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Microsoft wants to make Apple’s MacBook Touch Bar even better

If you thought Apple’s OLED Touch Bar on the new MacBook Pro is cool already, you’ll be pleased to here it’s getting even better.

Microsoft is now testing a beta version of OLED Touch Bar support for the Mac version of its Office 2016 software suite. If you’re enrolled in the Office Insider program, you’ll soon see support enabled in version 15.31. The addition of Touch Bar support was actually announced back in October, but you’re only able to try it out now.

The Touch Bar support will work across Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Outlook, and is available to test for free now – there’s no charge to become an Office Insider.

For the unaware, the Touch Bar is a thin touchscreen OLED display that replaces the top row of function keys on a MacBook keyboard. The Touch Bar will adjust depending on the software you’re using; if you’re in Spotify then music playback controls like ‘Play’ and ‘Pause’ will show up. Load Photoshop and you’ll be greeted with photo-editing tools instead.

touch bar

We gave the Touch Bar MacBook a 4.5/5 score in our review, praising its outstanding design and build, high-quality screen, and great performance. We were generally impressed with the Touch Bar initially, but in our long-term review, we found that it still didn’t feel particularly useful:

“Sadly, I have yet to be fully impressed by a Touch Bar app, and I rarely find myself using it,” wrote Max Parker, our Mobile Editor. “Much of this is a result of the rules that Apple has in place.”

He continued: “Take Spotify, for example; ideally, I’d like to keep my music controls visible on the Touch Bar at all times, no matter the app I’m in, but this isn’t possible. Instead, Spotify simply displays a few controls when I’m in the app; the same controls that are visible on the actual display. It feels a bit forced, and a little bit pointless.”

If you’d rather not try the beta version of Microsoft’s Office Touch Bar support, it’s likely that the software will roll out for general users in the coming months.

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What do you think of Apple’s MacBook Touch Bar? Let us know in the comments.

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