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Microsoft Word Gains New Feature to Help Users Stay in a Productivity Zone

Microsoft Word now allows users to instruct the app to create automatic placeholders to pick up where they left off.


has debuted a new feature that aims to aid users in the “flow” of their work. Available now on the Office Insurance Program for Mac, the features allows users to track work across an Office document.

In an announcement blog post, Microsoft says distractions can hamper progress and being in the flow can create focus. With this in mind, new technology for Microsoft Word helps users avoid those distractions.

Many times, when users get distracted and need to come back to a document, picking up where they left off can be hard. Microsoft says its research shows Word users leave placeholders in a document to remind them where they are.

With the new feature, Microsoft Word users can type instructions and the app will automatically create a list of activities that are left to complete. Microsoft offers an example instruction of: TODO: finish this section or TODO: <.

When returning to the document, a list of remaining to-dos will appear. These are all presented as links that can be clicked to navigate to the exact spot in the document.

“Word sends them a notification with a “deep link” to the relevant place in the document. Soon, they'll be able to reply to the notification with their contributions, and those contributions will be inserted directly into the document—making it easy to complete the task with an email from any device.”

Future Release

Microsoft will eventually integrate with artificial intelligence models to help fill in placeholders. Microsoft says users will also be able to reply to notifications, so they can complete a task through email across devices.

As mentioned, the feature is currently in testing on Microsoft Word for Office on Mac preview. This is still a Fast Ring release so is still some way off reaching all users. Microsoft does say the feature will come to on Windows, Mac, and web in the near future.

Luke Jones
Luke Jones
Luke has been writing about all things tech for more than five years. He is following Microsoft closely to bring you the latest news about Windows, Office, Azure, Skype, HoloLens and all the rest of their products.

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