(Credit: Lance Whitney)

Microsoft has created a new app that should prove helpful to all users of its Office suite.

SEE: Pay for Microsoft Office or Find the Best Free Office Alternatives

Due to roll out soon to all Windows 10 users, the free app known simply as Office provides a gateway through which you can access and open all your Microsoft Office programs and files. The app is aimed at people who subscribe to Office 365, own Office 2019 or Office 2016, or use the free Web-based Office Online. From the app's home screen, you can launch any program in the Office suite, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook and OneDrive. You can see and open any recent documents, create new documents and files, install Microsoft Office and view your Office 365 account information.

Microsoft Office has gotten a bit more complicated over the years in that it's available as a subscription, a one-time purchase, a free online suite, and a series of mobile apps. As such, Office users may not always know how or where to access their applications and files. The Office app is an attempt to provide a one-stop shop where you can work with and manage Microsoft Office no matter how you use or own it.

The Office app is essentially a software-based version of Microsoft's site, which provides the same type of fast access to the Office suite and your recent files. The new app also is an update to the current Windows 10 app called My Office. But the Office app offers a cleaner and simpler look as well as quicker access to certain documents. Beyond seeing your recent files, you can find ones that you've pinned and ones that have been shared with you by other people. Select a specific program such as Word and you can open recent documents, create a blank new document, or build a document based on a template.

"The Office app will replace the My Office app, which currently helps users manage their Office 365 subscriptions," Microsoft said in a blog post. "If you already have the My Office app, you will get the new Office app through an automatic update in the coming months. Otherwise, you can download it from the Microsoft Store. Starting this summer, new Windows 10 devices will come with the Office app already installed--making it easier than ever to start using Office on a new PC."

To try out the Office app ahead of schedule, make sure you're running the latest Windows 10 Insider Preview Build. Then, just click on the Start button, scroll down the Apps list, and select the shortcut for Office.

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  1. The new Office app provides a gateway to all your Microsoft Office applications and files.
  2. The Office app will roll out to Windows 10 users in the coming months and is now available in the latest Windows 10 Insiders Build.

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Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books - "Windows 8 Five Minutes at a Time" and "Teach Yourself VISUALLY LinkedIn."