We've been Spokespersons for Microsoft for about a year now. A few weeks ago, we had the chance to bond with other Champions (as we're called), try out all sorts of products, and get a sneak peak at what's coming.
We have a lot to say but, for now, will leave it to three key takeaways.
Office 365 is going places.
While Microsoft Word is the office app that is most critical to our business, we are full-stop crazy fans of OneNote. As OneNote power users, we should be finding all sorts of use gaps and areas of opportunity. The truth is that we can’t; it seems pretty near perfect to us. And yet, with each new release we get great features like audio recording, the ability to search handwritten notes, and deleted notes recovery. We love when things get more perfect!
Speaking of OneNote… Our favorite new enhancement to OneNote isn’t actually in OneNote, it’s Microsoft’s OneNote companion app, Lens. With Lens, you can quickly snap a photo of a menu, sign, whiteboard, etc. and have the app crop it perfectly, scan it for the text, and provide you with a very readable and fully searchable image. The user experience is dead simple, which makes the whole thing feel kind of like magic.
Office for Mac (which we’ll cover in another post) been in preview for some time now, and – having experienced it as it moves through frequent updates – we see that it is almost ready for it’s grand debut. We're absolutely crazy about the simplified but still robust user experience. Remember, when it does leave preview, anyone with an active Office 365 account will have it immediately available for download.
Sway is getting rock solid.
While out in Redmond, we had a chance to spend some time in the Design Lab chatting with the brilliant minds behind some of Microsoft’s coolest innovations (don’t ask, we can’t tell!). Even more exciting for us, though, was to pick the brains of the designers behind Office 365 apps and Sway, one of our favorite new products.
When we started using sway shortly after the preview was announced, we could see that it had a bright future. Despite some early bugs, we were sold on the way it facilitated rich, digital story-telling. Fast forward several months and Sway has really grown up. The wrinkles have been ironed out and the tool has been expanded to include a ton of new features, from innovative ways to present images to rapid formatting options that make editing a breeze.
YouthSpark is lighting a fire.
We believe that giving back should be embedded in everything. In fact, we have a page pretty much devoted to that idea. That is why we are so proud of what Microsoft is doing with YouthSpark (and other altruistic initiatives). YouthSpark is a series of summer coding camps aimed at engaging, inspiring, and educating youth around coding. If you have kids, know kids, or are just a good person who wants to learn more about expanding opportunities for kids, then click here to learn more.
That's it for now, but we'll have a lot of fun articles coming up. For starters, we're Apple hardware users but have started to test out Surface Pro 3s. Watch for a showdown post similar to the one we just did on cloud storage solutions). We're also using both an AppleWatch and a Microsoft Band. While not entirely similar (like, at all!), we're having a lot of fun experimenting with wearables and look forward to writing more about that.