Ignite 2018: The return of Clippy? Microsoft introduces new AI-powered “Ideas” feature in Office

Laurent Giret

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Artificial intelligence was a big topic during Microsoft’s main Ignite 2018 keynote this morning, and the company unveiled a new AI-powered Ideas feature in Office that will provide you intelligent suggestions while you’re working on Office documents. The new capability is launching first in Excel today and will propagate “soon” to Powerpoint Online and other Office apps, the company said this morning.

Ideas will be accessible from a lighting bolt icon in Excel or Powerpoint, which will open the Ideas pane. In Excel, Ideas will be able to recognizes trends, suggests charts and surface other content that is relevant to what you’re working on. Similarly, Ideas will be able to recommend designs, layouts and images for your Powerpoint presentations.

“The Ideas engine simplifies the user experience and helps people save time performing everyday tasks,” Microsoft explained today. The new feature is a concrete example of how Microsoft can leverage AI to enhance its productivity apps, and in a way Ideals looks to be a supercharged version of Clippy, the infamous Office Assistant that was disappeared with Office 2007