Microsoft today launched a brand new, power packed update for the Word, PowerPoint and Outlook tools. While updates to the Office suite are not uncommon, the recent update is significant for introducing a new set of cloud-powered intelligent services to the Office apps. Let’s take a quick peek into what the Redmond based giant has cooked up for its users.
Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president for the Office team, said
This month, we are releasing a new set of cloud-powered intelligent services in Office apps designed to save you time and produce better results. These features help you improve your writing in Word, deliver dynamic presentations in PowerPoint and prioritize the emails that matter most to you in Outlook.
Okay, so let’s break it down by individual application.
Goodbye Copy Paste, Hello Researcher:
First up is Researcher, a brand new tool on word that is like your very own, personal Butler with a Harvard doctorate. The tool helps you find and incorporate reliable sources and content for your paper and add it, along with the accompanying citation, to the document within a matter of seconds. Users can also deploy the Bing Knowledge Graph to pull in the appropriate content from sources around the web that include Journals, encyclopedias, databases and so on.
The service is available starting today for Office 365 insiders using Word 2016 on Windows desktops. Meanwhile, subscribers will also receive it in a few days. The company is planning to introduce the Researcher to mobile devices pretty soon too, so that users can work on preparing their papers while deploying the Researcher tool, even if they don’t have access to a personal computer at the moment.
Needless to say, the tool should cut down and hopefully improve upon, the results obtained from the age-old practice of using copy-past copiously while preparing a report or similar document. Also, although the tool would be extremely useful while preparing a particular document, you can just as easily use it to research for the novel you are writing.
Word Gets Its Very Own Editor:
Apart for Researcher, Microsoft is also giving users access to their very own Editor tool. Similar to the former, the Editor brings a new dimension to the routine spelling and grammar checks, by mixing it with machine learning, natural language processing and inputs from Microsoft’s own team of linguists to create a sparkling cocktail of precise, accurate and correct prose, poetry or paragraph.
Again, since Editor is based on the clouds, it will keep developing with time while also adjusting itself to your particular needs and requirements.
This fall, it will expand upon Word’s current spelling and grammar tools to inform you why words or phrases may not be accurate—teaching at the same time it is correcting.
Effectively telling you why something is wrong. Also — and folks, I never imagined i’d ever say something like this —the squiggles are diversifying!
Yup, the red visual cues that told you when there was something wrong with your grammar or spelling, will now be able to tell you exactly what is wrong at a single glance. With Editor, you will have different color codes — spelling (red squiggle), grammar (blue double underline) or writing style (gold dotted line) — outlining each error that occurs.
Microsoft Outlook Gets Mentions, What?
Yup, Microsoft’s email tool is receiving @mentions rather like how things happen on social networking platforms such as Twitter and Linkedin. You can flag someone by just typing the @ symbol in the body of the email and choosing the desired person. Their name will automatically be highlighted in the email and their email address will be automatically added to the To: line.
Although, I would advice some caution with the tool. You don’t want to accidentally flag you boss in an email in a candid conversation between and your best at work buddy. The feature is now available to all Office Insiders using Outlook 2016 on Windows and Mac.
Also, if you are mentioned in an email using the flag feature, the @ symbol will show up in Outlook, and you can filter it and quickly find all emails where your name has been mentioned. Your name is also highlighted in blue in the emails ensuring that you can find whatever you need, quickly.
Outlook is also getting access to Focused Tabs. The feature has been already available in Outlook on iOS and Android, however, its only now that it is making its way to Outlook on Windows, Mac and Outlook on the web.
It automatically separates your inbox into two tabs. Emails that matter most to you are in the “Focused” tab, while the rest remain easily accessible—but out of the way in the “Other” tab.
The final feature in Microsoft’s July update is “Zoom” for Microsoft Powerpoint. The service will let you easily create interactive presentations on the go. Some of the most important features of Zoom, are as follows:
- Smooth, effortless navigation in and out of any slide or section.
- Present your slides in whatever order makes sense without exiting slide show mode.
- Editing and preparing presentations on the fly.
The second feature is particularly useful as it lets you quickly adjust slides to be compatible with another sort of audiences. Meanwhile, the update builds upon the Designer and Morph features Microsoft released earlier this year to help anyone create wonderful presentations with just a few clicks.