Microsoft Word 2016 Review: Still the Best Word Processing App

With the rise of Google Docs and other word processing software, it’s safe to say that some observers might have thought that Microsoft Word could be facing a major decline. However, we’re certain once consumers use the newest version, Microsoft Word 2016, they won’t be replacing their word processors any time soon.

This software has always been a mainstay in personal computers and laptops, regardless if they run Windows or Apple OS X, but there have always been a few upstarts trying to make a dent in the market. They’ve failed, and miserably, at that. It is also available on mobile platforms, like on the iPhone and most recently on the iPad Pro, wherein it was revamped and optimized to make full use of the tablet computer’s newest features.

Microsoft Word has always been the meter stick for word processors and anyone who is familiar with a computer has used it before. With that said, it doesn’t matter if competing software will come flooding in: Microsoft Word will still matter and be the poster boy of office work.

Microsoft Word 2016 has big shoes to fill – its predecessors were of course, nothing short of impeccable. So, how does it fare compared to its predecessors and is it as awesome? We sat back, relaxed and tried it out!

Microsoft Word 2016: A rundown

If you’ve given up your Windows computer in favor of a Mac, you will find out that the Microsoft Windows 2016 of both platforms are quite similar, although there are some Mac-only features, which we’ll go in-depth later. There have not been any major overhauls when compared to its predecessor, Word for Mac in 2011:. Bear in mind though, Microsoft did not just plaster the 2011 version, wrapped it as the 2016 one, and sold it – it’s a different and better product. After all, if the way you create and edit documents has been changed, wouldn’t it be a bad thing?

The current installment of the word processor is only available through the Office 365 subscription, and it’s a bit pricey – you will need to pay a hundred dollars to use it for one year. Luckily though, the Microsoft is offering discounts to students, teachers, and parents through their education program.

Mac OS X features

We’re mainly here to talk about how it is on a Mac computer, so we’ll throw out the possibility of bringing up and reviewing the Windows version as early as now.

As mentioned earlier, the Microsoft Word 2016 for Mac has its own exclusive set of features which are not found in other installments of the app and those on Microsoft. This is a funny thought, given that Microsoft and Apple are archenemies when it comes to operating systems and software. However, both have shown that they can work with each others’ devices, particularly when Microsoft introduced the Office productivity suite on the iPad Pro…during an Apple keynote event.

Anyway, here are the most notable Microsoft Word 2016 features that are exclusive only to the Mac:

  • Retina display support. Though we’re certain you would not need ultra high definition graphics to create compelling articles and pieces on the Mac OS X, Microsoft Word 2016 boasts full support for Macs and MacBooks with Retina displays.
  • Smart Lookup. This feature helps users look up information on the web and Bing searches when you use the tool. Funny enough, this could be just an attempt by Microsoft to have people use Bing instead of Google. Jokes aside, this is a welcome development.
  • Full-screen mode. Microsoft Word 2016 on the Mac supports the full-screen mode, which is pretty self-explanatory to say the least.
  • Task Pane. This allows you to make quick and easy formatting changes without having to use its menu.

So yes, the Microsoft Word 2016 on the Mac is a feature-rich word processor with capabilities its contemporaries can only hope to reach.

Anyway, despite the differences in platform and operating system, Microsoft managed to smoothly redesign Microsoft Word for both the iOS and OS X. Both look more like their Windows counterparts, which is another good thing altogether: you will have no problem transitioning from working on a piece from a Windows-run computer at work and switching over to a MacBook during a long commute.

Also note that if it has Mac-only exclusives, there are also features exclusive to the Windows version, which is quite a bummer to say the least. The most notable one is the capability to add a pop-up calendar to a formatted table. There’s a silver lining in this though: y0u can add the effect on a Windows computer and if you open it later on in a Mac, it will still be there.

Sharing and collaborative work

Although I believe Google Docs takes home the bacon in allowing users to converge and collaborate on working on and editing documents, Microsoft World 2016 for Mac deserves a place in the podium too! You can easily attach the document via e-mail and have other people make edits, and finally, send it back to you.

Like Google, Microsoft has its own online storage center reserved for users, called Microsoft OneDrive. If you upload your document there, you can have different people, including your coworkers, bosses, and clients, view a certain document and make changes without having to interfere with each other’s changes. Like in Google Docs, you can also put comments on your work, allowing you to communicate with your collaborators in real time – although we recommend using another tool altogether in doing so. Reserve the comments feature for pointing out mistakes and edits!

Hiccups and boo-boos

No software is perfect – everything has its down downsides and incapabilities: the Microsoft Word 2016 for Mac is definitely not an exception. These problems are relatively minor though: they are not enough to make us say that you should avoid installing them altogether, but you need to take heed and note the following problems if you want to seamlessly use the tool:

  • It’s not available separately (as of this writing). Sure, we would like yo have the complete MS Office  365 productivity suite, but not everybody ends up using the Powerpoint and other tools. It would be awesome if Microsoft decided to put them up for sale separately.
Photo: Venturebeat
  • It doesn’t have an autosave feature. Wait, what? Every word processor needs and autosave feature – without it we would all know what would happen to klutzes. Unlike other software, MS Word doesn’t save your work from the background. This in turn makes it comparable to its older versions. With that said, remember to save your work often if you don’t want to languish in the sidelines whenever a power outage or an unfortunate circumstance occurs.
  • The collaborative capabilities are not as seamless, especially when compared to GDocs. For example, if you’re editing a document and someone from another end does the same, you won’t be able to see the changes they made: you need to at least save your work and refresh the page to see the changes they have made.

These aren’t deal breakers, but I highly recommend you find ways to go around these issues when you’re in the campaign period.

So, should you download it?

It depends.

Thing is, it’s not for everybody, considering that it’s extremely pricey and they might not end up using it extensively. With that said, it’s a great application if you’re consistently working long pieces of writing, projects, along with school-related endeavors. If you spend just two hours a week typing in front of a computer, you definitely need to think twice about buying it. This won’t be a good investment for you in the long run. Anyway, why buy something you aren’t planning on using when there are already alternatives waiting to be untapped?

Regardless, it’s still a must-download productivity tool and you if you work with documents all the time. It allows you to quickly switch and work on platforms or operating systems without having to deal with a learning curve every time you do. It’s still the best word processing application out there and you definitely won’t regret installing it.

Quick reference

We’ve summarized this review, so here’s a quick reference list to help you out!

Pros:

  • It’s well-designed, familiar, and easy to use. If you have been using older versions of the program or have had experience in using other word processing software, then you’ll be fine.
  • It supports several Mac-exclusive features, notably the retina display, which is a huge deal to most people in the coming months or years.
  • It blends in well with Microsoft OneDrive and allows other users to collaborate with it and make changes.

Cons: 

  • It’s quite expensive, even for a word processing app.
  • It does not support the Mac’s autosave feature, making it seem like you’re writing on a 2003 MS Word.
  • The collaboration features are not as seamless. Google Drive still takes the cake in this one.
  • It has some Windows-only features that are not available on the Mac. It’s comforting to think that this is vice-versa too.

So, what do  you think? Well you install Microsoft word 2016? Please tell us in the comments!

One Response to "Microsoft Word 2016 Review: Still the Best Word Processing App"

  1. Peter  July 5, 2017

    I have been writing a book in pages which I commenced two years ago only to find now that I’m almost finished my book using pages I cannot create an index at the end of my book but I can create a table of contents. To me this seems odd because if you write a document that requires a table of contents invariably you would need an index. Does word 2016 for MacBook Pro do both?
    Thank you

    Reply

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