Microsoft 365, which is the new name for the apps and services that used to be called Office 365, is the office suite that everyone else tries to match. It works almost everywhere, with full-featured versions for Windows, macOS, iOS, and Android, as well as slick web-based versions. Microsoft 365 has all the features of cloud-only suites like Google Workspace that let people work together, plus the speed, security, and ability to work offline that disk-based apps have. The internet would have you believe, wrongly, that Bill Gates’s standing vertical jump over some office furniture was Microsoft’s greatest achievement.
Microsoft 365: Description
Even though that was impressive, Microsoft’s real legacy is the Windows operating system, the Xbox game consoles, and one of the most reliable, widely used, and well-known office suites ever made. During the show that came before CES, COMDEX, in 1988, Microsoft competed with office suites like StarOffice and AppleWorks by putting its hat in the ring. Two years later, Microsoft Office for Windows 3.0 came out. It included Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, all of which were already very good productivity programs. In 1992, Microsoft released Windows 3.1 and added the database program Access to Office.
And by 1993, Microsoft had become the most popular GUI operating system. Its Office suite was better than those of WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3, giving it a large share of the market. Microsoft 365 is the most popular set of software for getting work done from Microsoft. It has well-known products like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, as well as products like Outlook, OneNote, and OneDrive that aren’t as well-known. It has been the standard in productivity software for a long time, and that is still true today. But in the Microsoft 365 universe, there are also a lot of changes.
Microsoft 365: Pros and Cons
Office 365 protects your data centres and servers with the right biometric access and stops all bad things from happening. The cloud-based Microsoft Office software has built-in antivirus and advanced encryption to protect user assets from threats from the outside.
- Most powerful office apps of any competitor
- Available on almost all platforms
- Smooth collaboration features
- Problems accessing documents through web browsers during testing
- Automated features in Word produce some unpredictable results
- Some advanced features can be hard to access
Key Features Table
With Office 365, your business can store all of its files in the cloud. This means that you can get to them from anywhere with an internet connection and any device. For companies that require mobile work, being able to access all the apps and files you need when you’re not in the office is very important.
|Applications||Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and more|
|Cloud Storage||OneDrive storage for file backup and collaboration|
|Email Hosting||Exchange Online for professional email communication|
|Communication Tools||Microsoft Teams for chat, video meetings, and collaboration|
|Collaboration Features||Real-time co-authoring, file sharing, and commenting|
|Security and Compliance||Advanced security features, data loss prevention, and compliance tools|
|Device Compatibility||Compatible with Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android devices|
|Updates and Support||Regular software updates and access to Microsoft support|
|Pricing Options||Different plans available, including personal and business plans|
Microsoft 365: Design and Interface
When it comes to the look and style of its office suite, Microsoft has made a name for itself. Microsoft 365 has been around for 30 years, but its look is still the same. If you’ve ever used a version of Microsoft’s office suite, the look and feel of the software is always the same, no matter how much it has changed. Being the most popular office suite has the benefit that other software tries to copy it instead of making something new. This is mostly seen in suites like LibreOffice, where the goal is to figure out how Microsoft’s products work and make them available for free.
This puts Microsoft in a position where its design, interface, and layouts are seen as the gold standard. This means that even if you’ve never used Microsoft software before, you almost feel like you know how to use it. The design of the whole suite and its online versions is the same, so you can be sure you know how to use each program. If you know how to use Windows 10’s File Explorer, you can use any of the apps in Microsoft 365. The ribbon toolbar is used in a lot of Windows 10 and Microsoft programs, which makes navigation easier than ever and makes the programs look great, too.
When all of the formatting, design, and creative options can be put into one contextual menu without losing what is already there, the cluttered drop-down menus of the past feel like old, dusty relics. The most-used tools will always be easy to find, so you can spend less time looking for them and more time working on the task at hand. The ribbon is also fully customizable, so you can make changes or add and remove tools depending on what you need. In each program, you can get even faster formatting options by right-clicking on any element. This brings up a floating contextual menu that lets you make changes to formatting, editing, or layout in a flash.
Microsoft 365: Automation and Hidden Complexity
Some of the things that Word does automatically can be annoying, though. For example, you might not want Word to format ordinals (the letters that come after the numbers in 1st and 2nd), but it does so automatically unless you backspace over the ordinal number and type it again. If you want to turn off this automatic feature, you’ll need to know enough about Word to go to Options > Proofing > AutoCorrect Options > AutoFormat. Not many users will figure this out on their own. Word also has other bad habits, like adding horizontal lines when you type a series of hyphens. This is another feature that is set up automatically and needs more than one step to turn off. The huge Options menu in Word gives you an idea of how many settings you can change to change how Word formats and manages files.
Word’s powerful Styles feature lets you choose a set of layout and formatting options that can be easily applied to a section of text. When you apply a style, Word sometimes, but not always, removes any formatting that was already there, like italics. When things are like this, Word seems hard to predict. Most of the time, this is because Microsoft doesn’t explain how it applies styles. When you apply a style, Word will remove any formatting that is already there if it affects more than half of the text in the paragraph. I only know this because someone inside Microsoft who didn’t want to be named told me years ago.
In the almost 40 years that Word has been around, many of its most powerful and once-prominent features have slowly disappeared from the interface. However, experts who know where to look can still find them. Word was one of the first programs to use variables in fields. If you put the title of your book in a field called BookTitle, Word will use that title everywhere else in your document. If you decide to change the title in the future, say from War and Peace to Captain Underpants, you could just change the text in the field to make every instance reflect the new title. This feature isn’t on the ribbon toolbar in the current version of Word, but the help system tells you what keys to press to use it.
Microsoft 365: Features
Most people already know that Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint have a good name. Microsoft’s three most important pieces of productivity software have been in development for close to a century, and their names are now often used as shorthand for the tasks they do. The paid versions of these apps in Microsoft 365 come with new tools and features that make them even better than they already are. Editor is one of these paid features that is meant to improve your writing in more ways than just checking for spelling and grammar.
Working with Editor, Microsoft Word now scans your work for ways it could be improved, giving you suggestions on how to make your writing clearer and shorter or how to change the order of your sentences. It can also be changed in any way you want, which is great if you want to make things fit your own writing style. Do you write less often than others? You can tell Editor not to worry so much about contractions, slang, and opinion markers by changing the formality checks in the settings.
You can even keep track of any gender, age, or racial biases so that your writing is easy to read for as many people as possible. Presenter Coach is a paid tool in PowerPoint that is similar. This tool is powered by AI and lets you practice your presentations and get feedback on your timing, pitch, and how you might use sensitive language. Presenter Coach will also catch all the awkward filler words we say when we’re nervous, which will help you prepare and remember your presentation better.
After every rehearsal, the Presenter Coach tells you how long it took and what words you should avoid. It also keeps track of how well you kept the presentation moving on average and how different it was from what was on the slides. It’s a great way to boost your confidence and get feedback on your projects without making your friends and family go wild with mock presentations that make them feel like they have to be nice to you.
Microsoft 365: Support
Microsoft is one of the best companies when it comes to helping customers. Even with plans for consumers, the company is always quick to respond and works hard to fix problems. When we asked the company a question through its online chat window, we got a response and an answer in just four minutes.
Some apps let users get help right in the app, but we suggest going to the Microsoft support website. This huge collection of how-to guides, video tutorials, and community forums has almost every answer to a problem. It has the best online support centre we’ve seen for this type of software, and there is a lot of advice and help for businesses.
Microsoft can also be reached by phone and online chat by businesses. Naturally, the more expensive plans offer faster and more responsive service. As part of the advanced cyberthreat detection services that come with premium plans, Microsoft’s skilled technicians and cybersecurity experts are also on call.
Microsoft 365: Pricing
A Microsoft 365 Personal subscription costs $69.99 per year and gives one user access to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, and Skype apps on up to five devices. It also gives you 1TB of cloud storage on OneDrive. You also get Sway, which lets you make interactive online reports and presentations, forms for making surveys and quizzes, and the To Do app from Microsoft. The Microsoft 365 Family tier gives up to six people access to the same apps and gives each person 1TB of storage on OneDrive. This level of subscription also gives you access to the paid version of the Microsoft Family app.
Early in 2023, Microsoft announced an even cheaper option called Microsoft 365 Basic. It gives you 100GB of storage on OneDrive and only the web and mobile versions of the apps, but it only costs $1.99 per month or $19.99 per year. Google Workspace’s Business Starter and Business Standard plans cost $6 and $12 per month, respectively. These prices are about the same. Microsoft’s prices are much higher than SoftMaker Office, which costs between $29.90 and $49.90 per year, but SoftMaker doesn’t include web-based apps and only has a beta version of an Android app.
Microsoft 365 Business plans start at $5 per user per month and go up to $20 per user per month for the Business Premium plan. All Business plans have more cloud services than Personal plans, like Teams, SharePoint, and Microsoft Exchange. Apps only for Windows Publisher, which lets you make layouts that are too complicated for Word, and Access, which lets you make databases, are also included in the Business packages. Users who pay for Business Premium get tools for managing mobile devices and the Azure Information Protection service.
So, that’s everything you need to know about Microsoft 365. We think this digital ecosystem is the best office software you can buy, and we hope you agree. Microsoft 365 combines the power of cloud technology in OneDrive with apps like Word, OneNote, PowerPoint, and Excel that are great for making documents and getting work done.
We also can’t forget about Microsoft Teams, which is an all-in-one digital communications platform that makes sure your employees work as well as they can. We’ve also explained the different ways businesses can sign up for subscriptions. There’s a plan for every organization, whether it’s a small group of five people, a group of 50 people working in different places, or a large business with hundreds or even thousands of workers.
With a Microsoft 365 subscription, you can use the full versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and other programs on your computer, phone, and the web. It also makes sure that you always have the most recent versions of the apps, unlike with a standalone copy of Office.
Microsoft 365 is a subscription service that gives you the latest versions of Microsoft’s Office apps. With Microsoft 365 Family, you can install Microsoft 365 on all of your devices and sign in to five of them at the same time. This means you can use Office no matter where you are or what device you’re on.