Today Microsoft officially releases Office 2016 for Windows. We’ve been able to preview it for some time, of course, and the Mac version has been out for a few weeks. But now it’s been let loose.
I have not personally devoted a lot of time with the Excel 2016 for Windows preview. It looks to me a lot like Excel 2013, and what I did confirmed that it behaved very much like Excel 2013, both in Excel itself and in VBA. I spent more time with Excel 2016 for Mac, which also looks a lot like Excel 2013 for Windows, but the back end (VBA) has a lot of differences and a lot of shortcomings which Microsoft is hustling to address. I’ve had to figure out lots of workarounds to make my programs work the way I want them to, and in fact, some of my programs don’t really work yet.
For Excel 2016, Microsoft has introduced several new chart types, described in Introducing new and modern chart types now available in Office 2016 Preview. Several of them are also included in Peltier Tech Charts for Excel, including waterfalls, histograms, Paretos, and box plots. Should I be worried that I’ll lose business to Microsoft? Well, maybe not too worried. I will keep these charts in my product, because people may prefer my chart styles and defaults, and they may have written their own VBA to use my add-in to create charts. And of course, Peltier Tech Charts for Excel has lots more than these few charts.
I did “get to” foray into Office 365, because that was the only way to get either the Mac or Windows preview of Office 2016. That was a little frustrating, because I felt like I no longer had control over my account (seems I have half a dozen accounts with Microsoft, and I never guessed the right credentials whenever I had to log in), and updates could be an adventure. Recently, though, things seem to work more smoothly.
Here are a handful of links to articles on Microsoft’s Office Blog that talk about Office 2106, including topics related to business analytics and some new charts introduced in Excel 2016.
- What is new in business analytics – Excel 2016
- Helping business analysts take full advantage of Excel 2016
- 11 blogs on Power Map
- New charts: Treemap and Sunburst
- New charts: Visualize statistics with Histogram, Pareto, Box and Whisker
- New charts: Introducing Waterfall chart
- More details on forecasting models in Power View
Here are a few articles from users outside of Microsoft
- Excel 2016: Ten Heartwarming Improvements in which Rob Collie describes improvements to Power Pivot and other data features
- My three favorite things in Excel 2016 where my new colleague Gašper Kamenšek describes four new things in Excel 2016, that’s right, four, three of his favorites and one that everyone else seems excited by
- Chris Webb’s What’s New In The Excel 2016 Preview For BI?
- Excel 2016 for Mac review: Spreadsheet app can do the job—as long as you don’t rely on macros at Macworld
Microsoft is implementing a new development cycle. They’re going to move away from the 3- to 4-year new version cycle, and roll out more substantial updates monthly or so. This will help eliminate bugs and add features more rapidly. It also means they will make Office on all platforms increasingly compatible.
Microsoft has added a new communication feature. If you have a great idea for a new feature, you can suggest it at the Excel Idea Box at UserVoice.com. Other users can review, comment on, and vote on your ideas. I’ve posted Give us a proper NULL() worksheet function; please go and vote for it. I’ve also supported Bring VBA into the modern world, Link the min and max values of a chart axis to cell value, Make it easier to find external links, and Improve the Concatenate Function, among others, and they could also use your votes.