Much like it is doing with Windows 10, Microsoft is also continually updating its Office 2016 suite of productivity tools, and a new early version has been released that brings several features to the popular Excel, PowerPoint, Project and Outlook programs.
Called build Version 1804 (Build 9226.xxxx), this new version has been released to people who have signed up for the Office Insider program, which lets you try out early versions of the software before anyone else.
Perhaps one of the most useful features to be included in this new build concerns the Outlook email client. It can now read your emails out loud, which is useful if you are not able to see your screen.
Outlook is now also smarter at showing you reminders, and you can choose to make them pop up over windows you have already open, or have the Outlook icon flash on the taskbar to alert you.
Microsoft has also added the ability to mark deleted emails as read – a feature commonly requested by the community to help tidy up your inbox.
Other new features
Excel has been given a boost with Insights. This feature helps you analyze your data by simply clicking the new ‘Insight’ button, which can now be found in the Insert tab. Excel will then interpret your data and produce interesting visuals and charts in a new pane to help you break it down.
Meanwhile, PowerPoint can now turn your scribbled notes and drawings that you’ve made with a stylus into readable text and editable images for use in presentations.
For more information about the range of new features, and bug fixes, available in the new Office Insider build, check out Microsoft’s release notes.
Getting the update
The new build of Office 2016 is only available to people using Office on a Windows device, and who are signed up to the Office Insider Programme. If you’d like to sign up, open any Office 2016 app, then go to File > Account > Office Insider and select the ‘Get early access to new releases of Office’ box.
You'll then need to choose a level you want to participate in. ‘Insider’ will give you the very earliest builds, but you can also select ‘Monthly Channel (Targeted)’, which gives you updates once a month. This gives the builds more time to be tested before you try them, minimising the risk of encountering bugs.
Once you’ve signed up, go to File > Account (or Office Account in Outlook) Update Options > Update Now to get the latest build.