a subscription.
In October, the Redmond-based company released a revamp to its Outlook for Mac product.
Microsoft says the public version of Office for Mac 2016 will be released in the second half of 2015.
You can download the beta from Microsoft’s website. It’s supported only on the very latest version of Mac OS X, Yosemite (10.10).