Microsoft’s core Office apps now offer an even smoother experience on Apple’s new Macs with the M1 chip, thanks to the arrival of new versions that run natively on these machines. In a nutshell, Microsoft has optimized the core Office apps that include Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word for Apple’s latest M1-equipped MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and the Mac Mini. In addition to the speed boost, Microsoft has also tweaked the aesthetics of these apps to fall in line with the design language of macOS Big Sur, the latest iteration of Apple’s Mac operating system.
“We are excited to announce that starting today we are releasing new versions of many of our Microsoft 365 for Mac apps that run natively on Macs with M1. This means that now our core flagship Office apps—Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote—will run faster and take full advantage of the performance improvements on new Macs,” Microsoft said in a blog post. Microsoft says that the updated versions of the core Office apps will start rolling out today.
As for the Teams app, Microsoft says it still relies on the Rosetta 2 emulation layer to run on the new Macs with Apple’s own M1 chip. However, the software giant is currently at work to make its collaboration platform run natively on the M1 Macs.
The aforementioned Office apps also get a new feature called Tell Me, which is essentially a search box that allows users to perform a task by using natural language keywords, rather than writing syntax commands. Another useful trick that has arrived for Office on Macs is Data From Picture. It allows users to click pictures of a table on their iPhone and then turns it into an Excel sheet format that can be edited on Macs.
Microsoft says it is offering an updated Office Start experience that takes inspiration from the Fluent UI design system that retains the signature Microsoft design, but also aligns with the aesthetics of macOS. Additionally, the company is also adding support for iCloud accounts in the updated Outlook app for Mac, and it will go live in the coming weeks. iCloud integration in the Outlook app will allow users to access all their contacts, emails, and calendars in a single place.