It’s a well-known fact that Microsoft is working on a new version of Office that could arrive in the second half of 2015, but the company has until now kept all details secret in an attempt to prevent any leaks from happening.
It turns out that sometimes it’s really hard to block leaks, and this is exactly what happened with the new Office 16, as the very first beta is now available for download from some less official websites. As usual, we won’t provide you with any download links, but it should be there if you know where to look.
This beta version of Office 16, which is, just like its name says, an unfinished product, comes with several changes, some of which have already been spotted in a bunch of leaked screenshots revealed in the last few weeks.
Obviously, no one should download and install this beta for everyday use, as it’s only intended for professionals and experienced users who want to try it out and send back feedback in order to help Microsoft improve the final product before it hits the market.
At first glance, the new Office 16 looks pretty much the same as its predecessors, and aside from a few icons, such as the “paste” button, which now seems to be flatter, all included apps, such as Word, Excel, and PowerPoint look just like the previous version.
The biggest change you can see is the addition of a dark theme that should make Office a bit more eye-friendly when being used during the night.
There are several themes to choose from, all of which can be selected from the settings screen of your Office installation.
At this point, the dark theme doesn’t seem really polished and it still needs some touches here and there, but it’s pretty clear that Microsoft is planning to give users more UI options in the new Office.
Just as it happened with the previous testing versions of Office, this new one comes with the typical smiley button in the menu bar, allowing you to quickly submit feedback if you like or dislike specific features. A similar approach has also been implemented in Internet Explorer 11 in Windows 10, again with the sole purpose of getting feedback from users.
It’s not yet clear if the build that got leaked is new or old, but it’s clearly one of the first versions of the new productivity suite.
The current version number of Office 16 is 16.0.3030.1018 and can only be used for a few days before it expires. Still good enough if you just want to see what’s new.