First look: Microsoft Office 2016 for enterprise hints at easy searching, colorful UI

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The first glance at the future of Office for Windows is here, in the form of the Office 2016 IT Pro and Developer Preview. It’s the initial public iteration of the suite that will be released sometime in the second half of 2015, so at this point it’s very much a work in progress.

I’ve spent a good deal of time with it—and while there are a few interesting user additions, the bigger improvements so far are under the hood and will benefit businesses the most.

The preview is available for free to those who have an Office 365 ProPlus subscription, an Office 365 Enterprise E3 plan or an Office 365 Enterprise E4 plan. If you’re interested in getting it, go to Microsoft Connect, register and follow the installation instructions.

Installation woes

Given that this is an early preview, don’t be surprised if you experience installation woes—I certainly did. I uninstalled my existing consumer edition of Office 2013 before trying to install the new version, in the hopes that the installation would go smoothly. Those hopes were quickly dashed.

I tried several times to install and, each time, when it seemed that 85% of the installation had been performed, the installation appeared to stop. When I checked the Windows 8 Start screen, I found an icon for the Word 2016 Preview, but not for any other Office apps. Word worked fine, but no other icons for Office applications could be found.

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