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 prioritise the emails that matter most to you in Outlook.
Introducing Researcher—accessing credible sources and cited content just got easier
Researcher is a new service in Word that helps you find and incorporate reliable sources and content for your paper in fewer steps. Right within your Word document you can explore material related to your topic and add it—and its properly-formatted citation—in one click. Researcher uses the Bing Knowledge Graph to pull in the appropriate content from the web and provide structured, safe and credible information.
We’ll continue expanding Researcher’s body of reference materials to also include sources like national science and health centres, well-known encyclopaedias, history databases and more. We’ll also soon bring Researcher to mobile devices so you can start creating a quick outline for that term paper no matter where you are or what device you’re using. Researcher is available today for Office 365 subscribers using Word 2016 on Windows desktops.
Introducing Editor—your new digital writing assistant
While Researcher helps you start a paper, Editor assists you with the finishing touches by providing an advanced proofing and editing service. Leveraging machine learning and natural language processing—mixed with input from our own team of linguists—Editor makes suggestions to help you improve your writing. Initially, it will help you simplify and streamline written communications by flagging unclear phrases or complex words, such as recommending “most” in place of “the majority of.”
Editor will start with writing style suggestions to improve clarity, and expand over time.
As a cloud-based service, Editor will get better with time. 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. In the same release, Editor will overhaul Word’s visual proofing cues so you can distinguish at a glance between edits for spelling (red squiggle), grammar (blue double underline) or writing style (gold dotted line). Stay tuned for these and other updates to Editor.
Editor will provide context on why certain words or phrases may be incorrect.
Focus on what matters in Outlook with Focused Inbox and @mentions
Two updates to Outlook this month help you work smarter and take control of your email. Customers love using Focused Inbox in Outlook on iOS and Android. Now we’re rolling it out to Outlook on Windows, Mac and Outlook on the web. Focused Inbox helps you focus on the emails that matter most to you, as 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. As you move email in or out of your Focused Inbox, Outlook’s intelligence learns from your behaviour to become even more tailored to your priorities going forward.
This release on desktops and web means you now have one, consistent view of the important items in your inbox across all your devices. Read today’s Outlook blog for more details on Focused Inbox, including timelines and what to expect if you currently use Clutter.
We’re also bringing @mentions to Outlook on Windows and Mac for Office 365 subscribers, making it easy to identify emails that need your attention, as well as flag actions for others. To flag someone, just type the @ symbol in the body of the email and pick the desired person. Their name will automatically be highlighted in the email and their email address automatically added to the To: line. If you are mentioned, the @ symbol will show up in Outlook, and you can filter to quickly find all emails where you are mentioned. Within the emails, your name is highlighted in blue, helping you find where you’ve been flagged. @mentions are available today for Office Insiders using Outlook 2016 on Windows and Mac. They’re already available in Outlook on the web and are coming soon for Outlook for iOS, Android and Windows 10 Mobile.
The continued evolution of PowerPoint—introducing Zoom
In November, we introduced PowerPoint Designer and Morph, helping anyone create polished slides and captivating motion with just a few clicks. Today, we’re excited to introduce Zoom, which lets you easily create interactive, non-linear presentations. Captivate your audience with smooth, effortless navigation in and out of any slide or section, starting from a single interactive summary slide. Present your slides in whatever order makes sense based on your audience, without exiting slide show mode and interrupting the flow. Office Insiders using PowerPoint 2016 on Windows desktops can now incorporate Zoom in three easy ways to build summary slides, depending on the depth of content and your use of sections. For example, a Summary Zoom for a presentation that has dedicated sections, or a Slide Zoom for a deck that has a few slides.
We’ll continue building more intelligence into Office apps, as well as expanding the capabilities announced today. Read about additional Office 365 updates this month at: Office 2016 | Office for Mac | Office Mobile for Windows | Office for iPhone and iPad | Office on Android. If you’re an Office 365 Home or Personal customer, be sure to sign up for Office Insider to be the first to use the latest and greatest in Office productivity. Commercial customers on both Current Channel and Deferred Channel can also get early access to a fully supported build through First Release. Thanks for your continued feedback and support!
Article by Kirk Koenigsbauer, corporate vice president Microsoft Office