Software & Web Development

Microsoft cites samples of Touch Bar support slated for Mac Office

Microsoft yesterday provided several examples of how it will support Apple's new MacBook Pro's Touch Bar in its Office suite, but gave no timetable for the changes.

Kirk Koenigsbauer, who leads the Office 365 client applications team, used a company blog to offer several examples of how Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word in Office for Mac will support the Touch Bar.

"Through the Touch Bar, Office intelligently puts the most common commands at your fingertips — all based on what you're doing in the document," said Koenigsbauer. He then gave one or more samples for each application, many of which will be duplicates of commands available via keyboard shortcuts or menu selections.

For instance, in Excel, entering an equals sign will display the most recently used functions in the bar, while in Outlook, the bar will show the latest accessed documents to add as attachments to email messages.

The Touch Bar was the biggest part of Thursday's roll-out of new MacBook Pro notebooks. Placed above the top row of keys on the keyboard, the thin screen replaced the little-used function keys. The strip responds to Apple's library of gestures and adapts to the active application. At one end, Apple embedded a Touch ID fingerprint scanner for log-in authenticating and verifying online purchases.

Koenigsbauer did not signal when Touch Bar support would be added to Office for Mac 2016. In the past, Microsoft has taken several weeks to update Office to leverage new Mac hardware. Apple introduced Retina displays to the MacBook Pro in June 2012, for example; Microsoft updated Office for Mac 2011 in September 2012 to support the higher resolution.

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