As with any Microsoft product launch, the company spent a good portion of its fall hardware event talking about how Office 365 integrates with its new devices. While those enhancements didn’t take centerstage, Microsoft has detailed them in a separate blog post the company posted to its website.
To start, Microsoft plans to add new audio transcription functionality to Word. With the help of the company’s Azure Speech Services platform, Word will automatically transcribe any audio you upload to Word or directly record within the app. It will also group sections of audio by speaker, making it easy to find specific parts of a recording. There’s also drag and drop functionality built-in to the audio transcription side panel, so it looks like it will be easy to work with quotes.
It’s strange to think Microsoft is only now adding stylus support to Excel, but starting next year, you’ll be also able to use a digital pen to write, edit and delete figures in the company’s popular spreadsheet app. Similarly, using Office 365’s Ink Editor, you’ll finally be able to add comments to documents using a stylus or your voice. Previously, it was only possible to add comments with a keyboard.
However, the most interesting features Microsoft plans to add to Office 365 are related to the Surface Earbuds and Surface Pro X. Microsoft says the Surface Earbuds’ microphones will make PowerPoint’s Live Caption and Subtitles more accurate. You’ll also be able to use one Surface Earbud as a slideshow clicker while keeping the other in your ear. In this way, you can listen to PowerPoint’s Presenter Coach while still advancing a slideshow. The Surface Pro X, meanwhile, will detect when you remove the Slim Pen from its slot on the TypeCover, and will show you everything you can do with the stylus.
Besides the Surface Pro X and Surface Earbuds-related enhancements, you can look forward to most of the new features Microsoft detailed today making their way to Office 365 throughout the first half of 2020. The device-specific Office improvements will launch when the Surface Earbuds and Surface Pro X become available later this fall.
Follow all the latest news from Microsoft’s Surface event here!