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Microsoft Word is getting a to-do feature to help people manage documents

Microsoft is starting to test a new to-do feature in Word today. The software maker found that a lot of people leave notes in their Word documents as placeholders to add more text, images, or charts. Microsoft is now making these notes a lot more powerful with a to-do feature that automatically tracks when youve left these little notes for yourself or others. Word has had comments for years, but this new to-do feature will automatically find where you may have written todo: or <> in a document, and it will collate these instances as suggestions. Word will then provide a list of these items, and you can use them individually or even @-mention colleagues to notify them to add content into a shared Word document. The notification will trigger an email to a colleague, but you can actually take action on the document and notification by replying to that email. For example, if a colleague has asked for an image to be added to a document and tagged you in it, you can simply reply to the email with the image and it will be inserted into the document. Microsoft is using machine learning to discover these notes in documents. In time, even phrases like <> will be detected, and Word will suggest recent documents to add content. You dont even need to open that document to see the graph; a sidebar will simply highlight the graphs in those documents to let you quickly insert them. Its a clever new feature that will certainly speed up collaborative work in Word, especially as the email notification can be used to insert content into docs. It makes Word more collaborative and similar to Googles approach with Docs, which lets you tag multiple people in a document. (Google Docs doesnt have the automatic to-do suggestions, though.) Surprisingly, Microsoft is making this available initially to testers of Office for Mac today, with a Windows version set to be tested in the coming weeks. Once testing is finalized, this will be broadly rolled out to existing Office 365 customers. Microsoft is also planning to bring this to other Office apps in the future based on feedback from testers.

Microsoft Word will automatically create to-do lists for you

Beta testing for the feature is starting with Office for Mac Insiders. Microsoft will start turning the notes you leave in Word documents into to-do lists. The company is testing a new feature in its word processor that will automatically detect notes and messages left for yourself and others and turn them into actionable lists. The beta version of the feature is available for some Office for Mac Insiders starting today and will roll out to Windows testers in the coming weeks. The feature is part of Editor, Microsoft Word's AI-powered writing assistant. Essentially, the tool takes things that Word users have been doing for years to create makeshift lists and notes -- or using other apps to do -- and turning it into something more uniform within the Word ecosystem. If you type things like "todo" or "" in a Word document, Editor will recognize the text and create a list based on the items. It will also make recommendations based on other recent documents and files that you've been working with. If you type , the AI will display recent charts you've worked with in a sidebar so you can insert the relevant one. If you're working in a shared, collaborative Word document, you'll be able to @-mention colleagues to let them know what tasks they need to tackled. The tagged person will receive an email about the notification, and can take action on the document by replying directly to the email. So if there's a piece of information missing, they can include it in the reply email and it'll automatically be added into the Word file. The new features will be available starting today as a preview to Mac for Office Insiders users on the Fast level, which is the group of users who get features first to provide feedback. Slow level Insiders, who get more stable versions of features before they are included in public releases, will be in line to get the feature later. A Windows version will be tested in the coming weeks. After all thet testing is complete the features will roll out to all existing Office 365 users, with other Office apps scheduled to get the feature down the road.