Unleash your inner creative with new features in Office 365

Published by Caroline Carlin on

Author:  Caroline Carlin, TELT

Microsoft Office for Office 365 (available to UCLan staff on your Surface Pro from July) comes with a raft of great new features.  So many in fact, that we’ve split it over two blog posts.  This week, it’s a whistle-stop tour of our favourite new features to boost your creativity in the most common apps.  Next week, we’ll look specifically at the new tools designed to enhance inclusivity and accessibility.

We’ll be adding many of these new features to existing TELT sessions, and in some cases creating entirely new workshops to get you up and running with the new Office 365 capabilities on your Surface Pro.  Keep an eye on the e3hub or email us for further info.

Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook

You can now insert a whole range of icons (e.g. medical, food and drink, education, weather, sports) into your documents, presentations, spreadsheets and emails, which can be resized and recoloured.

3D models can be a great way to bring your documents and presentations to life and illustrate a point.  Insert models you’ve already created, browse the online library, Remix 3D in the app (Insert – 3D Model – From Online Sources) or try creating your own Windows 10 Paint 3D models.  Models can be rotated, tilted and zoomed.

Word, Excel and PowerPoint

You can use your Surface Pro pen to write and draw directly into documents, spreadsheets and presentations. But what if you wanted to revisit how you created a particular language character, or what the thought process was behind your flow chart?  You can use Ink Replay to view a recording of your inking, which can be paused and replayed.


Switch on Ink Editor in Word (Draw ribbon) to use your Surface Pro pen to make quick edits to documents.  Strike through text to delete it, circle it to get formatting options and quickly split and combine words.


PowerPoint for Office 365 comes with some great new features offering the potential to transform your slides.

The new Zoom feature in PowerPoint means you can move away from the traditional linear presentation. Zoom gives your slide show or flipped classroom content a completely different feel, encouraging discussion and conversation and enabling you and your audience to decide where to go next.

If you’ve inserted a 3D object onto your slide, you’ll have the option of new 3d animations such as Turntable and Swing to automatically see different views of your 3D model.

Take things a step further with the new Morph transition.  Using Morph you can smoothly move any objects across slides (text, images, shapes) to create an almost cinematic experience.

If you’re lacking a little inspiration (and time), you could try the new Designer.  Designer will look at the content of your presentation and suggest design ideas based on any images, dates and diagrams to give you a professional looking result.

Sad to see the demise of Office Mix?  PowerPoint for Office 365 has a Recording tab where you can record narrations (with a talking head if required), insert screen recordings, annotate slides and then package it all up as a video or slide show to share with your students.  Save slide shows or videos to OneDrive to get a link to share with your students, or upload videos to Stream or embed directly into Blackboard. In the future, videos uploaded to Stream will have the ability to include interactive elements such as quizzes and their associated analytics. To add the Recording tab to PowerPoint:

  1. Go to File and Options
  2. Choose Customise Ribbon
  3. Select the Recording Check Box

And…your Surface Pro pen is now a PowerPoint clicker!  No need for any complicated add-ons or updates, just make sure your pen is paired with your Surface, launch your slide show and click away.


3D Maps in Excel do just what you’d expect – create 3D visualisations of your data within maps. If your data includes dates or times you can create a geographical tour of how your data has changed over time and then create a video of your tour to share with others.

For something a little simpler, new Map Charts enable you to plot and compare geographical values in a map rather than a regular chart.

Example of Excel map chart

Excel Map Chart


In the past we’ve only been able to link to online videos in OneNote but now we can embed them right on the page. Embed content from sites such as Stream, YouTube, TED Talks and Lynda.com (preview) using the Insert Online Video option.

How to get all these great new features

UCLan staff will be able to reimage their device at UCLan Learning and Teaching Conference on 4th July by visiting the North Hub.  After the conference, visit any of the Service Hubs or contact LIS Customer Support.


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