Office 365 Home Premium has just got a shot in the arm. Microsoft has announced Bing Apps for Office, which brings maps, dictionary, and news search to the popular software suite.

Microsoft has already integrated Bing with apps on Windows 8, Windows Phone and Xbox. Bing Apps for Office is a free service but can only be used with the Home Premium variant of Office 365. The five apps announced for Office are Bing Finance for Excel, Bing Maps for Excel, Bing Image Search for Word, Bing News Search for Word and Bing Dictionary for Excel and Word.

Pricey but good value

Now you can use Bing Apps to enhance your Word documents and Excel sheets

Bing Maps for Office lets you plot location data on a Bing Map. Microsoft said, “It’s a data visualisation tool for Excel that lets you use location names and map controls so you can zoom in and out of the map using touch or your mouse. You can adjust the map view to road or birds eye. Imagine overlaying census data on a state map.”

The Bing Finance app is currently in beta mode and lets users generate financial portfolios within Excel. Users will have access to real-time financial data like stock prices within the program.

The Bing Dictionary app is pretty self-explanatory, but Microsoft has introduced a nice feature. The blog says, “Aren’t sure of how to spell something? Simply enter words as they sound and Bing can suggest letters, words or phrases, optionally specified by part-of-speech.

Bing Image Search for Office lets you search for images from within a document by typing in the search box. Any result can be inserted into the Word document using the Insert Plus option. Finally, Bing News Search for Office lets you search for news and video content from within a Word document. Search results can be added to the document and you can also add your most frequent searches to a favourites list.

Office 365 is Microsoft’s attempt at starting a subscription service for its popular suite of applications. It gives users access to the most recent version of the Office programs (currently Office 2013) on up to five devices. The subscription will add 20GB to your SkyDrive account and give you 60 free minutes of calls on Skype every month. You can even download and run a temporary session of any Office program on someone else’s PC. In India, the service is available for Rs 420 per month or at a yearly subscription rate of Rs 4,199.

If you are unsure about whether to use the Office 365 subscription service or buy a copy of Microsoft Office 13, our recent comparison should clarify things to an extent.

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