Microsoft 365 Gains AI-Powered Tools and Features

Real-time captions in PowerPoint, acronym suggestions in Word and the ability to reuse slides in PowerPoint are among the new features.


Microsoft 365 users have gained several helpful new feature updates in December, including artificial intelligence capabilities in Word and PowerPoint that give users more ways of connecting with their audiences.

Live captions and subtitles can now be added in PowerPoint to assist viewers who speak in other languages or who have hearing impairments, while acronym suggestions can now be provided through Microsoft Graph in Word, according to a recent post on the Microsoft 365 Blog by Kirk Koenigsbauer, a vice president for Microsoft 365. Also added are capabilities that allow users to find and reuse slides from earlier PowerPoint presentations so they can avoid having to duplicate their work.

The live captions and subtitles update in PowerPoint enables presenters to automatically provide live captions and subtitles for all audiences during a presentation, wrote Koenigsbauer.

"With live captions & subtitles in PowerPoint, you can ensure your presentations are understood by everyone, across languages and hearing access needs," he wrote. "This feature will support presenters across 12 spoken languages and display on-screen captions or subtitles in one of 60+ languages."

The live captions and subtitles feature will begin rolling out to Office 365 subscribers worldwide in January 2019 for PowerPoint on Windows 10, PowerPoint for Mac and PowerPoint Online.

The Word acronyms feature uses Microsoft Graph to provide AI-powered suggestions for acronym definitions specific to a user's needs as they read their documents, wrote Koenigsbauer. "To get started, click the Acronyms button on the References tab to launch the Acronyms pane and see suggested definitions for acronyms. This feature is [immediately] beginning English-language rollout for Office 365 subscribers."

Reuse Previously Created PowerPoint Slides With Ease

Old PowerPoint presentations used inside organizations often have slides that can be reused for new presentations, but it can be hard to locate them easily. That's where a new AI-powered capability for PowerPoint can help.

"Simply click the Reuse Slides button on the Home tab to surface existing PowerPoint decks in the sidebar to browse through recommended PowerPoint decks that you have access to, view the slides in each presentation, and insert them into the deck you are creating," wrote Koenigsbauer. The new capability will arrive in January for all Office 365 subscribers.

Also receiving enhancements in Microsoft's December updates are several Office apps, including Outlook for iOS.

Outlook for iOS gets a new design that is built to help users get things done faster, wrote Koenigsbauer. "With more context available at a glance, you can connect, organize and get more done. The new design includes recognizable avatars for instant recognition, optimized swipe with haptic feedback, and dynamic scrolling to easily see more inbox messages."

Also coming for users is support for the macOS Mojave Dark Mode in Office for Mac, which will make it easier on users' eyes when they are working in low-light environments. "And the updated user interface (UI) for Office for Mac makes it easier to find the features you're looking for with crisper and sharper icons," wrote Koenigsbauer.

New features in Microsoft Bookings are aimed at helping users better manage their appointments with enterprise-grade security controls, an improved mobile app and integrations with Microsoft Teams, Skype for Business and third-party payments.

In addition, new graph APIs in Teams provide automation capabilities to help streamline the process of creating and customizing teams, wrote Koenigsbauer.