New Microsoft Word feature will use AI to offer 'inclusive' language suggestions

What you need to know

  • "Ideas in Word" to launch in Word Online this fall.
  • The feature will suggest gender "inclusive" language edits.
  • Backed by AI to make your prose more concise and easier to digest.
  • From $50 at Amazon (opens in new tab) - Office 365 Personal

As part of its Build 2019 announcements last week, Microsoft announced a new feature for Word that flew a bit under the radar. Called "Ideas" the feature uses AI to suggest edits (opens in new tab) for your documents that will make them more professional, concise, and inclusive (via The Telegraph).

Ideas in Word taps into machine learning and the Microsoft Graph to, ultimately, make your prose more "polished."

"Here's something where we say, 'Hey, we understand the structure of your document. We can make it navigable, or we could create a table of contents on your behalf,'" said Kirk Gregersen, a partner director of program management in Microsoft's Experiences and Devices group, in a blog post announcing the feature.

One of the biggest additions with this feature is suggestions to make the language you use more inclusive for people of all walks of life. In an example given by Microsoft, Ideas may recommend changing the word "policeman" to "police officer" to be more gender-inclusive.

In addition, the AI-powered feature can tap into the Microsoft Graph to help you gain insights on the estimated time to read your document, highlight extraction, "familiar fixes for spelling and grammatical errors," and recommended acronyms. Overall, though, the feature aims to make your writing more concise and, as Microsoft puts it, "better."

The Ideas is feature is expected to ship starting this Fall in Word Online (opens in new tab).

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Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • The P.C. (politically correct) strikes again… Microsoft: don't be stupid!
  • Got a cousin named Devin, by chance? I hear he has an awesome cow!
  • Oh no! White men's feelings are hurt!
  • did you just assume his race? that's pretty racist dude
  • Well, your feelings are hurt, aren't they?
  • You just got rekt you racist clown. LOL
  • Oh please.
    Not like you people even care for that until it's for a reactionary cause.
  • Not only did you assume his race, but you also denigrated the white race at the same time. Proud of yourself?
  • Um, there is no such thing as a 'white race'....
  • Wow can't believe you just said that. I assume you are the kind of racist that rejects the existence of the black or Jewish races too.
  • The police officer thing doesn't bother me, as long as it doesn't change "he" or "she" to "they".
  • And bitter old men like yourself are easily offended. This is a seriously useful feature, if you don't want to use then don't.
  • You have something against old men? That's called being an ageist. Not very inclusive or sensitive of you.
  • I can see where it's useful as long as it isn't an auto-correcting style feature. Writing can be very personal and a person's choice of words are not always a mistake depending on the reasons those words are used, including terms that nail down a character's gender. I am assuming this is for business purposes and not for any sort of creative writing.
  • LOL, yeah, this won't be a feature I ever use. I am perfectly capable of writing documents appropriate for my professional audiences. I don't need P.C. police trying to "correct" what I actually intended to say. Let snowflakes melt.
  • Have you melted yet?
  • its lazy retorts like these why people say the "left can't meme"
  • But aren't insecure, easily triggered white men calling others "snowflakes" the most potent meme on the internet? I mean it kind of writes itself.
  • Why do you insist on always referring to a person's gender and skin colour, and using the term "white men" as though it's some sort of insult. Do you have a problem with white men?
  • You're proving his point. It's not like the avatars of these people are of white men. You people are embarrassing to other white men like myself.
  • Imagine being so scared of a group of people you apply them to everyone who questions you like they're some sort of boogeyman lmao
    Which is actually pretty racist btw. You seem to have something against white men. Talk to your therapist or something, sort that **** out.
  • Your logic is circumlocutious and asinine. You are calling white men triggered and insecure, yet here you are....triggered by the previous comment that u had to reply to. So which is it?
  • So reusing the same "snowflake" and "assume gender" joke a million times is the right's fabled memeing ability? Nothing to be jealous of.
  • It's just a suggestion. No one except you "but but my rights!" people are melting lol.
  • There is something seriously wrong with you people. What's up with middle aged men being so easily offended?
  • I received one of these a few weeks ago. It didn't like the term craftsmanship, it wanted me to use artisanship.
  • that really made me giggle
  • This feature is already in office though isnt it? There's "Inclusive Language" options already in Word.
    There's also "embarassing words"
    Whatever that is, lol
  • Awful, this is awful.
  • OK, I get what detractors are saying here. This is pretty useless. The only people who still say "policeman" are under 5 or over 75, and neither group uses Office much. That, and we all have the right to type the word "policeman" in Word without the need to ignore diction suggestions or turn a feature off. It would be tyranny otherwise.
  • "tyranny" - quite a strong reaction to a simple suggestion. Sounds pretty snowflakey of you, doesn't it?
    More seriously, people actually do say policeman. And Microsoft is not infringing on any of your rights. You can very easily ignore suggestions and are free to use an alternative to Word.
  • I'll listen out for this more, but I seldom here people say 'police officer' or 'firefighter'
  • What exactly is your point?
  • Pretty sure Jesus Christ would be heavily against mass murder.
  • They also want to do it for the German language, but in this case it's not inclusive, but totally messes up the grammar and actually divides lol
  • This is a very useful tool for those of us writing for broad or professional environments. My employer does inclusivity training and unconscious bias training, tools like this help us follow our professional standard more easily,.
  • Inclusivity training and unconscious bias training huh....sounds more like brain washing solutions for problems that don't exist.