What are Microsoft Products? Who Uses MS Office and Why? Microsoft is a developer of personal computer software. It is best known for its Windows operating system, the Internet Explorer and subsequent Microsoft Edge web browsers, the Microsoft Office family of productivity software plus services, and the Visual Studio IDE. The company also publishes books (through Microsoft Press) and video games (through Xbox Game Studios), and produces its own line of hardware. The following is a list of the notable Microsoft software Applications.
What are Microsoft Products?
The last version of Microsoft Office was Microsoft Office 2019, although the web-based Microsoft 365 is the version that Microsoft would prefer users to adopt. Various versions of the suite have been around since 1988, including but not limited to Microsoft Office Professional, Microsoft Office Home and Student, and various collections of Microsoft Office 2016. Most people still refer to any version of the suite as Microsoft Office, though, which makes distinguishing among editions difficult.
What makes Microsoft 365 stand out from older editions of MS Office is that it integrates all aspects of the apps with the cloud. It’s a subscription service, too, which means users pay a monthly or yearly fee to use it, and upgrades to newer versions are included in this price. Previous versions of Microsoft Office, including Office 2016, didn’t offer all the cloud features that Microsoft 365 does and were not subscription-based. Office 2016 was a one-time purchase, just as other editions were, and as Office 2019 is.
Who Uses MS Office and Why?
Users who purchase a Microsoft Office suite typically do so when they discover that the apps included with their operating system aren’t robust enough to meet their needs. For example, it would be nearly impossible to write a book using only Microsoft WordPad, the word processing app that is included free with all editions of Windows. But it would certainly be feasible to write a book with Microsoft Word, which offers many more features.
Businesses also use Microsoft Office. It’s the de facto standard among large corporations. The apps included in the business suites include those that can be used to manage large databases of users, perform advanced spreadsheet calculations, and create powerful and exciting presentations, complete with music and video.
Microsoft claims that over a billion people use their Office products. The Office suite is used all over the world.
Which Apps Are Included in Microsoft Office?
The apps included in a specific Microsoft Office suite depend on the Microsoft Office package you select (as does the price). Here’s a short description of the apps and their purpose:
- Word – to create documents, flyers, publications.
- PowerPoint – to organize and manipulate data including formulas, graphing tools, and more.
- Excel – to store, organize, and manipulate data.
- OneDrive – to store data online.
- OneNote – to organize data you collect including handwritten notes, drawings, screen captures, audio clips, and more.
- Publisher – to create extensive publications, posters, flyers, menus.
- Outlook – to manage email and calendars, to-do lists, and contacts.
- Access – to compile and organize large amounts of data.
Microsoft has designed the applications in the suites to work together seamlessly. If you take a look at the list above you can imagine how many combinations of apps can be used together. For instance, you can write a document in Word and save it to the cloud using OneDrive. You can write an email in Outlook and attach a presentation you’ve created with PowerPoint. You can import contacts from Outlook to Excel to create a spreadsheet of the people you know, their names, addresses, and so on.
Techopedia Explains Microsoft Office
The core components of Microsoft Office are the six items present in the original package, notwithstanding the later addition of services like OneDrive and SharePoint and a web design tool called FrontPage.
The six core programs in Microsoft Office are:
These could be separated into what you might call the “three greater applications” and the “three lesser applications” that receive much lower use by the average end-user.
The Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications in Microsoft Office are familiar household names, even to people who are not familiar with the details of the Office suite’s evolution. They are often used by a diverse user base, for example, college students, interns, or front line workers in IT. By contrast, someone may use Word, Excel and PowerPoint frequently, and rarely or never use Access, Publisher or OneNote.
The three major Microsoft Office pieces include the word processor (Word), the spreadsheet (Excel) and the visual presentation tool (PowerPoint.)
Access is a database management tool, while Publisher allows for the presentation of various marketing materials.
History of Microsoft Office
Another way to understand how Microsoft Office has evolved over the years is to look at the three different ways that the software has been delivered to users.
First, there was out of the box software licensing. Users bought Microsoft Office in a box in a brick and mortar store (or by mail,) and used a compact disc inside to download the software onto a workstation.
The out of the box model held though the era of the floppy disk and the early days of the compact disc, but eventually, this bulky and cumbersome method of software purchasing was replaced by a system where users downloaded the software over the Internet. Passcodes and license keys insured against unauthorized use.
The third delivery method that is now replacing the other two is web delivery or delivery through “the cloud.”
Cloud delivery means that the actual application service is delivered over the Internet, so that no downloading is necessary. The provider also does not have to protect as much against unauthorized use because the actual data storage and utility are taking place in the vendor’s “walled garden.”
One thing that’s remarkable about Microsoft Office is its staying power. Through the cloud era, enterprise software has changed quite a bit. Amazon Web Services took over large swaths of the cloud services industry. However, Microsoft’s new Office 365 model continues to remain a popular office suite in today’s post-cloud world.
At the same time, Microsoft Office also has started to get built into mobile phones, and the addition of add-ins and plug-ins was another major evolution. Today, users can use Microsoft Office 2019 or take advantage of Office Web Apps for Apple or Android.
Although some other types of cloud word processors like Grammarly and Hemingway have presented options for specific types of editing, Microsoft Word still remains by far the most popular word processor of its kind.
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