Mac users who prefer Microsoft’s suite of productivity tools but aren’t keen on Office 365 are getting their first chance to try Office 2019 for Mac. A preview of the suite (including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and OneNote) is now open to business users.
Among the new features are a roaming “pencil case” (i.e. tools like pens and highlighters) and customizable ribbons that extend across the suite. Word receives accessibility improvements, a translation tool and a focus mode. The PowerPoint updates include morph transitions and 4K video export.
Excel’s upgrades include 2D maps, funnel charts and additional functions. Meanwhile, Microsoft is updating Outlook with @mention support, a focused inbox, templates and read and delivery receipts, along with scheduled mail delivery. These features are all already available on Office 365 ProPlus, the cloud version of the suite, but not Office 2016 for Mac.
The security features in the 2019 version mirror those in the 2016 suite, Microsoft says. As cloud software could be perceived as less secure than standard desktop apps, the business-focused trial of Office 2019 seems like a smart move. IT departments should also have an easier time deploying and managing Office 2019 for Mac than with previous versions of the suite.
Microsoft is releasing Office 2019 for Windows and Mac later this year. In the meantime, if you’d like to join the Mac preview (or the Windows preview that went live in April), you can do so here.