Microsoft 365 is Microsoft’s leading productivity software package. Other items in the suite include Outlook, OneNote, and OneDrive.
It was, and still is, the gold standard in productivity software. However, Microsoft 365 has changed a lot.
Microsoft has committed to a subscription-based pricing strategy and phased out numerous standalone products in the last year. Because Microsoft 365 is an ecosystem rather than a collection of standalone apps. With Microsoft 365, organizations get a complete digital workplace that includes communications, cloud storage, backup and synchronization, and productivity tools.
This in-depth essay examines the suite’s powerful platforms and evaluates if Microsoft 365 is right for you. You may be also interested in our blog Windows 11 Pros and Cons.
Microsoft Word is the most well-known Microsoft 365 app and is widely used as a word processor.
Word is still one of the most outstanding writing programs in 2020. It has all the features, templates, and speed you would expect from a Microsoft program. In summary, whether you need to write or modify the text, Microsoft Word can do everything.
The platform is suitable for usage with OneDrive and the rest of the Microsoft 365 suite for teams inside enterprises. Many collaborators may co-author documents, see earlier versions, track changes, and offer real-time comments. OneDrive makes it simple to share URLs that set permissions within a Word document.
Word’s sharing and exporting abilities are quite strong. Users can export papers in OpenDocument Text (.odt), PDF, and Microsoft Word formats (.docx). Each of these formats is extensively accepted; therefore, compatibility concerns are unusual. A rival like Apple Pages, which has infinite compatibility issues, lacks this.
The immersive reader mode and built-in speech-to-text are just a few of our favourite Word features. 3D graphics are another feature that sets Microsoft Word apart from its competitors.
Although it allows for annotation and sketching, Word is best used for text-based tasks. Microsoft OneNote is an excellent tool for expressing your creativity.
Microsoft Word applications are available for Windows, Android, macOS, iOS, and iPadOS platforms. Its mobile apps are handy for making last-minute modifications to papers or writing down critical thoughts.
The name alone excites some and terrifies others. Nevertheless, we do not think Excel should intimidate anyone. It is easier to use than you think and more powerful than you think. It takes only a few hours of training to generate and use complex spreadsheets on the platform.
Microsoft Excel allows you to work with nearly 17 billion cells. Compared to Google Sheets, 5 million. Excel’s raw computational power means even huge enterprises with enormous datasets may rely on it.
Excel also has over 450 functions, which is a big plus. These allow users to modify and view data in new ways to get new insights. Expert users can create their macros using VBA code.
Compatibility is not a problem with Microsoft 365 applications. Users can export spreadsheets in three formats: Microsoft (.xlsx), OpenDocument Spreadsheets (.ods), and Portable Document Format (.pdf) (.pdf). Excel documents may also be opened on Google Drive.
Nevertheless, it is not all good news. Although Microsoft has recently included co-authoring, this is still a significant flaw in the platform. To communicate in real-time, all users must have Microsoft 365 and Excel 2016. This prevents employees from collaborating with numerous external parties. When possible, co-authoring is trustworthy, responsive, and extremely valuable.
Microsoft’s note-taking program, OneNote, is geared toward both students and professionals. Although it looks excellent on paper and has many valuable functions, it has yet to gain the popularity of Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. The academic community has embraced OneNote. One of the most excellent note-taking applications, yet underutilized in business and organizations.
OneNote’s thorough note organization is a nice feature. Notebooks are top-level parent categories. Notebooks have divisions and then pages. We have tried various note-taking applications and think OneNote is the best for organizing your thoughts.
Also, full integration with Microsoft OneDrive means your notes, sketches, and ideas are available across all devices using cloud sync technology. With iOS, macOS, iPadOS, Windows, and Android apps, accessing your files should be no problem. There is also a mobile web app for taking notes.
You will probably need to share notes with coworkers or clients, and OneNote makes this easy. You may invite non-Microsoft 365 users to see and modify a notebook. It is also possible to export selected pages as PDFs for use in Microsoft Outlook.
The OneNote user interface is likewise remarkable. A user may add audio samples to their notes as well as write and highlight text. These and other features make OneNote one of the most capable note-takers accessible in 2020.
PowerPoint has been helping people create outstanding presentations for almost two decades, from elementary school kids to Fortune 500 executives. We still think it is the most refined platform for making presentations.
PowerPoint has several tools for inspiration. The most noticeable is Microsoft’s vast library of free templates for Microsoft 365 users. Employees may also utilize the presentation coaching tool to get comments on their pace and style.
Inserting and manipulating 3D graphics is another excellent tool (also in Word). 3D files can be rotated, reversed, or slanted to make them more useful. This distinguishes PowerPoint from its rivals.
Users may communicate and offer comments in real-time. Its OneDrive connection makes it great for creating and maintaining corporate presentations.
However, only the online app, not the desktop or mobile versions of PowerPoint, allows for collaboration. This is a significant flaw, given how well the platform performs in all other areas.
Microsoft Outlook has been helping customers organize their emails for decades. In our opinion, it is the most significant email client, mainly if you utilize other Microsoft 365 programs.
Spam and virus blocks are typical in most email clients. With group inboxes, numerous employees may send and receive emails from a single email account.
The ability to categorize emails into focused and non-focused inboxes is a feature we value. The focused inbox aggregates messages that the platform’s algorithms deem critical or urgent, allowing staff to react to emails fast.
Of course, Outlook is built from the ground up to work with other Microsoft 365 products. So, if you want a simple, integrated, and responsive email client, we recommend Microsoft 365.
Teams are Microsoft’s newest product, but it is probably the most vital. The Teams app mixes audio and video conferencing with office communications. It is a hub for collaboration and communication, essential for corporate productivity as we work remotely more.
Like OneDrive, Teams is intended to connect all of the Microsoft 365 apps and functions. It uses cloud technologies to enable cross-platform collaboration.
Microsoft Teams’ video conferencing tools are outstanding, allowing staff to schedule one-on-one or company-wide meetings. It is even feasible to host webinars and information sessions for 10,000 people. Participants can use screen sharing, call recording, live captioning, background blur, and chat during calls.
Channels allow users to interact in groups dedicated to specific themes, such as a team project, company-wide announcements, or the office Christmas party. As a result, staff can compartmentalize their communication.
Microsoft 365 Support
Microsoft’s customer service is among the best in the industry. With consumer plans, the organization always responds quickly and diligently to any concerns that may arise. We were able to get a response and a solution to our query within four minutes of contacting the organization via their online chat window.
Microsoft’s support website is the best place to go for help, even if you can access it through an app. How-to manuals, video lessons, and community forums are available in this comprehensive resource. This type of software is the most significant online help centre we have encountered, and there is a lot of business-specific advice and assistance available.
Microsoft’s phone and online chat services are also available to businesses, with the more expensive plans providing more prompt and attentive service. Advanced cyberthreat detection services available in premium plans include Microsoft’s trained technicians and cybersecurity specialists on call.
Prices and subscription
Small and medium-sized organizations can pick from four plans: Basic, Standard, Premium, and Apps, which include various features. Each user gets 1 TB of OneDrive storage capacity with each of these options.
In addition to OneDrive, Teams, and online versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, Basic costs $5 per user per month. A Microsoft 365 subscription that does not include desktop or mobile apps may be suitable for some enterprises.
If you are looking for the most basic version of Microsoft 365 that includes all Microsoft 365 desktop apps and mobile apps, you will have to pay $12.50 per user per month for standard.
Premium costs $20 per user each month and includes all of the applications in standard and additional cyber threat protection and administrative controls. Those in charge of sensitive consumer or financial information will find this to be a great solution.
If you are looking for the Microsoft 365 apps covered in this article without some of the more complex collaborative and cloud-based capabilities, Apps is a good option.
E3 and E5 are the two possibilities for Enterprises.
User fees for the E3 plan are $32. Unlimited OneDrive storage is provided, as well as a wide variety of cyber audits, data security, and identity and access control features that are not available in Microsoft’s commercial plans.
The E5 plan, which costs $57 per user each month, is the most costly option offered by the corporation. Everything Microsoft has to offer may be yours for a hefty fee. Even more robust and comprehensive account management, use analytics, and threat security technologies are incorporated in the E3 plan as part of the E3. Large firms with hundreds of employees are the only ones that can benefit from this.
There are alternative possibilities if you only need a Microsoft 365 subscription for your first-line employees.
Compared to the Office 365 F3 plan and Legacy F1 plan, Microsoft 365 F3 costs only $10 user/month.
Pros and Cons
- Thanks to Microsoft 365, a cloud service that allows us to save information on a secure server rather than on our PCs, we can access our stuff from any device. There is no need to panic if one or both of our PCs go down. To use our new computer, we download the necessary software.
- To prepare papers for team meetings, I use scheduling, calendars and emails, and Microsoft 365. To minimize disturbance, it ensures that solutions are appropriately managed and maintained.
- Managing user mailboxes and rules in the Microsoft 365 (previously Office 365) system is a breeze.
- The fact that everyone may access the internet from any location makes it highly convenient.
- Microsoft 365 Help sections can be challenging to comprehend, and I have had problems saving papers. Save it as a different filename, and I am good to go.
- I cannot get the same functionality from the online version of the products as I can from the app version. The product’s quality has not deteriorated.
- It is a little disjointed amongst the various parts. They include functions that transition across modules and rebranding can occasionally lead to confusion for a limited period.
- When a newer version of anything is released, it may not have all of the features of the previous version. It is familiar with Microsoft products like Windows 10 and the Control Panel vs. the Settings app.