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Office 365 receives intelligent services with its latest update

Microsoft has decided to bring a slew of new intelligent services to Office 365 and Outlook in its latest July update. From today, these new cloud-powered intelligent services will help users save time and produce better content in Office 365.

The first of which is a new service in Word called Researcher that will enable users to search for and incorporate reliable sources right into their documents. From within the program itself, it will be possible to explore material related to a topic and add it along with properly formatted citations to any document. Researcher makes use of the Bing Knowledge Graph to gather appropriate content from the internet and immediately add it to any project in Word.

Microsoft will also be adding a new digital writing assistant called Editor to Office 365. Researcher will help users complete the groundwork of collecting ideas and topics while Editor will assist with putting the finishing touches on a document. This new intelligent feature will offer advanced proofreading and editing recommendations. Editor is able to achieve this by using machine learning, natural language processing and input from Microsoft's team of linguists.

Editor will also make suggestions to help users improve their writing by flagging unclear phrases and overly complex words. Microsoft gave the example of recommending “most” in place of “the majority of” to help simplify a set of instructions.

Since the service is cloud-based, it will improve over time and the company plans on adding to Word's current spelling and grammar tools to explain to Office 365 users why their words or phrases may not be as accurate at getting their ideas across as they thought.

Outlook will also be receiving two updates this month that will aid users in working smarter and managing their inboxes better. Focused inbox will be making its way from the mobile version of Outlook to PC, Mac and Outlook on the web. This feature is designed around helping users to be aware of the emails that matter most to them.

Microsoft's email client will also now support @mentions which will make it easier to identify emails that are in need of immediate action. Users will also be able to flag any of their contacts in an email by typing the @ symbol and their name.

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Anthony Spadafora
After living and working in South Korea for seven years, Anthony now resides in Houston, Texas where he writes about a variety of technology topics for ITProPortal.