Discussion

Insider Fast: Editor – A new digital writing assistant

Hi Insiders –

My name is Alfredo, and I’m a program manager on the Natural Language Experiences Team.

If you receive builds of Office 2016 for Windows through the new Office Insider Fast level, you now have access to new Editor feature, which offers improved proofing tools in Word 2016 and Outlook 2016. The features described below are available in build 16.0.7409.1000 or later.

  • First, we’ve expanded upon Word’s current spelling and grammar tools to inform you why words or phrases may not be accurate—teaching at the same time it is correcting.
  • Second, we’ve overhauled Word’s visual proofing cues so you can distinguish at a glance between edits for spelling (red squiggle), grammar (blue double underline) or writing style (gold dotted line). Since Outlook uses Word as an email editor, you’ll see these new tools in email messages, too.

What's new?

  • Improved proofing and editor tools. Leveraging machine learning and natural language processing—mixed with input from our own team of linguists—Editor makes suggestions to help you improve your writing.

  • Red squiggle for spelling errors: Editor uses visual cues to distinguish between edits for spelling (red squiggle), grammar (blue double underline) and writing style (gold dotted line). When you see a red squiggle below a word, right-click on the word and choose one of the suggestions to fix the error. Spelling suggestions have synonyms to help disambiguate between the choices. Choose the most appropriate suggestion to correct the spelling.

  • Blue underline for grammatical errors: Word checks for potential grammatical errors as you type and indicates the error with two blue underlines. When you see two blue underlines below a word or a phrase, right click on the word or phrase and choose one of the suggestions to fix it.

  • Gold dotted line for style: Word checks for potential writing and style issues and indicates the word or phrase with a dotted gold underline. When you see a gold dotted line below a word, right click on the word or phrase and consider one of the alternative suggestions to correct the writing style issue. To customize your style options, Click File > Options > Proofing. In the Writing Style drop-down, make sure Grammar & more is selected, and then click the Settings button.


Things to keep in mind

  • You need to be an Office 365 subscriber on the Fast level to use this feature.
  • Editor adds a new Grammar & More option to the Writing style list. To use this option today, your proofing language must be set to English. Similarly, you'll see the new gold dotted line for identifying style issues only if you're proofing English text. We'll enable support for additional proofing languages in the upcoming months.
  • In Word, if you don’t see gold dotted lines in your document, it may be because you’ve customized style options in the past. To fix this issue, click File >Options >Proofing. With Grammar & more selected, click Settings >Reset All.
  • In Outlook, to see the blue underline and the gold dotted line, you need to turn on Mark grammar errors as you type. To do so, on an email, choose the File tab > Options >Mail > Editor Options >Proofing. Under When correcting spelling in Outlook select Mark grammar errors as you type.
  • By popular demand, you now have right-click access to AutoCorrect Options!


As a cloud-based service, Editor will get better with time so be sure to let us know what’s working and where we might improve. Thanks for taking a look!


Alfredo 

** Updated 10/13/16 to clarify proofing language availability**



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Alfredo:

Does this feature bring back the grammar checking features that were "accidentally" forgotten in the 2016 General Availability release last year?  Many people have been anxiously awaiting an update to fix this defect.

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When things are bad, you can either:
- cuss,
- cry or
- laugh ...

Why not choose to laugh

Looks like it might be the excuse to not fix them. Which isn't going to work for a lot of people when this tool in online only.

I don't know what happened to it, but I did get a reply from Alfredo saying that this feature was not a replacement for missing grammar checking. I didn't think it was a private message ...

So, no I don't think this new feature will be used for an excuse to not fix the fundamental problem of the missing grammar checking. But, I am STILL concerned that MS will only give the fix for missing grammar checking only to 365 subscribers, because I have not seen ANY indication from MS that they really will the fix to 2016 1-time-payment owners

HINT HINT Alfredo: please talk to the manager(s) in charge of Word development, suggest they get off the pot and make a OFFICIAL public announcement, about the status of this fix. WHEN is this fix going to be released?  Tell us CLEARLY and EXACTLY who is going to get the fixed grammar checking, 365 only ALL 2016 owners! (so we can start the screaming now instead of later!)  Come on, this is not rocket science, just basic customer relations! Grammar checking is a fundamental feature that has been part of Word for DECADES! There is NO excuse for allowing OFFICE 2016 to be released without this feature. Yes, I say the whole bundle should have been delayed.  Very MANY customers depend on grammar checking as a core feature!

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****** ****** ******** ******** ******* ******* ******
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When things are bad, you can either:
- cuss,
- cry or
- laugh ...

Why not choose to laugh

We can confirm that the new Editor feature, which includes style checking options, is a new feature rolling out to subscribers. We recognize that the style checking portions of the Editor feature offer similar capabilities to some features not included in Office 2016, but were included in the prior version. We hear your feedback as this might be an exception to our general policy and though we can’t comment on future plans for the rollout of Office features, we can tell you that the original style checking options were not included in Office 2016 due to very low usage of the feature. Thanks for the feedback.


I am not sure we are talking about the same thing.

My question is specifically about the missing grammar checking in Word 2016.  The feature that was in Word "forever".

You say "style checking".  Is that Word font and paragraph formatting styles, or is it grammar and formatting rules defined the various style guides like APA, Chicago, Harvard etc.

You also say the "original Style checking options were not included in Office 2016 due to very low usage of the feature".  Wow. Apparently your telemetry sucks, or is severely biased by who actually allows it (I don't!).  For the people who use it grammar checking is vital.

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****** ****** ******** ******** ******* ******* ******
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When things are bad, you can either:
- cuss,
- cry or
- laugh ...

Why not choose to laugh

I don't follow the logic here for the product roadmap.  If these features were not used, why re-implement them (with "new technology") and include them only in 365?  Why not just stub them?

Why fork the product tree? 

I understand why the company wants to push customers into subscription revenue models, but to now offer two feature sets without a clear value proposition? 

The risks of alienating customers and increasing maintenance costs are high and fragmenting the franchise opens the door for new entrants (which are real).

What's the strategy?  What am I missing?


The strategy is tragedy ...

<rant on>

I don't think you have missed anything. MS is twisting it's marketing logic into "salt free, fat free" (bland and blah! eeuch!) pretzels in a blatant cash grab by trying to "encourage" users to switch to subscription cash cow.

In the 1980's, before the Office concept, the marketing approach was each application (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) sold for around $200 to $500. Some applications, like Excel, had 2 or 3 price point levels that added "more" functionality for the additional cost.  ie "Standard" and "Pro" levels of the software, Visio still does that.  Then in the early 1990's MS marketing came up with the "Office Suite" concept.  It had 2 key elements.  First, bundle several programs into a suite for a single price, the more programs in the suite the more expensive it is. Second all of the applications had the same feature sets no matter which suite it was in.  The idea there was that even someone with the lowest price "Home and Student" bundle could learn all of the features before they went to work. When they were at work, they would know how to use "all" of the Office features, and if they work used a suite other than Office the users would "encourage" management to switch to office.

In marketing terms, this type of business suite is a "mature market" that is saturated. Everyone who wants it has it, there are relatively few new customers.  So they have to switch marketing tactics to generate more revenue (don't forget, current corporate culture is you always have to increase revenue and profits on a fiscal quarterly basis. Executive bonuses are tied to quarter profit performance!).  How can they do that. Switch to "subscription" licenses, and degenerate back to "price for features" pricing. 

Simple comparison.  Over the last 13 years, I spent approx $750 on Office Home and Student 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016. I still have use of all 5 licenses as separate installations on up to 11 devices.  If that was replaced by subscription, it would have cost over $1300 for 365 Home. But today I would just have the current 2016 version on up to 5 devices.  

One of the marketing techniques (aka "tricks") they use to "encourage" people to switch from one time payment licenses to subscriptions is they bundle more features in the subscriptions.  Initially that was obvious features like "free" skype time and more "free" OneDrive space and maybe including "extra" appliations like Access. Now it includes limiting "new features" to the subscriptions licenses.  That applied to 2013 to, but for 3 years MS didn't produce many/any significant new features that were limited to 365.  But in year since 365/2016 was released there have been several significant new features like new Exel graph types, PowerPoint Mix and several more. The most recent is restoring the "lost" replacement Word grammar checking feature that was "accidentally" unfinished when 2016 went GA. Apparently they are (imho improperly) limiting this fix to subscriptions only.  So MS marketing has created "second class" customers. One time payment licenses no longer have the same feature set for putatively the same product "Word 2016" or "PowerPoint 2016".

<rant off>

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****** ****** ******** ******** ******* ******* ******
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When things are bad, you can either:
- cuss,
- cry or
- laugh ...

Why not choose to laugh

Hi Alfredo:

It's me again.  I just saw this

<snip https://support.office.com/en-us/article/Fixes-or-workarounds-for-recent-issues-in-Word-for-Windows-bf6bf17c-2807-4871-83ce-e337ae8f0b86?ui=en-US&rs=en-US&ad=US >

The Grammar & Writing Style option is missing in Word 2016 [FIXED]

When accessing the File > Options > Proofing > When correcting spelling and grammar in Word > Writing Style menu option in Word 2016, Grammar & Style is missing.

Grammar & Style has been replaced by Grammar & more. Grammar & more is now part of Editor, which is available only to Office 365 subscribers – learn more about Editor on this thread.

We can confirm that the new Editor feature, which includes style checking options, is a new feature now rolling out to subscribers, not just Insiders. We recognize that the style checking portions of the Editor feature offer similar capabilities to some features not included in Office 2016, but were included in the prior version. We hear your feedback as this might be an exception to our general policy and though we can’t comment on future plans for the rollout of Office features, we can tell you that the original style checking options were not included in Office 2016 due to very low usage of the feature. Thanks for the feedback.

.

</snip>

THAT IS NO FIX!

So MS corporate IS saying that your tool is a replacement for the missing Grammar checks in Word 2016.

Now, I'd like to know how your tool ties into Word 2016.  Is it a stand alone tool, with it's own icon on the Start menu, or is it a feature integrated into Word, like Word Art and the Equation Editor?

Frankly I don't believe that second last sentence.  Not enough people are using grammar checking? Right! And I have a bridge in Brooklyn I would be happy to sell them.

And finally, I am very miffed that this "new feature" is limited to 365 subscribers.  It is not a new feature, it is just an existing feature that they renamed. A new shell on an existing feature. Not exactly the same, but in a similar vein as the ribbon was just a new shell replacing the menu to access the same underlying features.

*
****** ****** ******** ******** ******* ******* ******
*

When things are bad, you can either:
- cuss,
- cry or
- laugh ...

Why not choose to laugh

... we can tell you that the original style checking options were not included in Office 2016 due to very low usage of the feature...

Really, Alfredo? Microsoft expects us to believe this out and out lie? Very low usage? What, pray tell, was the demographic you were using?? The style checking (grammar and proofing) was/is one of the MOST used of all of Word's features. You took it away because you wanted to force customers into a subscription. And while I'm on that subject, where is my update (Editor), whatever, that gives me this feature??? I'm an Office 365 ProPlus subscriber and I still can't get the update! My subscription won't update - it says it has the most recent - even when I manually update it. Like MOST users of Word/Office, grammar & style checking is essential and I must have it back - or I will take my business (as will my friends and family) elsewhere!


We value users’ feedback, and are pleased to announce that we’re planning to enable the style options in Grammar checking for Office 2016 users this winter – stay tuned for updates on availability. The Editor feature, which includes new style options and other ongoing enhancements to the experience, will continue to be exclusively offered through an Office 365 subscription.

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Views: 1,438 Last updated: March 25, 2018 Applies to: