Initial Thoughts on Microsoft Word 2016

Today Microsoft released a preview of the new 2016 Office for Mac update. I think complaining about the menus in office and the massive number of features is pointless. Office exists to satisfy IT checklists and every obscure feature has its group of advocates out there … somewhere. Put simply, Microsoft Word is going to be big and ponderous just like the scorpion will always sting the frog. Nevertheless, I spend time in an industry where Word is used often and I, necessarily, must get over it. While I don’t like big and ponderous, I’d be able to deal with it, if Word were otherwise stable and stopped messing with my head.

I can’t help but feel Office for Mac and I have been in a dysfunctional relationship for several years. When Apple switched over to Intel, Office would toy with me. I’d type a letter and then Word would think about it just for a moment before deciding to put that letter on the screen. In the years that followed, new iterations would get released that would find new and interesting ways to toy with me. The 2011 version, for example, insists on rendering worse on retina screens than virtually any $1 utility app currently available in the Mac App Store.

So when I read about the beta today (which you can download right here), I decided to try it out. I even wrote a rather detailed contract in the new version. My initial impression is that Word is still big and ponderous. However, I also didn’t find any terrible lag, poor rendering, or any of the other sins we’ve seen in prior versions. The new version is based on Cocoa, where all prior versions were based on the aged Carbon.

Granted I’m only a few hours in but I already like this new version better. My initial impression is that Microsoft has pulled Word forward quite a bit with this new release. I’d love for Word to be more stable so I can get back to my old hobby of just complaining about its feature bloat.