Microsoft brings real-time collaborative editing and more to Office for Mac

Office for Mac
Office for Mac (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft is currently rolling out a pretty major update to Office 2016 for Mac users. Perhaps the biggest change included in the move to version 16.9 is the addition of real-time collaborative editing for Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. This brings the Mac suite more into line with its Windows cousin, allowing multiple people to work on a document, spreadsheet, or presentation at the same time. In each program, you can see who is currently working on a particular document and track changes as they're made.

Word, Excel, and PowerPoint have also picked up the ability to automatically save changes in the cloud as you make them. If you need to roll back, a version history for each document will let you pull back to earlier versions. That's in addition to a new feature for each program that allows you to "quickly find presentations stored in your frequently used sites and groups in the Open menu," Microsoft says.

Aside from the shared new features, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook each have individual tweaks as well. Here's a look at what's new:


  • More charts: Use new charts, such as funnel, sunburst and histogram, to transform your data into professional visualizations, or use the new Map chart type to transform geographic data into a map with just a few steps.
  • More functions: Shorten the formulas you write using the new logical functions IFS and SWITCH.
  • Better support for PivotTable charts: Change your filters in a PivotTable, and the chart you created will automatically adjust to show exactly what you want.
  • Multi-threaded calculation Formulas are updated faster when values are changed, because Excel uses multiple processing threads.


  • See what's changed: Slides that have been modified by others while you were away are highlighted.
  • A quick start to your research: Starting from scratch is hard. QuickStarter automatically creates an outline for your topic of choice with suggested talking points and designs that make your presentation pop.
  • Trim media: Remove unwanted content from the beginning or end of an audio or video clip.
  • Laser pointer in Slide Show: Use your mouse as a laser pointer to draw attention to certain parts of your slide.


  • Archive or delete with just one swipe: Save time organizing your Inbox by swiping left with two fingers across the touchpad to archive an email or swiping right to delete it.
  • Support for Google Calendar and Contacts: No need to move between apps! Manage your Google Calendar and Contacts without leaving Outlook.

If you happen to use Office on a Mac, or know someone who does, you can pick up all of these features by opening an Office app and heading to Help > Check for Updates now.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl