Microsoft has made a number of updates to its productivity suite, Office 365. It is now built on Microsoft’s powerful platform for AI and, consequently, Microsoft has added a number of artificial intelligence (AI) driven features.

These additions make the tools more powerful and make it easier for users to complete a wide range of tasks in less time than before. We think this is an interesting step for Microsoft. Putting AI at the heart of its improvements and showing businesses that there are practical applications that make a real difference to productivity. For many organisations this will be the first visible application of AI.


Microsoft Word has had a number of upgrades, the most useful to organisations is Acronyms. Most organisations speak their own language and use acronyms regularly, so it can be difficult for new employees to get up to speed. Acronyms uses machine learning to search documents and emails and provides a definition for, and other instances of, the acronym. It then presents these to the user.

Microsoft has also continued improving its connectivity with LinkedIn. Word now provides a CV builder that is automatically populated using your LinkedIn profile. This solidifies LinkedIn as the central place to keep employment information.


PowerPoint is now able to offer advice on different ways of designing a slide. Effectively you enter all of the information and media you want to use on the slide and PowerPoint Designer suggests the best way to present this information. This incorporates some of the smart art capability and provides a great way to improve the appearance of your presentations with very little effort. This should help users step up the quality of their slides with simple to use design tools and there are no excuses for bad images or formatting. This should save a considerable amount of time for regular PowerPoint users.


Analysing data has never been easier with Excel. Insights is a new feature that automatically detects patterns in your data and highlights them in a number of different visualisations, making it easier for everyone to explore and analyse their data. This is an extremely useful tool for amateur Excel and data users, you don’t have to be a data scientist to identify basic trends and extract valuable insights that can be applied across your organisation.


Microsoft has added Cortana to the Outlook mobile app. This provides smart notifications on when you need to leave to get to your next appointment on time. The notifications come with directions, map and options for public transport or driving, incorporating real-time traffic information.

OneDrive and SharePoint

Last year the ability to automatically recognise content within images was rolled out across OneDrive and SharePoint. This allowed those applications to identify the type of image eg, a receipt, a whiteboard, or a number of other categories. This facility is being stepped up considerably using computer vision, Microsoft is now offering an intelligent search that reads the text from images stored in OneDrive or SharePoint. You no longer need to worry about the name of the images or where they are stored.


Most of these updates are available to Office 365 enterprise subscribers and the remainder will be coming online in the first half of 2018. These updates confirm Microsoft’s focus on innovation and how it plans on embedding AI across its suite of products, with capability available in Dynamics already released. Microsoft demonstrates the value of moving onto the cloud and its subscription service as these updates come at no extra cost for users.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss.