Microsoft launches new time-saving features for Word, Outlook and PowerPoint users

Office desktop
Office desktop (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft has announced a number of new features for its Windows Office 365 desktop users. They include adding new research and editing features for Word, Focused Inbox in Outlook and Zoom in PowerPoint.

For Word power users, the new Research feature offers a faster way to find and incorporate reliable sources for papers. Microsoft stated (opens in new tab):

Right within your Word document you can explore material related to your topic and add it—and its properly-formatted citation—in one click. Researcher uses the Bing Knowledge Graph to pull in the appropriate content from the web and provide structured, safe and credible information.

For those of use who need help finalizing papers and documents, the new Editor feature in Word will be a big help:

Leveraging machine learning and natural language processing—mixed with input from our own team of linguists—Editor makes suggestions to help you improve your writing. Initially, it will help you simplify and streamline written communications by flagging unclear phrases or complex words, such as recommending "most" in place of "the majority of." As a cloud-based service, Editor will get better with time. This fall, it will expand upon Word's current spelling and grammar tools to inform you why words or phrases may not be accurate—teaching at the same time it is correcting. In the same release, Editor will overhaul Word's visual proofing cues so you can distinguish at a glance between edits for spelling (red squiggle), grammar (blue double underline) or writing style (gold dotted line).

The Focused Inbox in Outlook, which was first made available for iOS and Android users, is now available for Windows, Mac and on

Focused Inbox helps you focus on the emails that matter most to you, as it automatically separates your inbox into two tabs. Emails that matter most to you are in the "Focused" tab, while the rest remain easily accessible—but out of the way in the "Other" tab. As you move email in or out of your Focused Inbox, Outlook's intelligence learns from your behavior to become even more tailored to your priorities going forward.

Also, users, along with Windows and Mac Office Insiders, can now access @mentions on Outlook, with plans to make it available on iOS, Android and Windows 10 Mobile in the future. It is designed to quickly find emails that need attention:

To flag someone, just type the @ symbol in the body of the email and pick the desired person. Their name will automatically be highlighted in the email and their email address automatically added to the To: line. If you are mentioned, the @ symbol will show up in Outlook, and you can filter to quickly find all emails where you are mentioned. Within the emails, your name is highlighted in blue, helping you find where you've been flagged.

Finally, PowerPoint Office Insider users can try out Zoom, which offers a way to make interactive presentations:

Captivate your audience with smooth, effortless navigation in and out of any slide or section, starting from a single interactive summary slide. Present your slides in whatever order makes sense based on your audience, without exiting slide show mode and interrupting the flow.

John Callaham
  • Looks like it has Sway feature.
  • Windows Central devs, please consider supporting full screening of YouTube videos in the app, similar to how the engadget app does it...
  • Good news!
  • Super awesome! Thank you! Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Sometimes when I see how good Office 365 is with all the great features, I just wonder why people are not on this platform yet. Very good one Microsoft!
  • Impressive!
  • Is there the focused inbox on W10M for Office 365 subscribers? I miss that, coming from Android... (not O365 subscriber yet but very likely in the near future)
  • No we don't have focused inbox on w10m.
  • Sad, I hope it's coming. It's not a must have but it's a very good feature that you appreciate once you get used to it.
  • What is it? (alas don't have time to read entire article & any linked content) TY!
  • Focused inbox puts your messages assessed as important (usually the ones from real people instead of newsletters, etc) into a virtual "focused" inbox. All other emails are in "other". When you receive an email, you can configure it by setting for example all future messages from to go to focused.
    It allows you to check only the focused inbox first and quickly see the important messages. After you can have a look at the "other" inbox, where you'll find all the newsletters, ads, emaila from unknown people, etc
  • You legend, thanks!
  • Mail for W10 really needs a lot of features. My biggest complaint is lack of categories.
  • That wasn't a Windows Phone in the first video...was it?
  • Looks like PowerPoint just grabbed Prezi's main advantage!
  • These are great additions. Some thoughts:  I don't write a ton of papers anymore, but this might make it even easier to quote in a blog article if you have all of the citations available like that.  I could leave the bibliography in there to look smarter. I wonder if there's a way to change the behavior to just put "Source" after the quote and make it a link to the original content. Zoom seems like it's borrowing from Microsoft's own Sway and/or Prezi.  I like it! I do wish that Focus was on Windows Phone first, but this is the new iDroid obsessed Microsoft.
  • When will this be rolling out? I haven't been upgraded to the new yet.
  • I just got it today :-).... It's already rolled out to the desktop apps for users with an Office 365 subscription.  The new was said in a previous article to be rolled out to everyone by end of summer.
  • I have Office 365 and I'm not seeing it on my desktop. :/
  • Mmm. The Editor and research thingie sound awesome. Will be great help
  • There was already an add-on called ppt plex that makes the Prezi effect from PowerPoint