Microsoft and Apple are better together

Ideas. We all have them. Some people have lots of them. Most of us have difficulty making more than a handful of them happen at any one time – even when it comes to document creation.

Have you used this new Office feature?

I use Office and have done so for decades. I’ve always found the suite’s many features difficult to use, in part because they aren’t always easy to discover. If only there were an easy way to find the tools I need.

Sure, I can search online for advice or use the built-in Office help system (and I often have), but why can’t the world-dominant productivity suite just work?

Turns out that someone at Microsoft thinks the same thing, as I learned in conversation with Microsoft Vice President Brad Anderson recently. It’s a feature that has been available in PowerPoint and Excel and will be made available in Word this fall.

It’s called Ideas.

Here’s what the new Ideas button does

  • Entered a bunch of data into an Excel spreadsheet and want to turn it into a graph? Tap the Ideas button at the top right of the ribbon and choose a design.
  • Creating a presentation in Keynote? Enter your copy, tap ideas and you can create a professional looking slide show.
  • Need help with your writing? Word will guide your writing style and automate formatting to make documents easy to read.

There are some limitations: You need to be using OneDrive, can’t change the color palette and need to be using the most recent pro edition of Office 365. But it is a great way to save a little time when working on an Office document – better yet, you’ll find the feature on iPads and iPhones, too.