Office 365 added new intelligence services, more in February

Laurent Giret

As February is coming to a close, the Office team has just published a recap of all the new features that have been introduced in the Office apps this month. Many of these new capabilities are leveraging Microsoft’s cloud-powered intelligence services, and the company claims that they will “get better each month as we deliver continued innovation and further tune our intelligent recommendations as more people use them.”

First of all, QuickStarter is now available in PowerPoint on Windows desktops for Office Insiders on the Fast Ring. This feature makes it easier get started with your presentations by providing you curated content about the topic of your choice. “Simply type in your topic and QuickStarter gets you going with a curated outline, recommendations on what categories to include, information to research further, and associated images tagged with Creative Commons licenses,” explained the Office team.

Office 365 news in February 1

Office Insiders can also try the new Editor pane in Word on Windows desktops: this feature replaces the Spelling & Grammar pane and works as a digital writing assistant, with many tools designed to help you improve your writing style. The new pane has also been designed to be accessible for the visually impaired, which is always worth mentioning.

Word Editor pane
The new Editor Pane in Word for Windows desktop.

For those who use Apple’s latest MacBook Pros, Microsoft has also brought support for the Touch Bar in Word, Excel and Powerpoint this month. “The most common commands are intelligently placed at your fingertips based on what you’re doing in the document, spreadsheet or presentation,” explained the Office team. Touch Bar support is coming “soon” in Outlook for Mac, the team added.

Office Mac Touchbar
Word, Excel and Powerpoint now support the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar.

Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana can also create suggested reminders based on things you said in your emails. For now, this feature is only available for Windows 10 and Windows 10 Mobile users in the US: to enable it, you’ll have to add your account or Office 365 account in your Cortana connected services. The Office team added that support for iOS, Android and other email services is coming soon.

Lastly, Microsoft made three security-related announcements this month. The first one was Office 365 Secure score, a new security analytics tool that is now available to commercial customers. Second is Office 365 Threat Intelligence, which uses the Microsoft Intelligent Security Graph to help customers stay ahead of cyber threats will be generally available later this quarter. Lastly, customers can also register for the limited preview of Office 365 Advanced Data Governance, a new tool that leverages machine learning to help them manage their most important data. You can learn more about these three security announcements in this dedicated blog post.