Login | June 25, 2018

MS brings AI and other upgrades to Office

Technology for Lawyers

Published: April 28, 2017

If your office uses Word and the rest of the Microsoft Office suite, the software giant has recently made a few upgrades that attorneys should find useful.

First off, if you subscribe to Office 365 (I do), or have recently upgraded, you should have noticed a change in the editing functions, particularly in Word. Editor, the company’s machine learning proofreading tool, has added a higher level of functionality to its suggested changes.

In the past, all the problems found by Editor have been shown by a red underline. This indicator has now expanded to include a red squiggle for spelling issues, a blue double underline for grammar usage, and a gold dotted underline to access the replacement options.

Right clicking on a misspelled word now brings up a number of options with definitions of the potential replacement word through the new function Smart Lookup (powered by Bing).

In addition, a new Editor pane has been added. If you want more detail about your editing options, hit F7 and the new pane arises. Click through the popup toolbar for a more expansive list of options.

Other Office additions apropos to lawyering cover a variety of functions.

The Tap feature will let a user reuse content. Click on the Insert tab of the Word ribbon and select Document Item. A pane opens, allowing you to browse through the document to pick out something to reuse (like a chart, boilerplate paragraph, etc.). This feature is only available for high-end subscribers right now.

Another powerful feature is the creation of Office 365 Groups. Create a group through Outlook, and Office creates a shared private mailbox, a public facing mailbox, a planner and calendar, as well as a One Note notebook, SharePoint team site, and a document library. Create groups for any purpose—with clients, inside a practice area, etc. Groups are also available in app form for mobile devices.

In what might be a “too smart for its own good” category, Outlook is now able to read anything that might need calendaring and post that information (appointments, flights, bills to pay) directly to your calendar.

And there are a few more new functions as well. If you are an Office 365 subscriber, they are worth looking up.