Microsoft has been bringing several new AI-powered features to its Office apps in recent months, such as the new Ideas feature that can now provide intelligent suggestions to users working on Excel documents. Word also comes with Editor, an AI-powered writing assistant that can be a very helpful resource during the writing process.
AI can be great for providing intelligent suggestions, but it can also help to reduce distractions. As an example, when you’re working on a Word document, there are probably times where you have to interrupt your flow to look for additional information. “When this happens, you likely do what research tells us many Word users do: leave a placeholder in your document and come back to it later to stay in your flow,” explained Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365.
Well, Microsoft wants to make it easier for users who regularly create these kind placeholders in Word documents to keep track of all of them. The company will add a built-in To-do feature to Word, and the app will be able to create placeholders automatically when users type "TODO: finish this section" or "<<insert closing here>>" in Word documents.
Once Word automatically creates these placeholders in a document, the app will keep track of all of them and also display them on a dedicated panel when users come back to the document. Even better, Word users will be able to @mention coworkers within placeholders to ask them for help.
“Over time, Office will use AI to help fill in many of these placeholders. In the next few months, Word will use Microsoft Search to suggest content for a to-do like <<insert chart of quarterly sales figures>>. You will be able to pick from the results and insert content from another document with a single click,” explained Spataro.
This AI-powered To-Do feature is available today in the latest Insider build of Office for Mac, and it’s coming soon to Word for Windows and the web. To try it on a Mac today, you'll need to be an Office 365 subscriber and join the Office Insider Fast Ring in the Microsoft Auto Update app.