Microsoft Office set for Cortana “Work Assistant”

Leaked images of a new assistant for Microsoft Office on Windows Phone have shed some light on how Cortana, Microsoft's virtual assistant, may be integrated into the app.

The screenshots come from WindowsblogItalia (via Tech2), and show a "Work Assistant" that acts as a base for all Office documents and accepts voice commands. According to the site, the word that activates the app to voice commands will be Office'.

ZDNet reports Microsoft is currently testing the Office assistant internally, and the project reportedly has Bill Gates closely involved.

Gates mentioned working on a "Personal Agent" project on Reddit recently, saying: "One project I am working on with Microsoft is the Personal Agent which will remember everything and help you go back and find things and help you pick what things to pay attention to.

"The idea that you have to find applications and pick them and they each are trying to tell you what is new is just not [an] efficient model the agent will help solve this. It will work across all you devices."

According to The Verge, Microsoft's ultimate goal is to integrate the virtual assistant into Office on both mobile and desktop platforms, which could become a reality very soon. This includes Android and iOS devices, in keeping with Microsoft's current commitment to making Office more widely available.

Previous reports stated that Windows 10 then known as Windows 9 would ship with Cortana. At the launch event for the operating system, Microsoft confirmed that Cortana would indeed be introduced across all Windows devices.

Caroline Preece

Caroline has been writing about technology for more than a decade, switching between consumer smart home news and reviews and in-depth B2B industry coverage. In addition to her work for IT Pro and Cloud Pro, she has contributed to a number of titles including Expert Reviews, TechRadar, The Week and many more. She is currently the smart home editor across Future Publishing's homes titles.

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