Microsoft previews touch-enabled Office for Windows 10

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Microsoft previews touch-enabled Office for Windows 10
Excel for Windows 10 preview. Source: Microsoft.

First iteration of Universal Apps.

Microsoft has released an early technical preview of applications in its Office productivity suite that are touch-enabled and designed to run across smartphones and tablets as well as desktop computers.

Word, Excel and PowerPoint are included, but the Outlook email, calendaring and contact management application is missing from the Office technical preview released today.

The "Touch Office" apps for Windows 10 are built using Microsoft's Universal Apps technology, which Microsoft said will enable them to run on traditional desktop and laptop PCs, along with mobile devices.

Today's preview is only for the desktop version of Windows 10. Microsoft general manager for the Office product management team, Julia White, said the mobile variants of the productivity apps will appear "in the coming weeks".

Although Microsoft is pushing the Universal Apps line, it also intends to launch a PC-only Office 2016 suite with a keyboard and mouse driven user interface, towards the end of the year.

Users who have signed up for the Windows 10 preview program can download the Office apps from the Windows store beta.

At the time of writing however, an unspecified issue was preventing testers from accessing and downloading the Office apps. Microsoft said it was working on a fix for the problem.

Microsoft intends to allow vendors to bundle the Universal Office apps with smartphones and tablets with a screen size smaller than eight inches running Windows 10 for free.

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