Microsoft started testing its Office 2019 apps for Windows business users back in April, and now its opening a new preview program for Mac users today. Like the Windows version, the Mac offering is designed for businesses that arent using Office 365 with all the latest features and updates. Microsoft typically updates Office 365, while these individual releases of Office are available for those hesitant to move to the cloud. Office 2019 for Mac will include a roaming pencil case and ribbon customizations across all Office apps. Microsoft is also bringing focus mode to Word, alongside a new translator, and accessibility improvements. Morph transitions, SVG and 3D model support, play in-click sequence, and 4k video export are all coming to PowerPoint. New funnel charts, 2D maps, and functions (CONCAT, TEXTJOIN, IFS, SWITCH) will be available in Excel. The focused inbox feature of Outlook mobile and desktop is also coming to the Mac version with Office 2019, alongside @ mentions, email templates, read and delivery receipts, and scheduled delivery of emails. Office 2019 for Mac will be available in the second half of the year, and businesses interested in trying out the preview can sign up here.
The full release will follow later this year. 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.