Microsoft has clearly taken it upon itself to improve the language and English writing skills of its users, as is evident from these new updates that have just been announced for Microsoft Word, Outlook and PowerPoint tools.
The cloud-powered services will act as an ‘intelligent‘ guide to help users derive better utility from the tools and help them become more intelligent writers by not just correcting them but by identifying and fixing what they were doing ‘wrong’. The focus is not on ‘what’ users are doing wrong, but ‘why’ it is wrong in the first place.
This feature acts like a true blue editor, suggesting alternate sentences and words depending on wordiness, sentence structure, construction and grammatical erudition. Use of double negatives, slang and jargon, inconsistencies in hyphenation and passive voice will also be monitored and suggested corrections will be made. In fact, the Editor will also suggest changes to inconsistencies in ‘tone’, use of cliches and ‘non-inclusive language’.
In this sense, the feature has taken on quite a moral responsibility of not just refining language in itself but also the judgement involved in the use of language.
This feature, to be introduced along with ‘Editor’, will act as an additional research tool for users. It will help users find and add useful information from external sources to the text to increase its content value. The tool will not work like any average web search engine, but will only acquire relevant information from scholarly and academic sources.
So for example, with the Researcher, it will get a lot easier for users to add quotes from outside sources as well as generate ‘proper’ scholarly citations for use in their papers. The search will be generated in the right hand side of the Word document itself, will use the Bing Search graphs to pool in reliable and relevant information, and can be accessed in just one click.
Currently, Researcher is available on Office 2016 in Windows desktops, but only to those participating in the ‘Office Insider’ Program. It will soon be made available to Office 365.
Check out how both these features work in this video:
This feature is specifically for PowerPoint. It will allow users to jump to slides in a non-linear fashion, without worrying about chronology. So for example, during a Q&A session, the presenter can jump from the 15th slide to the first in an instant, without having to hit ‘Back’ or ‘Forward’ a number of times, just to get to the appropriate slide. Zoom may be incorporated in three ways, depending on the kind of content and volume of content on the slides.
This feature, for Outlook, will help to streamline important mails, while hiding less important or random mails into the ‘Other’ folder. While the feature works on the basis of analyzing user behaviour and trends, it also allows users to manually add contacts to the ‘Other’ list. Only available on Android and iOS until now, Focused Inbox will soon be added to Windows, Mac and also the web.