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Microsoft officials have been tight-lipped about what the company plans to deliver in the next version of Office client for Windows, codenamed "Office 16."
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But a bit of information has begun to trickle out about what looks to be a private "technical preview" of the coming Office suite. This technical preview, which some inside Microsoft also are said to be dogfooding internally, is not the touch-first, Metro-Style version of Office for Windows that some of us Microsoft watchers have been calling "Gemini. " Instead, this is the preview of the next version of Office for "desktop" Windows PCs and devices.

Tom Warren at The Verge posted on September 18 screen shots that are believed to be from the Office 16 technical preview.

Based on those shots, it looks like Microsoft is adding its "Tell Me" tool that's already part of Office Online and Office for iPad to the coming version of Windows. "Tell Me" allows users to ask how to accomplish a task in Office without having to wade through documentation or hunting around within the Office Ribbon.

There's also an automatic image-rotation feature to help users correctly position images in Office documents, the screen shots indicate, as well as a new "black" theme option for Office users (in addition to the current light gray, dark gray and white themes).

But there are more changes coming beyond those indicated in the leaked screen shots, which could be of interest to business users in particular, sources say.