Microsoft has been busy developing its Office suite, with its Genee acquisition, Office mobile app updates and beta launches for Cache and OneNote Importer. However, the company is not yet done as it has just announced Office 365's most comprehensive update this month.

A Microsoft Office blog post dated Aug. 30 announced updates for Outlook, Inking, Office's mobile app security, Visio and Office Online's in-app support. Microsoft also disclosed details about a new level for the Insider program.


After introducing handwritten equation conversion and Shape Recognition, Microsoft now unveiled three more inking capabilities.

The first is OneNote's Ink math assistant, which actually coaches users and helps them solve handwritten-converted equations. After writing down and selecting the converted equation, the user can proceed to tap on the "Math" button, which will then bring up a pop-up that contains possible actions for the equation such as solving for a specific variable. Steps detailing how the answer is derived can be displayed with a couple of additional taps.

Microsoft notes that the new feature goes well with Editor, Word's intuitive writing assistant that processes content using Microsoft's machine learning skills and suggests ways for improving the write-up. This feature is currently available for Office 365 users who are using OneNote on Windows 10.

Another new feature is replay inking, which, as the name suggests, allows users to replay captured inked note sessions. Detailed instructions, sketches and most demonstrations requiring an ordered sequence of steps can benefit from this feature. Aside from making replay inking available on OneNote, Microsoft promises to expand this feature to Word, Excel and PowerPoint on Office 365.

The third is OneNote's new ink effects: silver, galaxy and rainbow. The three were brought about by students' feedback, according to Microsoft. It is currently limited to Office 365's OneNote on Windows 10.

Windows Information Protection For Microsoft Office

Microsoft brought over Windows Information Protection (WIP), a data protection solution that was bundled with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, to Office mobile apps - Word, Excel, OneNote and PowerPoint - for Windows mobile devices. Content created from the mentioned apps can be classified into "personal" or "work," which will allow IT departments to remove or protect business data.

Better Outlook On The Web Experience

Microsoft's new iteration to Outlook on the web gives commercial customers access to more information regarding their contacts, which goes beyond what was normally provided for in the previous version of the app.

"Clicking a coworker's name helps you discover more information about them, including their organizational chart, who they commonly work with (powered by the Microsoft Graph), Office 365 Groups they've joined, as well as recent emails, files and meetings you have in common," explained Microsoft.

Visio For Web Browsers And iPads

Microsoft Office's diagramming and vector graphics application, Visio, now offers access from two additional platforms through a couple of apps called Visio Online Preview and Visio for iPad. The former lets users view and share diagrams using a browser while the latter does as its name suggests and lets users access Visio diagrams through an iPad.

Visio Online Preview is currently limited to commercial customers. Visio for iPad, on the other hand, is available through a limited Office Insider Program.

In-App Support, Office Online And Accessibility Updates

"Recent updates to apps like Word, Outlook and SharePoint Online bring us closer to achieving our goal of ensuring that people with disabilities can communicate, consume and create content on any device," wrote Microsoft while prompting users to create accessible content, which should be easier using the Accessibility Checker that is available in Office 2016 for Mac.

Office apps for Windows desktops are also getting some love. Microsoft claims that finding help documentation through "Tell me" is now much easier. Moreover, customers within the United States who are under Office 365's Personal and Home plans can get in touch with a support agent leaving the opened Office app.

An Office Online extension was announced for the Microsoft Edge browser. It allows Office document creation, as well as accessing and opening of files stored locally or from the user's OneDrive.

Office Insider Fast

Because of the success of its Office Insider program, which was launched last November 2015, Microsoft decided to add Office Insider Fast, an additional level in the program. The new level promises to provide more frequent access to the earliest preview builds that Microsoft employees access internally.

The rollout will come in the next few days for Office 365 Home and Personal subscribers on multiple operating systems (Windows Mobile, Mac and Windows). No definitive time frame was given for iOS and Android.

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