Microsoft 365, formerly known as Office 365, is Microsoft’s flagship cloud subscription service that combines the power of traditional Office apps with the scalability and affordability of the cloud. It offers a wide range of apps and services for individuals, families, businesses, large enterprises, charities, and educational institutions.
What’s Included in Microsoft 365?
Microsoft 365 includes all the traditional Office Apps, such as Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and OneNote. These can be accessed online through a browser or installed on your devices, depending on your subscription plan. In addition to these, Microsoft 365 offers various personal, familial, and business-grade productivity and collaboration apps and services. The number of apps and services depends on your subscription level.
Office Online (Formerly Office Web Apps)
Microsoft offers free web versions of their classic Office products, including Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook. They also provide other free productivity and collaboration apps and services such as Calendar, To Do app, Forms, Sway, Contacts, Power Automate (formerly Flow), OneDrive, and Skype. You can take advantage of all these by simply having a Microsoft Account.
Latest Office Client Apps
The latest desktop and mobile versions of the premium Office Apps, including Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, Access (PC-only), Publisher (PC-only), and Outlook, are available for all paid Microsoft 365 subscriptions except “Microsoft 365 Business Basic.” With a subscription, you can download and use the most up-to-date version of these apps at no extra cost.
Microsoft 365 provides a professional ad-free mailbox accessible on the web (Outlook Web App) and through any email client, including the Windows 10 Mail or Outlook (the Outlook Desktop App is available for all subscriptions except “Microsoft 365 Business Basic”). It allows you to set up a custom email domain and offers up to 50 GB of email storage, as well as support for email encryption.
Skype is a multi-platform app that enables free online calls, messaging, affordable international calling to mobiles or landlines, and instant online meetings. While it is accessible and free to use for everyone, “Microsoft 365 Personal” and “Microsoft 365 Family” subscription plans also include a free 60 minutes for international phone calls each month. The business version known as “Skype for Business” has been replaced by Microsoft Teams.
OneDrive / OD4B
OneDrive can be used for free with a Microsoft account, but the free tier only provides 5GB of storage. Subscribing to Microsoft 365 gives you 1TB of cloud storage to store, sync, and share your personal files. It’s important to note that OneDrive is the product for individuals and families, whereas a separate product called OneDrive for Business (OD4B) caters to businesses and enterprises.
Microsoft Teams is a unified team collaboration tool that was initially exclusive to business and enterprise subscription plans. However, it is now available for personal and family subscriptions as well, with a lighter version accessible to everyone for free. Microsoft Teams is becoming increasingly popular, especially in larger enterprises where it competes with Slack for dominance in the market.
Microsoft Editor is an AI-powered tool that helps you improve your writing. Similar to Grammarly, it works in Word, Outlook, and even as an extension on Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, allowing you to use it on any website. While there is a free version available with a Microsoft Account, more advanced features are included in Microsoft 365 subscription plans.
Microsoft Family Safety
Microsoft Family Safety is an app for iPhone and Android devices designed to promote digital health and physical safety. It allows you to manage your kids’ screen time across Windows 10, Android, and Xbox. The app also includes a location-sharing notification system, so you can be notified when your kids leave or reach certain locations. It helps you monitor and control their access to age-appropriate content while browsing the web.
Microsoft Stream is a corporate video sharing and streaming service that enables people within an organization to upload, view, share, and comment on videos securely. It is primarily used for sharing recordings of classes, meetings, presentations, training sessions, or any other videos that aid collaboration within a team. Microsoft Stream gradually replaced the previous Office 365 Video service and is meant for enterprise private video streaming and sharing.
Exchange Online is the hosted version of Microsoft’s Exchange Server messaging platform. It provides a cloud back end for a centralized system to manage your organization’s emails, messages, calendars, and tasks. It offers advanced security capabilities, data safeguards, high reliability, e-discovery services, security across devices, easy maintenance, universal accessibility, seamless migration, in-place archive, Outlook integration, multi-geo capabilities, and IT-level phone support. Exchange Online is designed for medium-sized businesses and larger enterprises.
SharePoint Online is the cloud-based version of SharePoint Server, which allows organizations to share and manage content, knowledge, and applications for seamless collaboration across the organization. It offers a powerful search engine, customizable workflows, and is extensible through different development models and APIs. SharePoint Online powers the file storing and sharing capabilities of OneDrive for Business and Microsoft Teams.
Power Apps is a suite of apps, services, data platforms, and connectors that provide a rapid application development environment. It allows you to build custom apps with little to no code to meet your business needs. These responsive apps can connect to data, use Excel-like expressions for business logic, and run on the web, iOS, and Android devices. Power Apps can be purchased directly or through Microsoft 365 enterprise subscription plans.
Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow)
Power Automate enables task and workflow automation between your favorite services without coding skills. It can automate business processes, configure and send automatic notifications, move data between apps and services on a schedule, and even automate tasks on your own device. Power Automate connects to over 300 popular apps and services and can be purchased directly or as part of a Microsoft 365 enterprise subscription.
Power BI Pro
Power BI is a collection of self-service business intelligence software services, apps, and connectors that work together to turn your data into actionable insights. It allows you to gather and unify data from various sources to create interactive reports and dashboards. Power BI Pro includes a desktop app, online SaaS, and mobile apps for Windows, iOS, and Android. It is a self-service version focused on modern cloud BI, while the premium version offers advanced data analytics and hybrid reporting.
Microsoft Planner is a Kanban solution that simplifies task management for teams. It allows you to manage tasks in cards and on boards, making it a competitor to Trello. Planner can also be used to manage event data, attach documents to tasks, brainstorm ideas, and track project advancements. It is available for all Microsoft 365 Enterprise and Education subscription plans.
Microsoft Forms is an online survey and poll generator tool that allows you to collect feedback and organize events. You can create quizzes, questionnaires, and invitations to gather responses, along with built-in analytics. Microsoft Forms serves as a competitor to Google Forms, offering similar functionality and features. It is available for anyone with a Microsoft account or a Microsoft 365 subscription for business or enterprise.
Microsoft Sway is a presentation tool for generating web-based interactive reports, stories, and presentations. It is an easy-to-use digital storytelling app that allows you to create shareable content without the need for a presenter. Sway supports a wide range of embedded content types and sources, and it offers centralized administration and analytics for Microsoft 365 subscribers. The basic version of Sway is free for all Microsoft account holders, while premium features are available in Microsoft 365 subscription plans.
Delve is a Microsoft Graph-powered cloud-based service that helps users discover relevant information across integrated Microsoft products. It utilizes machine learning to map connections between people, documents, and content within Microsoft 365. Delve presents relevant content tailored to each individual within the organization, helping improve collaboration and knowledge sharing. It is available for Microsoft 365 Enterprise and Education subscription plans.
Project is a flexible enterprise project portfolio management (EPM & PPM) software composed of three products: Project for the web, Project Online, and Project Online desktop client. While Microsoft 365 subscriptions include a lightweight version of “Project for the web” with limited features, the preferred choice for most users is Project Online and its desktop client. Project Online is the cloud subscription version of Project Server, offering powerful project management capabilities.
Yammer is an enterprise social networking service that facilitates private communication within large organizations. It serves as the social layer spanning across Microsoft 365, incorporating integration with other apps and services. Yammer allows users to connect, engage, and collaborate with colleagues, share updates, and network with others globally. Joining Yammer requires an approved email address corresponding to the organization’s internet domain. It is available for Microsoft 365 Enterprise and Education subscription plans.
MyAnalytics, formerly known as Delve Analytics, is an application that provides actionable insights into how employees spend their time. It helps individuals and managers optimize tasks for increased efficiency by offering work pattern summaries and suggestions to improve focus, well-being, network, and collaboration. MyAnalytics focuses on increasing personal productivity for teams and individuals within an organization and is available for Microsoft 365 Enterprise (E3 & E5) subscription plans.
To-Do is a task management software that allows users to track their progress on shared to-do lists. It is available on smartphones, tablets, and computers, and free to use for anyone with a Microsoft account. Microsoft 365 subscribers have access to additional features and integration with other apps and services.
MileIQ is a mileage tracking and reporting app that automatically logs and records your miles while driving. It creates a complete record of all your tax-deductible and reimbursable mileage, distinguishing between personal and business drives. MileIQ offers detailed reports and insights accessible via an advanced dashboard on laptops, tablets, and smartphones. It is available for Microsoft 365 Business Standard and Microsoft 365 Business Premium subscribers.
Bookings allows you to manage your clients’ bookings and schedule appointments. It integrates with your staff’s Outlook calendar to avoid double bookings and enables you to conduct appointments virtually via Skype or Teams. Bookings offers customization options for various scheduling needs, both internal and external, across services and departments. It is available for Microsoft 365 Enterprise subscription plans.
Microsoft Lists is an app that helps you create advanced lists to track information and organize your work within your organization. You can use it to manage issues, inventory, event agendas, status reports, FAQs, business trip approvals, and more. Lists can be created from the Microsoft Lists homepage or directly within Microsoft Teams using templates. They can also be used in SharePoint, PowerApps, or as part of a Power Automate Workflow. Microsoft Lists integrates seamlessly with the rest of the Microsoft 365 ecosystem and is available for Microsoft 365 Enterprise subscription plans.
Microsoft Kaizala is a secure messaging and work management mobile app designed for collaboration within and outside organizations. It offers instant messaging, task coordination, and invoicing features, positioning itself as a business version of WhatsApp with team collaboration and task management functionalities. Unlike Microsoft Teams, which requires Microsoft Account authentication, Kaizala users only need a phone number to start using the app for free. Premium features are available with a Kaizala Pro subscription or a Microsoft 365 Business Basic subscription.
Microsoft Whiteboard is a free-form, digital canvas that allows people, content, and ideas to come together. It facilitates brainstorming and collaboration among teams, whether they are in the same place or distributed across multiple locations. Team members can work collaboratively in real-time using the Windows 10 or iOS apps, as well as the web app. Sign-in with a Microsoft account or Microsoft 365 account is required to use the apps or web app.
Microsoft Workplace Analytics uses data from everyday work within Microsoft 365 to connect collaboration patterns with business outcomes. It provides actionable insights to optimize business processes, identify patterns and behaviors that lead to success, and measure the impact on business outcomes. Workplace Analytics analyzes company-wide patterns at a higher level to improve them and measure the business impact of optimizations. It differs from MyAnalytics, which focuses on increasing personal productivity for teams and individuals. Workplace Analytics is available for Microsoft 365 Enterprise subscription plans.
Microsoft Intune is a cloud-based service focused on mobile device management (MDM) and mobile application management (MAM). It allows organizations to control how mobile phones, tablets, and laptops are used within their environment and configure specific policies to control applications. Intune also enables secure implementation of a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) strategy, ensuring data protection and isolation of organizational data from personal data. Intune is part of Microsoft’s Enterprise Mobility + Security (EMS) suite and integrates with Azure Active Directory (AAD) and Azure Information Protection. It is available for Microsoft 365 Business Premium and Microsoft 365 Enterprise subscription plans.
Azure Information Protection
Azure Information Protection (AIP) is a cloud-based solution that enables organizations to classify and protect files, documents, and emails by applying labels. These labels can be applied automatically by administrators using rules and conditions, manually by users, or by a combination of both. Azure Information Protection uses the Azure Rights Management service (Azure RMS) to protect data. It is available for Microsoft 365 Business Premium and Microsoft 365 Enterprise subscription plans.
With Microsoft 365, you gain access to a comprehensive suite of apps and services that empower you to enhance productivity, collaboration, and organization across personal, familial, and business needs.