Microsoft says it wants users of Microsoft Word to have a more robust search experience when using the Office application. Specifically, a major overhaul of the app’s integrated search tool is in the works. Microsoft plans to draw more parallels with its web search experience.
When people use Microsoft Word in the future, their searchers will be handled more like a typical search performed on a web browser. According to Microsoft, users will be able to surface search results when they make an in-text error, like a typo.
Word will help by searching other related items. This behavior is similar to web search engines and is not currently available on the app. Next, Microsoft Word search will also group together forms of words.
When users input a search term, the app will also find other words related to the search term. Synonyms will allow users to see more results, and it will also work for multi-word searches.
“We’re utilizing well-established web search technologies, such as query and document understanding, and adding deep learning based natural language models. This allows us to handle a much broader set of search queries beyond exact match,” Microsoft says.
Microsoft also wants Word’s upcoming search update to allow users to input questions as search terms.
“With the recent breakthroughs in deep learning techniques, you can now go beyond the common search term-based queries. The result is answers to your questions based on the document content. This opens a whole new way of finding knowledge. When you’re looking at a water quality report, you can answer questions like ‘where does the city water originate from? How to reduce the amount of lead in water?’” Microsoft explains.
At the moment, all the planned changes are named as “coming soon” with no word on a specific launch date.