A new Office Insider Preview is available for Windows desktop users - here's what's new

Microsoft has announced a new Office 2016 build for Insiders on the Slow ring, bringing it up to Version 1703 , also known as the March 2017 feature update, which has a corresponding build number of 7967.2030. The build release for Windows desktop coincides with the Office Insider build for iOS.

This time around, new features have been added to Access, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Visio, with specifics as follows:

Access

  • Large numbers (bigint) support: Use the Large Number data type in Access tables to calculate large numbers, and to link to or import from external databases that use an equivalent data type, such as bigint in SQL Server.​ Learn more.

Outlook

  • Focused Inbox: Focused Inbox helps you focus on the emails that matter most to you. It separates your inbox into two tabs—Focused and Other. Your most important emails are on the Focused tab while the rest remain easily accessible—but out of the way—on the Other tab. Learn more.
  • Read email in your preferred language: Now you can translate email without leaving Outlook. Just turn on the Translator add-in to translate with a single tap. Choose from 60 languages.​ Get it here.
  • Add guests to your Office 365 groups: Collaborate with people outside your organization by adding them to your groups. Learn more.
  • Keep control over your attachments: Now, as you share and collaborate on OneDrive attachments in Outlook, you can offer the right level of access to people within your organization or externally. You can also let Outlook choose how much access they receive. Learn more.
  • Know before you share: Outlook tells you ahead of time if recipients will be able to access your documents, and offers suggestions if there will be any problems sharing.​ Learn more.

PowerPoint

  • ​A quick start to your research: Starting from scratch is hard. QuickStarter automatically creates an outline for your topic of choice with suggested talking points and designs that make your presentation pop. Learn more.
  • PowerPoint Designer: transform more types of slides: Designer now recommends professional design ideas for action-oriented lists.​ Learn more.
  • Make your images more accessible: Intelligent services generate Alt text for your pictures to make your presentations more accessible to people who are blind. Learn more.

Visio

  • Make diagrams from Excel data: Automatically create a Basic Flowchart or a Cross-Functional Flowchart from Excel data by using new Data Visualizer templates in Visio. Learn more.

While more users will likely use Outlook and PowerPoint more, rather than Access and Visio, it's still nice to see Microsoft give some attention to these specialized apps.

However, there is one known issue of which to be aware, affecting Excel, PowerPoint, and Word involving prompts to install these Office apps on your mobile device. Should you click on the 'Get Office apps' button in the prompt, it will cause the app to crash and, in turn, put you at risk of losing data. At present, Microsoft's suggested workaround is to dismiss the message by clicking the X button in the yellow message bar.

To sign up for Office Insider, open any Office app and go to File -> Account -> Office Insider. If that sounds a little fast-paced for you, don't worry, as this update will likely roll out to the Production side within a couple weeks.

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