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Microsoft adds more AI smarts to Office 365

New features in Word, Excel and Outlook aim to help streamline important daily tasks.
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Jim Young / Reuters

Microsoft has been adding cloud-based artificial intelligence to its popular Office suite for years now. In addition to new AI-focused upgrades to Cortana and Bing, the company also announced several new tools for Word, Excel and Outlook to help you make the most of your data, organizational content and more.

At Microsoft's AI event on Wednesday in San Francisco, the company announced Office Insights, machine learning that will analyze data from Excel spreadsheets to create pivot tables and trend charts. "Data is incredibly valuable, but it's only valuable when you're actually able to extract insights from it," Microsoft's Rob Howard said in a statement.

It also revealed Acronyms in Word, which looks through your organization's documents and emails to help find acronyms specific to your business. Tap in Word will bring up documents, spreadsheets and presentations from your company without leaving the document you're working on, making it trivial to include, say a chart from Excel into your PowerPoint deck without having to search a corporate intranet to find it. The company also plans to release a tool to help highlight action items in emails via Outlook so you can respond on the go.

All of these new features rely on the cloud to process informations, of course. This helps Microsoft add functionality on the fly, too, like the Design tool in PowerPoint that can create a full presentation from a bulleted list. "The cloud has actually really accelerated our progress," said Howard. "We're able to take a lot of that functionality and bring it to end users more quickly."

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