updated 11:15 pm EST, Tue March 6, 2012
Features taken from technical preview
Microsoft's upcoming Office 15 release has been exposed in yet another leak, shedding light on several of the new features. Sources with access to the company's technical preview have reported to The Verge details surrounding new touch-based interface navigation methods, a reading mode in Word, new chart analysis methods in Excel, and weather notifications in Outlook, among other features.
Read Mode strips away the editing interface in Word, enabling users to focus on the text flow that will be seen in the final document. The word processing utility has also been updated with collaboration improvements, quick shortcuts for zooming in on objects and pictures, and a touch mode that enlarges the ribbon and enables users to navigate through the document using touch gestures.
Excel is said to bring changes focused on visualizing large data sets, with a 'quick analysis' lens that provides access to various representation options. Other new features include simplified reformatting, interactive formatting tools, and new templates.
PowerPoint moves to 16:9 aspect ratio by default, making presentations fit with widescreen monitors and other displays. Users can also take charts directly from Excel worksheets, or transition through slides using touch input on tablets or touchscreen displays.
Outlook reportedly adds a weather bar that provides weather information when a user views event invites or create events. Multiple account support is said to be improved, while context commands are designed to simplify basic operations.
The company is also said to be enhancing OneNote for desktop machines, adding auto-updating file views and new sorting options for converting OneNote tables into spreadsheets.
Microsoft is expected to release a public beta sometime this summer, though an exact date has yet to be confirmed.