Teachers may not dread grading research papers as much anymore as Microsoft has added Researcher to Word to get students away from Wikipedia as well as adding other features.

Microsoft Word

Significant update to Word with Researcher

For Windows users of the most recent version of Word, this month will see your writing of research papers get easier and your writing get stronger through the addition of Researcher and Editor to Microsoft’s stalwart word processing program Word.

Using its Bing Knowledge Graph, Microsoft has developed Researcher to pull relevant content from the Internet and place it directly into Word. Again, getting away from Wikipedia will be a snap for students as Microsoft is beginning to curate a list of reference materials and sources from all over the web with the promise of a list that wont stop growing. Once you’ve discarded material and chosen something to use, Word will automatically cite it and add it to your bibliography.

Editor is even a more exciting addition to Word

While Word has been equipped with grammar and spell checking options for quite some time, these features will see a major upgrade with Word’s new Editor function, which uses machine learning to offer you suggestions to improve your writing. In addition to machine learning, Editor sought the help of trained linguists to make its suggestions more beneficial and natural for the user.

Editor is certainly not ditching the existing grammar and spell check offerings in Word, it’s simply taking these proofreading tools to a new level. Editor will look to offer suggestions to make your writing stronger by prompting writers to avoid the passive voice, avoid the use of words it deems unnecessary, as well as pointing out words that you use too often. Spelling errors will still be underlined with the red squiggle presently employed in Word and grammar errors will continue to receive a blue squiggle. Editor’s prose improvement suggestions will receive a new gold squiggle.

Users will also have the ability to customize Editor to point out slang, informal language, and cliche use among other options.

While Researcher is available now, Editor won’t be rolled out until later this year and for many students a roll-out prior to the new school year would be ideal. Microsoft promises that Editor will only be improved over time as it improves users’ writing by explaining the errors they’re making in addition to simply making suggestions.