Part 2: The new features

In a previous blog we looked at the Perpetual Office and what to look out for in terms of deployment and expectations. If you have not seen it please take a look at Office 2019 is coming – part 1

As I said, if you are an Office 365 subscriber you will have already seen these features appearing in updates, and the others will come to you soon. For the Microsoft Office one-purchases here is a summary:


General updates

  • Inking Features: Mainly geared to the Microsoft Surface product range, many applications such as PowerPoint will include improved inking features, including roaming pencil case capabilities and smart alignment, allowing users to move objects using their pen or write directly on slides.
  • Simplified Ribbon: The ribbon is getting an overhaul to simplify it. The response Microsoft have been getting from customers is the ribbon feels too full and cluttered.
  • Built-in Search: A search bar will provide a more insightful way to find information. Besides the user being able to write in the search bar themselves, the system also uses the power of artificial intelligence to help them by giving search recommendations. This will be enhanced in Office Pro with the power of Delve.
  • Office Sounds: Enable sound effects to enhance your productivity in Microsoft Office by providing audio cues. For example, a sound cue might notify you when options on the screen change. Or, a sound can confirm that an action (such as send a mail, delete something, or paste content) actually completed.



  • Custom Functions: Excel extends its built-in programming model using JavaScript. This gives you the ability to create and use custom functions that work like any other function, even those you may have created using VBA. The advantage of using JavaScript to create functions is they can run on Windows, Mac and in Excel Online.
  • New Charts: Excel will release Funnel charts and 2D & 3D maps. Maps are not a new feature, you may say we have had them since Excel Version 5. That’s true, but not like this. This update will provide statistical information and connected metadata relating to your own table data.
  • Power BI Publishing: The ability to publish data into the various editions of Power BI to report on your data.
  • Power enhancements: Enhancements to both PowerPivot and PowerQuery tools.



  • Dictation: Dictation or “speech-to-text” (not to be confused with text-to-speech) has been a feature Microsoft have been longing to include for some time but with many challenges. Powered by Microsoft Speech Services, Dictate is already available to Office ProPlus users. I already use this feature and I have to say it is quite impressively accurate compared to past attempts.
  • Learning Tools: An “Immersive” tab that provides functionality such as viewing syllables in words, use text spacing reading content in inverted white on black or sepia format. Plus access to the “read aloud” function. Sadly, still no Cortana to read to you, just Microsoft George, Sue and Hazel who have been with Windows for some time.
  • Improved Accessibility: Tools that help you make your Word documents accessible to people with challenges in their abilities. The Accessibility Checker tool identifies errors and warnings with suggestions to improve your documents such as alternative text, hyperlink text in screen images, contrast issues with use of colours and so much more.



  • Zoom Capabilities: Zoom allows you to create dynamic sections of your presentation, that jump to and from specific slides, sections, and portions of your presentation in an order you decide while you're presenting. This is a more intuitive method to custom slides which can be used whilst in presentation mode.
  • Morphing Transition: A new and very cool (sorry, it’s the American in me) transition is coming to you. Duplicate a slide, move objects around, apply the Morph transition to the second slide, and then watch as the presentation animates the changes by zooming, growing, and changing objects through a smooth gradual animated transition.
  • Icons and SVG: As well as adding SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), PowerPoint now comes with a range of icons that you can add, resize, reshape and colour. Rather than using font symbols (wingdings or Webdings) or creating your own from multiple grouped AutoShapes, you can now add simple vector style images to suit your needs. Anyone with experience in past versions knows you could add clipart, ungroup and manipulate it yourself. This is very similar in the sense you can convert an Icon to shape and manipulate it with ease.
  • 3D models: You can insert 3D models onto your slides. These come with some excellent animations as well as other features. Just try adding a 3D emoticon and not be impressed as you drag the object around on any axis, or animate it so it nods or shakes its head.


If you are not an Office 365 subscriber and want to preview the new Office 2019, you can join the Office 2019 Commercial Preview Support program using this link.


Visit for more information on QA’s Office 365 courses.