If you've used the last few versions of Word, you'll know it's really hard to pinpoint exactly what's changed. Word might feel feature complete right now, but Microsoft isn't giving up on adding new and interesting features. This month, Microsoft is adding a new Researcher feature to Word. As the name implies, it's designed to make research paper writing a lot easier.
Researcher uses Microsoft's Bing Knowledge Graph to query content from the internet and then pull it straight into Word. Microsoft has a curated list of trusted sources and reference materials which the company plans to expand upon over time. If you add source material, it will even automatically create the citation in your bibliography as part of your research paper. If you're a student using Office 365 then Researcher is available immediately, and Microsoft is planning to bring the feature to mobile variants of Office in the future.
Word's new editor is your very own proofing service
Alongside Researcher, Microsoft is also introducing a new Word Editor feature. While Word has had grammar and spellcheck features for years, this new Editor feature is more of an advanced proofing service. Microsoft is using its machine learning skills to process content, and the Editor will suggest improving your writing by flagging words that are used too frequently. It's more of a style guide initially, but Word will start teaching you words or phrases later this year to improve your writing style. Spelling edits will still be underlined with a red squiggle, and grammar with a blue double underline, but writing style suggestions will get their own gold dotted line.
Elsewhere, Excel might not be getting any new features this month but Outlook and PowerPoint haven't been left behind. Outlook is getting the Focused Inbox feature typically found on the mobile version of the app. It works the same way, allowing you to move email into the other section and ensure all your important messages remain in the focused version of your inbox. Mentions using the "@" symbol are also arriving today, letting you flag people in emails. Microsoft is planning to bring mentions to Outlook for iOS, Android, and Windows 10 Mobile in the future, but they're available for the desktop PC and Mac versions of Outlook today.
PowerPoint got a really interesting Morph feature last year, and Microsoft is introducing a similar Zoom addition today. Zoom is designed to make presentations a little more engaging so you can present slides with the use of sections. It's really designed to let the audience know exactly how long is left in the presentation, with a clear view of what section is being covered. Microsoft is introducing Zoom to PowerPoint 2016 on Windows PCs today.