Microsoft is bringing text prediction to its Word app, which could lead to more efficient typing for users of the classic word processing platform.
The company has added the feature to the Microsoft 365 roadmap ahead of a planned rollout on Windows next month. The feature was announced last year and is already in testing for some users.
As we’ve seen in the wild from the likes of Smart Compose in Google Docs, Microsoft will use machine learning to suggest the next words in the sentence. As previewed by Microsoft last year, users will begin to see greyed predictions ahead of the cursor. So, if you begin typing “cu…” you may see the word “customer” suggested, depending on your previous usage.
If users hit Tab they can accept the suggestion, if they hit Escape it’ll be rejected. The suggestion can also be ignored if the user continues to go about their business and type. As with Google’s Smart Compose, Microsoft’s text predictions in Word will improve over time as it figures out your writing style.
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Within the roadmap Microsoft notes: “Text Predictions in Word for Windows helps users write more efficiently by predicting text quickly, timely and accurately.” Here’s how it looks in practice:
Right now the feature will only be coming to Microsoft 365 subscribers on Windows machines, but it’s likely to be available on other platforms.
Late last week Microsoft announced that a new standalone version of Office will arrive later this year, but it’s not clear whether those users will get access to the text predictions tool. Microsoft tend to offer the single purchase version for those who aren’t yet ready to embrace the cloud. Given this feature will be powered by web connectivity, it’s probably not bound for the standalone Office 2021 platform.
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