Apart from a few screenshots leaked early last year, not much was known about the next major release of Microsoft Office codenamed “Office 15”. However, as of yesterday, Microsoft has announced that "Office 15" has entered into Technical Preview, with the public beta slated for a summer release.

The technical preview is currently open only to a select few outside Microsoft under a non-disclosure agreement.  Last time around, prior to the launch of Office 2010, people had a chance to sign up for the technical preview. However, this time, Microsoft seems to have taken a less public approach for choosing potential candidates for the technical preview.

In any case, the technical preview means the suite should most-likely be feature complete and relatively stable to let end-users try it out. Details on what’s new are scarce right now, but it could be fair game to expect some Metro-esque updates to the UI, aligning the user experience with other products such as the Xbox Dashboard and Windows 8.

Microsoft is calling "Office 15" as one of the most ambitious undertakings for the Office division, promising a simultaneous update to all its Office products and services across all platforms for the first time ever.  

Either way, it should be interesting to see what new features and enhancements make their way into Office 15. Personally, I would like to see deeper integration with Microsoft’s cloud services such as Office 365 and Skydrive, allowing for easier sharing and collaboration.

Office 2010 brought to the table several new features such as the controversial Backstage View, a consistent Ribbon UI across the suite, and lots of minor enhancements in every app. However, it was by no means a must have upgrade. I guess we’ll have to wait for the public beta to see if "Office 15" fits that bill.

Source: MS Office Blog

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  • lurker22 - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    As stated above, old versions already do everything people want. They are just doing window dressing for the last two versions. I still use Office 2003,and if it stopped working would just switch to something free rather than spend big $ for all these features I don't need. Reply
  • PubFiction - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    If you are an average consumer who does little more than a mail merge or writing a letter to grandma, yes office does everything you want. In fact for most things you would probably be fine with wordpad, But, if you actually use office in heavy business or research there is still plenty to be done. As with everything automation can get better.

    For instance office 2003 does not have the reference function for bibliographies. Even to this day office does not handle the creation of error bars correctly, especially in pivot tables. The people who say office does everything just don't do anything. However, an even more common case I find is people do need office and they do not realize it. This is just basic ignorance. If I run around and ask people in my field if they use pivot tables, almost all say no, and they do not even know what pivot tables are. Well that messed up because in my field pivot tables are extremely useful and save tons of time.

    What microsoft really needs to do is drop a rep in local best buys and walmarts that helps people solve their problems. Have the rep teach people how to use the advanced features of office. And most importantly have that rep take feedback about what else can be added.

    BTW I gave OOo a try, and it was nice but in the end I still paid for office because it was that much better.
    Reply
  • A5 - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    If you're doing scientific research, you should probably be using a LaTeX editor of some kind. Word 2010 still struggles with bibliographies unless you use something like Endnote. Reply
  • damianrobertjones - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    They tell me: Are you currently using Windows 95 and Office XP? Reply
  • kylewat - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    In my opinion Office 2010 was the 'snow leopard' of Office. It wasn't a 'must' upgrade unless you use it often enough to see how much time it saves you. Most of the feature upgrades were minor, but they were really really good. I'm mostly talking about Excel (ie the Office Crown Jewel). Reply
  • evilspoons - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    When they say "all platforms" does this actually mean Office:mac is getting an update *at the same time* as Office for Windows?! Amazing! Reply
  • etamin - Tuesday, January 31, 2012 - link

    an upgrade that allows multiple instance of of Excel to be open at the same time, like for dual monitors. That would be nice. Reply
  • karocage - Wednesday, February 01, 2012 - link

    You can already do that. Just open it again from the start menu or right click it in the (Win7) taskbar and hit "Microsoft Excel 2010". Reply
  • somewho - Wednesday, February 01, 2012 - link

    Mid clicking works wonder too. Reply
  • larry6hi5 - Friday, February 10, 2012 - link

    That's freakin' awesome! I've been wanting to be able to run multiple instances of Excel for years.

    Leave it to Anandtech users to fill me in on this feature.
    Reply

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