The Office Online team has been busy adding integration across Microsoft Cloud services and extending the capabilities of what you can do with Office in your favorite browser. A number of powerful features have either been rolled out recently or are beginning to roll out now. If you haven’t used Office Online in a while, here are a few updates we’ve built and implemented based on your feedback.

Insights for Office

Imagine you came across something new in a document that you are working on and want to find out more. What if you could find the information you want without disrupting your flow and without having to open a new tab in your browser to do a search? With Insights for Office, you can bring the information you want right into Word Online, in a seamlessly integrated experience that lets you learn and explore as you are working on your documents in your OneDrive.

When you right-click on a word and select Insights, Office Online understands what you are looking for and then uses the power of Bing to bring in relevant information from a variety of sources like Bing Snapshot, Wikipedia, Bing Image Search, Oxford English Dictionary and the web—all neatly presented alongside your content. You can spend as much time as you want in the Insights experience—take a quick glance or explore details and interesting articles related to your selection, and do all this while you are working in Word Online.

For example, here is a document that talks about both the Missouri River and the state Missouri. Depending on which “Missouri” you select, Insights for Office gets it right.

Insights on the state Missouri.

Insights on the Missouri River.

To get Insights, right-click on a word you want (or select one or more words) to know more about and select Insights from the menu (or select Insights under the Review tab on the ribbon). We’ve also seen that our user’s type into the Tell Me box to find more information, so naturally, we added Insights through Tell Me as well—just type what you are looking for and Office Online will get you the right insights. Please note that Insights for Office is available in Word Online in the Editing View (Click View to ensure that you have Editing View selected).

Make sure you are in the Editing View.

Different ways of getting Insights for Office.

Enhanced PDF support

Have you ever opened a PDF document with text embedded in images and then tried to select or copy text? If you’re in this situation, typically you might copy the image with text or even worse, manually transcribe the text in order to make it editable. Now we have a solution.

The example below is actually a photo taken using a phone, but it could have been any scanned file or image with typed text. Now you can copy the text straight from the image and even search the text clicking the FIND button!

You can also convert the PDF into an editable Word document by clicking the EDIT IN WORD button. From there you can edit the document in your web browser or in any other Word client you prefer. When you convert a PDF into a Word document, the layout and formatting are reconstructed. That means you get to keep all of your tables, lists, headers, font size and other properties. And the original PDF will be left intact, because a new Word document is created for you.

This feature works the best with documents that are mostly text, such as legal, business and scientific documents. If a PDF contains mostly graphics and diagrams, like a presentation or a brochure, the converter might have a little trouble with the layout or formatting. Do you think you have a file that is too complex for us? Give it a try and let us know how well we did via the HELP IMPROVE OFFICE!


Pages have always been an integral part of the Word editing experience. Not only in polishing or printing documents but also in how we author and structure our documents. Most people refer to the length of a document in pages or refer to a specific piece using the pages as an anchor by saying something like “it’s in the second paragraph on page four.” We know that you take pride in creating polished well—structured documents that make an impact. We’ve been making some improvements in Word Online to help you make the best of your authoring experience. You will now can see where pages end in the document.

Whether it’s moving the two lines that slipped to the page below or fixing that table that is spanning across pages, editing in Word Online is now a much more powerful experience with visible page boundaries. Work with pages like you always have before!

We also put the number of pages in your document and the current page you’re on in the status bar. That way you can keep a tab on how long your document is and find that paragraph on a particular page. Meeting Professor Smith’s guideline is now easier than ever! With the added power of pages, creating those great looking documents is easier than ever.

Insert symbols

Have you ever been writing a document and had the need to insert a symbol that isn’t part of your standard keyboard layout? Maybe you’re writing about another company and you really need the copyright © symbol or perhaps an international currency symbol like £ or ¥. We heard stories from people who would get creative and find Alt key combinations or use a search engine to copy and paste the single special character from some other content. Wouldn’t it be easier to have Symbols in Office Online?

Well, we’ve been hearing that feedback loud and clear and we’re in the process of rolling out the Symbols gallery under the Insert tab so you can easily add symbols into your documents, presentations and notes.

With this gallery you can insert some of the most popular symbols in Word. Just go to the Insert tab, click the Symbols gallery, and then click the symbol you like and it will be inserted in your document with the current font. And this feature is not just limited to Word Online—you can also insert these in PowerPoint Online and OneNote Online, too!

Not seeing the symbol you need? We totally understand—unfortunately, we weren’t able to include all of the symbols in the gallery in its first version. We’re always listening, though, and we’re counting on you to tell us which symbols you still need. If there are any symbols you needed but couldn’t find, definitely click that Request a New Symbol button at the bottom of the gallery to let us know.

Tell Me

Tell Me has been around in Office Online for quite a while now and people frequently use it to get things done more efficiently and quickly—you actually might be one of them! But we are not done yet—we are continuously listening to feedback to figure out more ways to make Tell Me even more helpful. Here are a few things we have recently added to Tell Me.

You already heard about Insights—you can now type a topic you are interested in into the Tell Me box and access rich information about it. Besides that, we added two more features to Tell Me.

The first one is Word Count. Of course, Word Online has been showing the number of words in your document for a long time (the number is displayed in the lower left-hand corner of the browser window). But we also saw a lot of users turning to Tell Me to ask about the word count—so we decided to add it to Tell Me. You now can type “word count” or “number of words” or “how many words” (remember, Tell Me lets you use the language you are comfortable with) and the result will be the new Word Count command. Click it—et voila, the number of words is shown right there.

The second change is more far-reaching in that it affects a number of different commands. We enabled Tell Me to not only show commands that are available directly on the ribbon, but to also surface commands that are hidden away in sub-menus. For example, if you want to change your document’s paper size to A4, you now only need to type something like “size a4″ and Tell Me will present you the “A4 Page Size” command directly in its drop-down—no need to click into the “Page Size” sub-menu anymore. This makes it even easier to get to the command that fits your intent fast and efficiently! Of course, Tell Me still also shows the “Page Size” command, so you can easily get to other options.

Tell us what you think about Office Online

On the Office Online Team, we value our users and what you have to say about our product. We are continuously listening to you through our various feedback channels seeking for improvements. Traditionally, you would visit the Microsoft Answers Community Forums for support questions and privately submit feedback through our Help Improve Office mechanism from within Word, Excel or PowerPoint Online. Today we’re excited to introduce a new and more effective way to provide us ideas and suggestions.

Please visit the Word Online, Excel Online and PowerPoint Online Feedback Forums and immediately see suggestions provided by other members in the Office Online community. You can type your own suggestions in the “Enter your idea” box along with a description as shown in the illustration below. As you type, other suggestions that match yours will be shown. You can vote for suggestions, including your own. You have 10 votes and can use up to 3 votes per suggestion; you get your votes back once the ideas you’ve voted for have been fulfilled by us.

While we cannot guarantee a response to every post, we promise to listen to each and every suggestion. To help us more effectively address your needs, please provide detailed and constructive feedback telling us what you want and why you want it. The more information you can provide us the better. So you want your voice to be heard? Get started and visit Word Online UserVoice, Excel Online UserVoice and PowerPoint Online UserVoice today (for OneNote feedback, visit OneNote UserVoice).

All of these capabilities have already started rolling out and you can try them at!