Microsoft is expanding its cloud capabilities even further with the addition of new features for Word, PowerPoint, and Outlook. The productivity suite now has a boat load of features which should make it easier to get work done.
The features allow you to proof and edit better in Word, prioritize emails, and deliver more dynamic presentations. Using the cloud, they add intelligent, evolving solutions.
Word has some of the biggest changes, foremost being “Editor.” Utilizing machine-based learning and input from Microsoft’s linguists, the new editing mode makes improving writing even more straightforward.
Rather than correcting just spelling mistakes and typos, the service will go one step further. It will help reduce redundancies, improve clarity and, most importantly, tell you why the changes are needed.
Microsoft has emphasized that as time goes on Editor’s capabilities will only expand. Initially, it will only give basic suggestions, but come fall, they will implement the more advanced features.
The other update adds a service called “Researcher.” The tool provides relevant suggestions for sources when writing a paper, ensuring they are credible and reliable.
You can search through relevant information right from the document, reducing the need for constant tabbing between programs. A correctly formatted citation is then only a click away, utilizing Bing Knowledge Graph.
Outlook has also received two major updates – focused inboxes and @mentions. The former comes from the mobile version of the application and automatically sorts your inbox into two tabs.
The most important emails are put into the “focused” tab, while the rest is separated into “Other.” As you shift emails from one tab to the other, it learns what type of content you prefer.
The new feature will roll out to the web client sometime this week, and will come to Office 365 customers in early September.
@mentions are exactly what they sound like. By typing “@person’s name” in an email their address will add automatically to the recipients, and their name will highlight in the email body.
You can now filter emails only to show ones with these tags, and the @symbol will show up near the subject line. The new addition is available on the web and for Office 365 Insiders now, with mobile support coming soon.
PowerPoint’s brand new “Zoom” feature lets you create interactive, non-linear presentations. You can now navigate in and out of any section without fumbling awkwardly past several slides.
Summary slides can be created at the beginning of each section. Interactive content can be added to them, linking sub-sections and videos for more intuitive navigation. The update is available for Office Insiders today.
These upgrades mark a huge change for the suite going forward. Microsoft has revealed that even more intelligence changes are in the works, and personally I can’t wait to see what else they dream up.
There is more detail on the Office 365 blog post.