10 New Microsoft Office 2016 Features to Increase Productivity

If you are an avid Microsoft Office 2016 user, then you may know that new features are being added all the time. Once you open an application like Word or PowerPoint, for example, you are greeted with that little “what’s new” box.

Whether you check out those fresh features or simply move on, knowing what’s new can be beneficial to increasing your productivity. Here’s an overview of some of the most noteworthy new features in Microsoft Office 2016.

1. Additional Ribbon Buttons in Outlook

Now you can archive items in Outlook with a single click by using the Archive button. Plus, browsing or adding new groups is simple with the addition of those two group buttons.

To see the new buttons, you must add them to your ribbon first. To do this quickly, just right-click on the ribbon and select Customize the Ribbon. Then search for the commands on the left and add them to the right.


Moreover, if you use Outlook frequently, you should give this feature a try. It will help you work more quickly by only using the tools you need.

2. Enhanced Collaboration

For adding comments and sharing them with ease, Word and PowerPoint contain great collaboration features. You should see the sharing and commenting icons at the top right of the ribbon.

In addition, you can quickly view previous versions of a document with the Activity button on your ribbon. Once clicked, the side panel will open, showing what has happened with your document.


While this is a convenient feature for small groups, you may dislike it if you plan to collaborate with a larger group. In such cases, you should consider using Microsoft Loop, an Office app that enables real-time communication.

3. Mentions in Outlook

For quickly capturing someone’s attention, Outlook 2016 has a feature called Mentions.

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When crafting an email or calendar invitation, type the @ symbol and the first few letters of the person’s name into the body. You will then see a drop-down box displaying options from your contact list.


Once you select one, not only will that person’s name be highlighted in the message or invitation, but it will also automatically pop into the To line. Additionally, you will be able to sort your inbox by mentions.

4. New Connection Options in Excel

You can import data from SAP HANA databases, SharePoint folders, and online services such as Salesforce Objects or Reports. You’ve to select Data > Get Data and then make the appropriate selection from the drop-down box.

Connection Options In Excel 2016

Thankfully, the connectors for IBM DB2 and SQL Server Database have been improved as well. So, you can now select the Microsoft driver for IBM DB2, and you can include schema information as part of the navigation hierarchy for the SQL Server Database.

5. Publish to Docs.com

Some features added to Office 2016 are available across multiple applications. One such feature is the ability to publish documents to Docs.com.

To get started, you’ve to select File > Publish and you will see the Docs.com options, including document title and visibility choices.


If this is your first time using this feature, you will need a Docs.com account. It hardly takes a few minutes to create one using your email address or by logging in via Facebook or your Microsoft account.

6. Publish to Power BI in Excel

Power BI is a service that can transform your data into interactive reports. Using the business dashboard, you can monitor, analyze, and build models easily.

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If you want to use this feature, select File > Publish to send and receive workbooks and data directly to and from Power BI.


Take note that the service requires that you have a subscription to OneDrive for Business.

7. Researcher in Word

This handy tool is perfect for term papers or business research. Select References > Researcher from the toolbar and then enter your search term in the sidebar.

Once the results are displayed, and you choose those that you want—you can add headings to start your outline. Once you’re done, you can cite the sources directly from the researcher tool as well.


Additionally, you can add images that you find by dragging and dropping them into your document. Above all, if you’re unable to use this feature, make sure Office Connected Experiences is turned on.

8. Suggest a Feature in Outlook

If you have a great idea for a new feature in Outlook, you can now suggest it with a click. Select File > Feedback and click the Outlook 2016 Feedback button.


You will then be redirected in your web browser to the Outlook Suggestion Box, where you can vote on a suggestion or enter your own idea.

9. Text Highlighter in PowerPoint

Like in Word, you can now use a text highlighter in PowerPoint. With this convenient and long-overdue feature, you can now make certain parts of your text stand out.

To begin, make sure you are on the Home tab and then select your text. Next, click Text Highlighter and choose your color.

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Text Highlighter In PowerPoint

10. Zoom for PowerPoint

This handy new PowerPoint feature lets you move to different slides and sections of your presentation quickly. There are three types of Zoom that you can use:

  • Summary Zoom puts the pieces you select onto one slide, allowing you to jump between them.
  • Slide Zoom lets you navigate slides in any order that you choose.
  • Section Zoom allows you to pop back to previous sections easily.

Select Insert > Zoom and then choose the type you would like to use from the drop-down box.


Staying in the Loop

If you are interested in seeing the newest features while you have an application open, you can check them out at any time. Select File > Account > What’s New to access the pop-up window, which also contains a link to Learn More about those features.


If you are not seeing a new feature and are an Office 365 subscriber, make sure that you have the latest version of the software. Select File > Account > Update Options to update the software and also view what is included.


New Features Are Coming Your Way

Keep in mind that many new features are rolled out to Office 365 subscribers and Office Insiders first. So, if you do not see a feature in your application yet, just know that it is being tested and is on the way.

Also, if you are interested in more information about becoming an Office Insider, signing up can provide you with early access to new features and allow you to provide feedback on them.

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