Microsoft’s next version of Outlook for Mac appeared earlier this week in leaked screenshots, and now we’re starting to see even more applications that are part of Office for Mac 2015. Chinese site CnBeta has published a number of slides from an internal Microsoft presentation detailing the next release of Office for Mac. In a "history of Office for Mac" slide it’s clear Microsoft is targeting its next Office for Mac release in 2015, despite rumors the company would release it this year. It has been four years since the last major version of Office for Mac, but the next version will look identical to its Windows counterpart.
Microsoft is planning to re-design the entire user interface of Office for Mac to align it with the look and feel of Office on Windows. That includes full support for Retina displays, new Office 2013 features, and a redesigned ribbon interface. Microsoft has four key "investment" areas for Office for Mac: modernization, enterprise ready Outlook, services & cloud connected, and OneNote for Mac. Just like Office for Windows, the Mac version will integrate Office 365, OneDrive, and SharePoint functionality, including new collaboration features. There will also be a new interface to access recent documents, regardless of whether they were edited on Office for iPad, Office for Windows, or Office for Mac itself.
The leaked screenshots show a Mac interface that’s identical to Office for Windows across Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. While the additions to Word mainly focus on improved reading, sharing, and document editing, the big changes appear to be reserved for Outlook. Microsoft is adding new push mail support and category sync to Outlook for Mac, weather options in calendar, propose new time features for meeting appointments, and an "online archive" option. The new Outlook for Mac interface will look familiar to the Windows version, with new iconography and a flatter look and feel. Out of all the Office for Mac apps, Outlook will be the biggest visual change to those used to Office for Mac 2011.
Office for Mac preview may arrive soon
Overall it’s clear Microsoft’s direction with Office for Mac 2015 will be similar to its existing OneNote for Mac application. The leaked slides appear to be old, with references to SkyDrive before its renaming to OneDrive, but The Verge can confirm they’re accurate and show how the next version of Office for Mac will look and feel. Microsoft is expected to reveal Office for Mac launch dates soon, and ZDNet suggests there could even be a public preview of the release shortly. That might explain the recent leaks of Office for Mac 2015.