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By 24 May 2019 | Categories: news

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Microsoft showcased some of the advances in its Office 365 and Windows software at  its campus in Bryanston today, detailing how these can lead to  greater productivity  for  workers and students alike.

The sessions covered issues such as health and posture, gaming and entertainment, the digital lifestyle advances, business productivity, security, and even tools to assist with homework.  

“We wanted to create more awareness of the advances we have made in computing, gaming and in ergonomic design as well as how they make our customers lives easier. We firmly believe that empowering every individual and organisation on the planet to achieve more is more than just a mission statement; it defines how we design our products and how we approach innovation,” explained Vithesh Reddy, consumer and device sales director at Microsoft South Africa.

The first of the sessions focused on productivity, and more specifically, how features in PowerPoint and Word can assist in more easily crafting a presentation for school or business.

Style in a few seconds

Most notable was QuickStarter, which helps you build PowerPoint presentations in minutes by generating a deck of stylish slides. You can choose from among a variety of styles, and then customise each slide to your liking. As well, users can avail themselves of suggested content that  they may want to exoand upon and add to their slides, depending on the topic.

Particularly nifty is that you can add research content from within the app, without having to go into a browser window and go back and forth between Powerpoint and your browser.

In a similar vein, a Researcher tool helps you find and cite reliable sources for your research paper from within Word, by automatically bringing the source into your footnotes when text is copied and pasted into  a document.

Another feature that  was showcased was Math Assist, which helps OneNote users to get help in solving simple, and complex, mathematical equations quickly. Furthermore, the feature  can display step-by-step details at the steps taken to resolve the equation. It’s a terrific way for students  to  see how algebraic formulas are resolved, but we could also imagine it being useful for parents who have to help their children with their homework, and who are thoroughly stumped.

Collaboration is the new normal

A particularly pertinent feature, given the growth of and the need for greater collaboration and teamwork, is Real-Time Co-Authoring: This allows multiple people to collaborate online and in real time on Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents, to craft  a presentation for example,  without needing to email the .PPT file back and forth.

This was followed by another session on accessibility, where we were shown how users could navigate Windows and Office, and even type documents, using just their eyes. This is particularly pertinent for disabled individuals who may have lost use of  their arms,  or paraplegics, for whom a mouse and keyboard, or touch control, are no longer viable ways to interface with a PC and the access of information it affords.

Xbox has also been made more accessible thanks to co-pilot, a solution which allows two controllers to act as one, meaning any two people can control the same character on-screen, as well as the adaptive controller, designed to meet the needs of gamers with limited mobility.

“Microsoft will continue to look for new ways to improve our customer’s lives through innovation. We are determined to continuously develop inclusive technology that protects our customers’ sensitive information and empowers as many people as possible,” concluded Reddy.

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