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Microsoft is introducing new features that will make its Office 365 apps smarter

By midian182
Jul 26, 2016
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  1. Microsoft has announced a series of small but helpful updates to some of its Office 365 productivity software. The new smart features will arrive in its Word, Powerpoint, and Outlook applications.

    Word will be getting two new functions: Researcher and Editor. Researcher, which is aimed at students writing research papers, uses a side panel next to the main document and is designed to gather information from outside sources. It leverages the Bing Knowledge Graph to provide appropriate and credible information from the web, and can automatically add academic citations. As this feature is a service, more sources will be added over time, including well-known encyclopedias, national science and health centers, and history databases.

    The second new Word feature, Editor, offers hints and tips on how to improve writing. The system uses machine learning and natural language processing to flag issues such as wordiness, passive voice, cliches, and unclear phrases.

    Editor will also overhaul Word’s visual clues to highlight spelling errors (red squiggle), grammar issues (blue squiggle) and writing style queries (gold dotted line). The service will improve over time and explain exactly why words or phrases may not be accurate.

    Away from Word, Microsoft is adding a new feature to PowerPoint. ‘Zoom’ lets users create an interactive summary slide, allowing them to change the order of a slideshow by jumping directly to any slide/section.

    Finally, Outlook’s Focused Inbox feature, which had only been available on the mobile version of the email application, will be coming to Windows, Mac, and Outlook on the Web. It separates an inbox into two tabs, Focused and Other, sorting the messages into “stuff you should care about” and “everything else.” Microsoft is also activating the @mentions feature, which helps get recipients' attention, on Windows and Mac (it’s already available for Outlook on the Web).

    Researcher, Focused Inbox and PowerPoint Zoom should arrive this month, but Office Insiders will be the first to try them out. The first part of Editor launches next month, with more updates added over the rest of the year. All the features are for Office 365 subscribers only.

    Image credit: dennizn / Shutterstock

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  2. bmw95

    bmw95 TS Addict Posts: 104   +51

    The moment I saw Bing I stopped reading lol
     
    Reehahs, MoeJoe and psycros like this.
  3. psycros

    psycros TS Evangelist Posts: 1,323   +710

    Bing has come a long way just in the last two years. Its nearly as good as Google now and there are aspects of its UI that are interesting, although it markets you hard with Microsoft's products and services. If you don't mind having the NSA viewing every search you perform its not a bad alternative. As for myself I pretty much stick to Startpage.com and similar anonymous services.
     
  4. Evernessince

    Evernessince TS Evangelist Posts: 1,177   +578

    Microsoft is just as in bed with the NSA as google is. Microsoft has always been a force customer first company and I'm sure their continued push to the cloud will only worsen data leaks.
     
  5. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,149   +1,424

    Another Clippy.
     
  6. davislane1

    davislane1 TS Evangelist Posts: 3,547   +2,346

    This. I actually find myself using Bing over Google for any search that isn't about website rankings.

    Startpage is where it's at if you don't want trench coats [redacted].
     
  7. toooooot

    toooooot TS Enthusiast Posts: 29   +7

    Buy a new laptop. Delete office 365. Buy a questionable office 2013 key from ebay. Profit.
    But seriously, who the heck uses it? It is so unreasonably expensive. With so few changes and features, why not buy one that can easily last for years and costs way less overall?
     
  8. Raoul Duke

    Raoul Duke TS Guru Posts: 930   +354

    How can it be smarter when it wasn't smart to begin with? Maybe more convenient, useful, etc. I know I quibble about words, but the computer is dumb, it is the programmers and the engineers/designers that are smart.
     

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