MacBook Pro Touch Bar preview hits Microsoft Office for Macs

Ian Paul
9 February, 2017
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It’s not ready for prime time yet, but Microsoft’s now testing a beta version of MacBook Pro Touch Bar support in Office 2016 for Mac.

Anyone enrolled in the Office Insider Slow ring will soon see it appear in version 15.31 of Microsoft’s productivity suite, as first noticed by The Verge. The new Touch Bar features are available in all of Office’s major apps, including Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook.

Microsoft first announced Touch Bar support in October with examples of what it would do in all the various programs. The Touch Bar commands will change based on the context of whatever you’re doing inside the Office suite.

Excel users creating a formula inside a cell, for example, will see the Touch Bar adapt the minute they type in an equal sign. At that point, the Touch Bar will display the most recently used functions, such as sum, average, countif, and so on. After the user selects the function they’d like to use, the Touch Bar will change again to help the user select a cell range for their function.

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Touch Bar support for PowerPoint.

In Outlook, composing a new mail will prompt the Touch Bar to display a list of recent documents, and in Word the Touch Bar shows commonly used editing features such as bold, italics, highlight, and so on.

The impact on you at home: Any Mac user who isn’t a part of the Office Insider program can easily do so in order to try out these features. Open an Office program, and go to Help > Check for Updates. From there you can choose to try out Office Insider Slow or Office Insider Fast. Check out Microsoft’s help pages to understand the difference between the two update rings. Just keep in mind that Insider Preview builds often have bugs even in the slow ring.

It’s not clear when the stable version of Office for Mac will get Touch Bar support, but with slow ring users getting it now it’s likely the new features will roll out relatively soon.

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