The Microsoft Research (MSR) teams around the world are always cooking up clever new bits of code, and many of them get incorporated into new products as they roll off production lines in the future. However, they aren’t part of the product teams in the conventional sense – they have much more latitude to play with ideas, and come up with ideas which aren’t solely linked to products. (As opposed to the developers, eg in the Office team, who’s job it is to make sure they build new features into their specific products).
But sometimes the two worlds come together – as with the Chemistry Add-In for Word from the team in Microsoft Research Cambridge. Working with the Unilever Centre for Molecular Science Informatics, they’ve come up with an add-in that makes it easier for students and researchers to include chemical information – such as labels, formulas and 2-D depictions, within a Word document. And easy to edit afterwards.
And the bonus news is that this is free. So you can delight your science department at no cost.
If you want to find out if your science teachers would find this useful, there’s a short video to demonstrate what it does, and a User Guide (which, intriguingly, on page 15 has advice on how to “Edit an Atom” – perhaps the software’s more powerful than I imagined!)
ps You can find all of the other published downloads from Microsoft Research on their download page