Apple’s newest MacBook Pro arrived in October with its Touch Bar interaction hub. At the launch event, it was confirmed that Microsoft would be developing Office support for the Touch Bar. Since then the company has been quiet on how that development has been going. However, starting this week, Office users can test Touch Bar support on Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Of course, there are some basic requirements if you want to test these features. Most importantly, you need the new MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. Secondly you need to be a member of the Office Insider Program. The new Word, Excel, and PowerPoint support is available on the Slow Ring branch on the inside.
As these features are now available on the Inside, end users can expect to see them in the coming weeks or months. If not, signing to become an Office Insider is easy. However, it is worth noting the Insider Program is to test unfinished features and services, so there may be some bugs present.
Office Touch Bar Support
Microsoft has previously detailed how Office will be integrated with the Touch Bar:
Word – The MacBook Pro Touch Pad lets users enter Word Focus Mode directly. The feature hides the ribbons and commands, which Microsoft says lets users focus on their work. Quick access presents the most common Word features instantly, while users can open the full app for all Ribbon commands.
PowerPoint – The Touch Bar doubles for the Reorder Objects button. This opens a graphical map of all layers on a slide. Users can manipulate the elements by rotating objects with the Touch Bar and moving objects to where it is wanted.
Excel – Users can see the most recently used functions when an ‘=’ is placed in a cell. Microsoft explained this feature in October:
“For example, with a tap (for the formula) and another tap (for a named range) in the Touch Bar, you can quickly sum a range in your spreadsheet. The Touch Bar also provides quick access to borders, cell colors and recommended charts—making it easier than ever to organize and visualize your data”.
Outlook – The Touch Bar presents the most common commands from Outlook. Other features include a view of recent documents displayed on the Touch Bar. With a single tap, an attachment or link can be added to an email. Also, though the Today view, Outlook will join into a Skype for Business meeting.