let’s dive into the new features in the 4 core apps:
Microsoft Office 2019 PowerPoint Features
When it comes to presentations, PowerPoint remains the king of presentation software. And with the release of PowerPoint 2019 further cements itself as the presentation software to beat. Now, both the Windows and Mac versions get much-awaited updates. As usual, however, the Windows version still has a slight edge over the Mac version, especially with the new digital ink features. Without further ado, here are the top new features and updates in Microsoft Office 2019 PowerPoint:
- Morph transition (Windows | Mac). One of the coolest features in the new PowerPoint is the Morph transition. Creating seamless-looking animation no longer needs to be so complicated. With just a few clicks (and some good planning ahead of time), you can achieve your desired effect quickly. For a quick peek at where this new feature is, click on the Transitions tab, then select Morph. If you want to know more, I wrote a detailed tutorial on using the Morph transition here: Everything You Need To Know About PowerPoint’s Morph And Zoom Features.
- Zoom for PowerPoint (Windows only). Zoom is one of my favourite features in Office 365, and I’m pleased to see it included in Microsoft office2019 PowerPoint. With Zoom, you’re not limited to linearly presenting your slides. You can jump from one section to another, from slide 5 to 10 to 3 to 6, and so on. You can try out this feature by going to Insert > Zoom. Unfortunately, it’s not available on PowerPoint 2019 for Mac.
- Insert 3D models to see all angles (Windows | Mac). Inserting 3D models onto your presentation slide is now effortless. Click on Insert, then go to 3D Models, then choose either ‘From a file’ or ‘From Online Sources.’ Their online source is Remix 3D, an online community with a large collection of free 3D models.
- Vector graphics for visual impact (Windows | Mac). Inserting and editing SVG files like icons and logos is now possible on the latest version of PowerPoint. To add icons, click Insert > Icons if you want to utilize Microsoft’s free icons database. Alternatively, if you want to upload an SVG file from another source, you can click on Insert > Pictures and select your image source from the list.
- Convert SVG icons to shapes (Windows only). An SVG icon is made up of different elements or shapes. If you only want to use one or two elements and delete the rest, you can do this by clicking on the SVG icon you want to convert. This will open up the Graphics Tools. Click on the ‘Convert to Shape’ button.
- Easier background removal (Windows only). You can remove image backgrounds on Mac, but the Windows version of PowerPoint makes it a much simpler process. Microsoft has made the background removal feature more intuitive, and the marking pencil can now draw free-form lines. You can try out this feature by inserting a photo and then clicking on Remove Background in the Picture Tools.
- Export to 4K (Windows only). Ultra HD or 4k is fast becoming the norm in video nowadays. If you’re planning on showing your PowerPoint presentation on a 4K monitor, then I’ve got some good news for you. You can easily export your presentation to 4K by going to File > Export > Create a Video > Ultra HD (4K).
- Recording features (Windows | Mac). You can record your slide show on both Windows and Mac, but the Windows version has a few more perks that aren’t available on Mac. For instance, you can add a Recording tab by customizing your PowerPoint ribbon (go to File > Options > Customize Ribbon > tick the Recording box). You then have easy access to all Recording features in one place. Here’s what it looks like:
Microsoft Office 2019 Word Features
Both Mac and Windows get an upgrade, but not all new features are available on both platforms.
Here’s summary of what’s new in Word 2019 for both Mac and Windows:
- Collaborate in Word and see others’ changes in real-time (Windows | Mac). This super cool feature works great on both Mac and Windows. All you need to do is click on the Share button on the upper right-hand corner, upload the file to One Drive or SharePoint, and send it to your colleagues. Make sure you tick the ‘Allow editing’ box if you want your colleagues to edit your file. You’ll be able to see real-time edits as they happen on your document. You’ll know exactly who’s editing which part of the document, too.
- Break the language barrier with Microsoft Translator (Windows | Mac). You no longer need to go to Google Translate to understand the foreign texts you’re reading. With Word 2019, you can click the Review tab and hit the Translate button. You’ve got 2 options: you can (1) translate some selected text, or (2) you can translate your entire document. Once you click on Translate, the Translator sidebar will pop-up. In the screenshot below, you can see that I translated a selection of text from English to Japanese (just a random choice). If you understand Japanese, give the translated text a read and see if it makes sense!
- Improve your reading skills with the new Learning Tools feature (Windows | Mac). Learning Tools is great for those who want to improve their reading skills. To activate this feature, go to View, then click on Learning Tools. You’ll then see a tab for Learning Tools, like this:
You can adjust the Column Width to make it as narrow or as wide as you want. Adjust the Page Color to make the text easier on your eyes. You can choose between Sepia and Inverse (this basically turns your document into a white-text-on-black-background document).
. Draw and write with your digital pen (Windows | Mac).
If you’ve got a touchscreen device, the Draw tab will be accessible to you. However, if you’re on a non-touchscreen computer (like a Macbook, for instance), the options on the Draw tab won’t be clickable like you see below:
What’s interesting, though, is I’m running Windows 10 on my computer using the Parallels Desktop software, and I’m able to access the Draw menu on Microsoft Office Word 2019 for Windows! Well, the ‘Draw with Touch’ button is greyed out, but I can play around with the pens and other tools.
- Use LaTeX syntax in your equations (Windows only). For students and educators who’ve been clamouring for the inclusion of LaTeX Math Equation syntax, this one’s for you. Unfortunately, you need to be on Windows to access this feature. Mac users need to wait a bit longer for LaTeX support to appear on their version of Word.
To use LaTeX, go to Insert > Equation. This will then open up the Equation Tools tab. You’ll see the LaTeX input button in the Conversions section:
- Add icons and SVGs (Windows |Mac). Using pixelated icons, logos, and other similar graphics on your Word documents are a thing of the past. With SVG (scalable vector graphics) support, you can now insert SVG files and resize them to any size you want without worrying about turning them into a bunch of unsightly pixels. Additionally, if you’ve got an Internet connection, you can easily download icons directly in Word. Go to Insert > Icons, and you’ll be able to access hundreds of free icons right away. You’ll see something like this on your screen:
- Get all the angles with 3D images (Windows | Mac). Inserting a 3D model to your Word documents is as easy as hitting the Insert button, then clicking 3D Models. You can either insert from a local file or you can search online via Remix 3D.
- Remove distractions with Focus mode (Mac only). In my opinion, Windows users are missing out big time with the lack of Focus Mode on their version of Word. If you write a lot and you want to avoid the plethora of distractions on your screen, then turning on Focus Mode is an awesome solution. The ability to change your background is a nice addition too, though you need to be on Print Layout view to access the different background options.
- Fix accessibility issues with one click (Windows | Mac). If you don’t want to exclude people with disabilities from accessing your entire document, then you should find and fix these issues before you share your document. Click on Review > Check Accessibility to find out if you need to fix anything. I checked this very document you’re reading right now and look what it gave me:
As you can see, I’ve got quite a few accessibility issues I need to fix. The Why Fix? and Steps To Fix sections at the bottom are really helpful, so you should check it out if you’re not sure why you need to fix something. Then do the necessary changes to your document.
Microsoft Office 2019 Excel Features
In the 2019 version of Excel, Microsoft has done a great job at improving an already powerful software. There are a lot of new features and updates. However, most of these are available on the Windows version only.
So, I’ve divided this section into a list of common features in both Mac and Windows versions, and in the second half, I’ll be going through the latest improvements in the Windows version of Excel.
- Enhanced visuals. Inserting SVG files into your Excel file is a painless process on both Windows and Mac. However, the ability to convert your SVG graphic to shapes is only available on Windows.
- Ink improvements. Ink support on Windows is, by far, superior to on Macs. For instance, you get 8 new ink effects, a digital pencil texture effect, a customizable and portable pen set. You can also add ink equations, convert ink to shape or math, replay your ink drawings, and more. Lastly, if you have a Surface device, you can use the Surface pen to select, move, resize, rotate and change objects.
- Sharing is easier. The ability to insert recent links, view and restore changes in workbooks shared, and quickly save to recent folders has now been added to MS Office Excel 2019.
- PivotTable enhancements. The already awesome PivotTable function is now even more powerful with multiple usability improvements. You can now personalize and set up a PivotTable exactly the way you like it. Relationship detection is now automatic so that you can make insights quickly. You can create, edit, and delete custom measures so you can save a lot of time. You can search in the PivotTable and a whole lot more!
- Power Pivot updates. If you use Excel for its data analysis and data modelling capabilities, then you’re going to love Excel 2019. Microsoft has done several fixes that will improve your overall user experience.
- Publish to Power BI. If you have a Power BI subscription, then you’ll appreciate this new feature. With a simple click on a button, you can publish files to Power BI. Here’s a screenshot:
- General improvements to Ms Office Excel 2019. You now have more options to personalize your copy of Excel. You can choose from 4 different themes: Colorful, Dark Gray, Black, and White. If you frequently use superscripts and subscripts, you can now add these commands to your Quick Access Toolbar. When saving CSV files, you’ll no longer get that annoying pop-up reminding you that some features may not be compatible with CSV. You can also now save files in CSV UTF-8 format.
Microsoft Office 2019 OneNote Features
With the 2019 version of Microsoft Office, OneNote gets a significant update. Currently, there are two desktop versions of this software: OneNote that comes pre-installed on Windows 10 and OneNote 2016.
It’s easy to feel confused if you’re new to the OneNote world. However, with Office 2019, OneNote for Windows 10 will be the default version for both Microsoft Office 2019 customers and Office 365 subscribers.
It’s less confusing for Mac users, though – the OneNote 2019 Mac app will only unlock stickers. For Office 365 subscribers on Mac, you’ll get the same stickers, but you’ll also automatically receive any future updates.