Monday, January 22, 2018

Microsoft Office 2016, Version 16.9

Juli Clover:

Office for Mac today received a major update, with Microsoft updating the software to version 16 and introducing new features for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.

In Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, Microsoft is introducing real-time collaborative editing, allowing multiple people to work on the same document at the same time. In Word and PowerPoint, flag icons will let you know what others are working on and what’s been changed.

Changes to documents, worksheets, and presentations stored in the cloud will be saved automatically, and updates will be synced in seconds. A version history will let you roll back to earlier versions of a document if necessary.

Bill Smith:

Pyramid never shipped, but the idea of the common codebase was implemented to create Word 6 for Windows, which crushed the competition, and Word 6 for Mac, which “was a crappy product” according to Rick Schaut in his “Buggin’ My Life Away” blog. He’s been working on Mac Word for most of its life.


Eventually, the features between both platforms diverged and their object models (the way each handles code) began to differ. The code in Office 2008 for Mac was as different from the Windows code as it ever was and feature parity between the two platforms greatly suffered.


For the last 10 years, Microsoft has been taking those few steps back with the plan to reunify the code and it’s been paying off. During that time, Microsoft has released Office for two new platforms they didn’t anticipate when they started their project — iOS and Android. These were the first new platforms to ship from the new unified codebase and that was possible because the majority of the underlying code was the same.

Erik Schwiebert:

For the first time in over 20 years, Office is again built out of one codebase for all platforms (Windows, Mac, iOS, Android)!

The shared code is all C++. Each platform has native code interfacing with the OS (ie, Objective C for Mac and iOS, Java for Android, C/C++ for Windows, etc)

This is emphatically not a repeat of Word 6.

See also: Paul Bowden and Erik Schwiebert’s presentation, Dave Mark, David Sparks.

Update (2018-01-27): Brad Sams:

I really want to know what Office app this loving family is looking at...

Some wicked pivot tables, maybe a PowerPoint of their food consumption??

Update (2018-02-15): Pierre Igot:

Even @microsoft itself apologized for Word 6 for Mac at some point in its history… And yet, here we are, in 2018, and the Visual Basic Editor in @office #Word2016 looks like this in #macOS[…]

Update (2018-02-19): John Gordon:

Dear @Office - if Mac and Win have same codebase now, why don’t we Mac users get that fabulous "tell me what you want to do" box?

Update (2019-01-09): See also: The Talk Show on Word 6.

2 Comments RSS · Twitter

The iPad Word team did an AMA on Reddit a while back and I asked them about the shared framework:

Q: You said that you're using a shared framework for the text rendering in Word (i.e. shared between platforms). Has it been the same rendering engine since the 90s, or has it ever been rewritten? Do you use anything at all from Text Kit on iPad?

A: No, it's not the same rendering engine from the 90's. I'm reluctant to give exact dates (I can tell you what I had for breakfast, I just can't tell you when I had it), but we rewrote the core several versions ago.
Word uses some of the low-level Core Text features to get information about fonts and glyph sizes, but at the line layout/page layout level we use the same engine that Win Word uses. If we use any of the higher-level features of CoreText, then line beaks and page breaks won't be the same across the various versions of Word.

Common codebase… except for Outlook. Outlook for Mac remains a different beast (and feature parity does indeed suffer tremendously).

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