The tool goes beyond simple spelling and grammar correction to critique a document’s structure and readability
Microsoft is adding an artificial intelligence-powered feature to Word that takes the notion of spelling and grammar correction to another level, critiquing the way a document is structured and written more generally, and giving tips on how to make text clearer and more intelligible.
The Ideas feature, set to be released to Word Online test users in June, suggests ways of rewriting sentences that may be difficult to read and to make language more gender-inclusive.
It suggests synonyms and alternative phrases to make writing more concise and includes layout features that include creating tables.
“AI can – and already is – helping us do things like make sure we spell words correctly and use correct grammar,” Microsoft wrote in a blog post.
“As the AI in these products is becoming more sophisticated, they are helping us do more than spot a misspelled word.”
Microsoft announced the feature at its Build developer conference in Seattle.
Other features include providing estimated reading times, automatically extracting key points from a document and decoding acronyms based on the way they’re used in Microsoft Graph, a developer platform that allows developers to connect their services with Microsoft products.
The technology builds on a synonym feature in Word that uses AI to understand the context of a word in a sentence to suggest more relevant alternatives.
The announcement follows on Google’s recent announcement of a tool for Google Docs that also uses AI to go beyond checking basic grammar.
Microsoft said it plans to roll out the feature generally to Word Online users in the autumn.