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Merging intelligence with productivity—a demo tour of recent Office app updates

On today’s Microsoft Mechanics, we look at the latest in intelligent Office app experiences spanning PowerPoint, Excel, Word, Outlook and the browser. Ben Walters presents how Office can bring in intelligence via the Microsoft Graph, Azure Machine Learning and Delve to save you time.

Ben kicks off his demonstration with PowerPoint Designer, a new way to automatically design slide layouts when importing pictures or other visual elements. Designer now also works with text-based lists to apply visual formats. Going beyond slide design and formatting, Ben also highlights PowerPoint QuickStarter, which uses the Microsoft Graph to pull in content ideas and photos, creating a great starting point for your presentations.

In Word, we take a look at Word Tap, a new feature that also uses intelligence with Delve to bring in recent content like charts and graphs. Within Word, Ben also shows how machine learning can also help improve writing by looking for word redundancies, jargon, gender-specific language and more.

In Excel, we explore the new Azure Machine Learning add-in to run text sentiment analysis, then use map charts to give a visual representation of data inserted via the Azure Machine Learning add-in.

In Outlook, we’re using intelligence and machine learning to help assess the importance of incoming email via the new Focused Inbox. The MyAnalytics add-in also helps track information about how your email is being read, reply rates and the timing of these activities. For Outlook Mobile, we’re applying intelligence to find important events like flight information using Action Cards; also scheduling calendar events is much easier on the phone using integrated free/busy information with meeting attendees.

In the browser, Office 365 not only uses the intelligence from Delve to surface important content you’ve been working on, but you can also customize the App Launcher to highlight the important apps to you and be directly linked to Office 365 capabilities using the intelligent Tell Me engine from Office 365 Help.

While this is a glimpse of some the capabilities rolling out to Office via First Release and the Office Insider program, there is much more coming. Of course, to see all of this in action, you’ll want to check out today’s show.

—Jeremy Chapman

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