Microsoft has released a new Office Insider Preview Build 16.50.21060600 for Insiders in the Current Channel. The new Office build comes with a bunch of new features for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote.

Talking about what’s new, the new Office Insider Preview Build adds a new look for the Office start screen which is based on the Fluent Design capabilities, an updated Thesaurus across Office, the ability to add a high-quality video to your presentation, dark mode in document canvas, colorful themes, and many more. You can read about all the features in detail below.

Changelog

Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote

Get a new look for your Office start screen

When you open Word, Excel, PowerPoint, or OneNote on your Mac, you are greeted with a new start screen that takes advantage of the latest Fluent Design capabilities. Though this update does not include any changes to the core functionality of the Start screen, it provides a clearer and?more intuitive start experience that is Big Sur macOS-optimized and unmistakably Microsoft 365.

Learn more >

Laptop screen showing new PowerPoint start screen for Mac

Updated Thesaurus

The built-in Thesaurus feature allows you to select just the right word to get your message across. We’ve updated the Thesaurus across Office to improve its accuracy and eliminate inappropriate and incorrect synonyms. To use the Thesaurus, highlight (double-click) a word, select Synonyms from the dialogue box, and choose the best option. (You can also open the Thesaurus pane from the Review ribbon to view contextual vocabulary suggestions.)

Microsoft Word document showing the use of the thesaurus feature.

PowerPoint

Add high-quality video to your presentation

Nothing adds life to a presentation like video. You can now elevate your documents with premium content by accessing a library of curated, royalty-free video footage. To add a video to your presentation, select the Insert tab, then select Video > Stock Videos and browse the available content. Select the video you want to use and click Insert to place it on the slide you want it to play from.

PowerPoint interface showing how to insert a video

Outlook

Transition to the new Outlook

If you are upgrading to the latest version of Outlook, you’ll notice we’ve implemented some features that will help you make a smooth and seamless transition. These include a First Run Experience that explains the major changes when you open the app for the first time, in-app notifications that “nudge” you to try out new features, and a What’s New checklist that helps you navigate the new experience and see what aspects of the program you haven’t explored or customized yet.

Outlook onboarding window that shows personalization options.

New Colorful Themes

Now you can enhance your Outlook for Mac experience with exciting new themes—choose one of six preset theme colors. These themes enable you to increase your screen visibility, address any personal accessibility needs, or simply beautify the user interface to suit your mood or interests. To enable a theme, select Outlook > Preferences > General. Under Personalize, select Light ModeDark Mode, or System (the latter will allow Outlook to reflect the system default setting). Then in the Theme section, click the color you want. To enable or disable window transparency, check or clear the Transparency checkbox.

Outlook screen showing new purple theme color

Change defaults for meeting times across an organization

While back-to-back meetings have become a hallmark of the pandemic era, research shows that even small breaks between meetings can have a positive impact on stress levels and the ability to focus and engage. Now network administrators have the ability to create default settings in Outlook across an organization to end all meetings or events a few minutes early or start them a few minutes late, giving everyone at the company more breaks. These settings can be enabled through PowerShell; admins should refer to this Tech Community post for more details and instructions.

Move and copy messages between accounts

Many of you have asked for the ability to move or copy an email sent to one of multiple accounts to a folder in a different account. Now you can! This is also very helpful for those who are using a shared mailbox account.

Learn more >

Outlook interface showing how to move an email from one account to another

Pin messages to the top of your Inbox

You asked for it! Sometimes there’s an important email that you just can’t let get buried. You can keep that message highly visible by easily pinning it to the top of your Inbox.

Learn more >

Outlook indicator showing pinned message to top of inbox.

Use contextual add-ins in the reading pane

Now you can access contextual add-ins right from the reading pane in Outlook. This makes it easy to add a phone number to your contacts, look up a location on a map, or suggest a meeting without leaving the reading pane. To try these out, simply click on the contextual items that are highlighted for you by Outlook.

Outlook screen showing a contextual map pop up tied to a text address.

Word

New Dark Mode

We heard you! We’ve made improvements to the popular Dark Mode. Previously, the Black Office theme offered a dark ribbon and toolbars, but your document canvas stayed bright white. We’ve extended Dark Mode so that your document is also dark, which is important for reducing eye strain and accommodating light sensitivity from long hours at a computer screen. To turn on Dark Mode, you need to enable it for your Mac in Settings > General > Appearance > Dark. Then, you can switch to this mode in Word at any time by selecting View > Switch Modes from the ribbon.

Learn more >

A GIF shows how to select Dark Mode in Word by using Switch Modes on the View ribbon.

Editor Enhances Communication

The Editor feature is here! Editor is an intelligent writing assistant that helps you put your best foot forward and communicate your message more effectively. It checks your document for grammar and spelling errors and offers suggestions to improve clarity, conciseness, inclusiveness, vocabulary, and more. To access the feature, click on the Editor icon on the Home ribbon, and review the suggestions in the Editor pane.

Word for the Mac document showing the Editor pane interface.

Word, Excel, PowerPoint

Accessibility Checker runs in background

Now it’s even easier to create accessible content, by having the Accessibility Checker running in the background as you create and update your document. This feature displays real-time scan results in the status bar, showing when accessibility recommendations are available to investigate. Clicking the status bar item will launch the Accessibility Checker pane, which offers a list of accessibility issues that you can act on as desired.

Microsoft Word screen showing accessibility alert in status bar and Accessibility Checker pane

Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote

Use the ribbon with just your keyboard

You asked for it! You can now carry out common ribbon tasks from anywhere in Office by using your keyboard; we’ve made this easier by implementing KeyTips. When you press the Option key (? Opt), KeyTips now appear on the ribbon to allow you to activate tabs and commands.

KeyTips visible on ribbon in PowerPoint document

To update to Office Insider Preview Build, open any Office program and go to File > Account > Update options > Update now.

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