Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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Microsoft 365: If your writing’s clunky, Word Rewrite now suggests whole new sentences

Microsoft rolls out a new AI feature for Word on the web – and republishes Notepad on the Microsoft Store.

Microsoft has rolled out a new AI-powered feature for Word on the web that suggests improvements to whole sentences.

The updated Rewrite Suggestions in Word aims to help users rephrase clumsy sentences with clearer expressions that still reflect what the author intended to say.

Microsoft announced the feature at its 2019 Build conference last May but it was limited to suggesting new phrases, whereas the updated feature provides larger sentence-level suggestions.

The company boasts that the suggestions feature is powered by “cutting-edge, neural-network, machine learning models, which are trained on millions of sentences”.

To have this AI transform a sentence, the user needs to highlight the problematic sentence and then select Rewrite Suggestions in the context menu.

Word will then display a rewrite suggestion card near the selected sentence with three suggestion types that Word considers will improve the flow of the wording, make a phrase more concise, and improve readability with shorter, simpler wording.

The suggested changes in each case are highlighted in purple. However, if a sentence is good enough, there might not be a suggestion from Word.

The updated Rewrite Suggestions is available for Word on the web, but it requires a Microsoft 365 or Office 365 subscription.

The availability follows Microsoft’s announcement in March of its AI-powered Editor service for Word and Outlook. The company also released its Editor extension on the Chrome Web Store for Chrome and Chromium-based Microsoft Edge. The extension promises to fix up sentences anywhere in web mail and on social networks.

Separately, Microsoft’s popular Notepad has re-emerged on the Microsoft Store after Microsoft yanked it in December without an explanation. Now it’s back on the Microsoft Store, again without explanation.

In August, Microsoft explained that Notepad was a “well-loved text editor in Windows for over 30 years” and wanted to make it store-updatable so that it could respond to issues and feedback outside the Windows release cycle.

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Word displays a rewrite suggestion card near the selected sentence with three suggestion types. Image: Microsoft

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