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Suggested Images and Visual Emphasis in Word – a mystery new feature

Suggested Images and Add Visual Emphasis options have appeared in our Microsoft Word … looks like a new but not yet announced feature.

We’ve been editing Word documents with Word in a browser, when a small blue diamond icon appears in the left margin:

Clicking on it added a Stock Image to the top of the document, a Suggested Image based, apparently, on the document title.

“Stock image was added to your document”

Stock image was added to your document

We’ve never seen these ‘Suggested Images’ before and, annoyingly, they’ve not reappeared.

Suggested Images aren’t part of Word Designer which applies to the whole document and isn’t based on the words in the document.

The suggested image isn’t always appropriate, the choice is made by Microsoft’s cloud systems based on the document text. However, even if you accept the suggested picture, you can always change it to another picture or delete the photo.

Add visual emphasis to text

We found other similar diamonds on another document, this time labelled “Add visual emphasis to text”. 

When you click on the diamond, the selected text is copied into a text box which is added above that paragraph.

There are buttons to accept or reject the addition. Also add a Comment. Under the … button is an option to turn off suggestions.

Less obvious is the a drop down list of borders for the text box, look for the button to the right of the thumbnail.

Or you can open the text box and make changes, just like any other text box. That includes changing the text.

The current system automatically chooses the text that Microsoft’s system thinks is worthy of emphasising. Feel free to change that to other text that you want to highlight.

Once you’ve added a visual emphasis element, it’s a normal part of a Word document. You can copy the text box to other parts of the document for a consistent look.

First opinions

This feature is clearly a ‘work in progress’ for Word in a browser. It may change appearance from how we’ve seen it above or disappear completely.

We don’t mind the concept but it’s frustrating that the additional formatting options only appear when Microsoft’s cloud system thinks it’s appropriate.

That automated judgement isn’t always right, despite Microsoft’s belief in their “AI” infallibility.

It would be better if the customer could also invoke these formatting options manually, for example selecting text then choosing to ‘Add Visual Emphasis’ or asking for a Suggested Image to accompany a heading.

What to do

If a Suggested Image or Visual Emphasis icon does appear in your document, give it a try or ignore the blue diamond.

Any suggested image or formatting changes can be removed later (Undo Ctrl + Z) so there’s no harm done.

It one of the little curiosities that can appear when working with Microsoft’s cloud services.  Those services can and do change features even though your software hasn’t been updated.

Stock images or premium content now in Microsoft 365
Now there’s Stock videos for your PowerPoint slides
Cartoon People and a lot more in Microsoft Office 365

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