What is Microsoft 365?
Launched in 2001, Microsoft 365 is a cloud-based, subscription model version of Microsoft’s popular productivity suite Microsoft Office. Microsoft 365 contains the same core applications as traditional versions of Office, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and depending on the plan purchased, may also include other apps and services such as Publisher, Planner, OneDrive, Exchange, SharePoint, Access, Skype, Yammer, and Microsoft Teams.
There are a number of different packages available when licensing Microsoft 365, including versions for personal use, multi-user households, students, businesses, nonprofits, and education institutions.
There are also online- and mobile-only versions of Office, known as Office Online, through which users can get access to feature-limited versions of Office apps for free.
Who uses Microsoft 365 and why?
Microsoft Office has been providing personal computer users with productivity tools for almost three decades; today, over a billion people use Office products worldwide. For businesses, however, Office offers a great deal more than word processing and spreadsheet editing.
Though its eminent core apps still equip users with the basic tools they need to perform everyday tasks like managing data, create documents, and communicate information, Office has evolved into a vast suite of intelligent tools that allow organizations to be more productive and efficient. And with many tailored plan options available, companies of all sizes and circumstances can get access to these tools instantly.
With Microsoft 365, all apps and services are connected, both to each other and to the wider web, facilitating teamwork, saving employees time and enabling them to work better together through tools such as team chat, online meetings, co-authoring and sharing files, and group emails.
With data security a hot-button topic for organizations across all industries, many businesses choose Microsoft 365 because of its layered security measures, proactive data monitoring, privacy protection, and 99.9% uptime service level agreement.
What apps and services does Microsoft 365 for Business include?
- Skype for Business
- Microsoft Teams
- OneDrive for Business
Some Microsoft 365 applications also have mobile versions to help business do more on the go, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneDrive for Business, Skype for Business, Yammer, and OneNote.
Most people know common applications such as: Word, Excel, Powerpoint. See below for some of apps not discussed nearly as often:
Outlook: One of the most used apps in the Microsoft Microsoft 365 suite, Outlook is Microsoft’s email client. This powerful app allows you to customize emails, create templates, flag emails for follow up, schedule meetings, and so much more. With Microsoft 365, IT organizations no longer need to have a Microsoft Exchange server on-premises. Microsoft maintains and operates Exchange Online. Organizations need to configure Outlook clients to access Exchange Online.
Microsoft SharePoint: SharePoint is the main component of Microsoft 365 that makes collaboration possible. In addition to file sharing and organization, it includes SharePoint Workflows, SharePoint PerformancePoint, and SharePoint project sites. Together, these apps facilitate sharing and managing data around the world. As with email, the Microsoft IIS, SharePoint servers and Microsoft SQL database servers needed to provide collaboration services are operated by Microsoft. IT organizations can administer and manage the collaboration services without having to worry about maintaining these servers, patching them at regular intervals, upgrading the software, etc. All these activities are handled by Microsoft as part of their SaaS offering.
Teams: Use Teams to chat with coworkers, collaborate on projects, share files, and provide real-time updates on tasks. Teams has replaced Skype for Business. So, this is where you have virtual meetings with your colleagues and coworkers.
Yammer: Yammer is a unique social networking service designed with enterprise communication in mind. Yammer helps employees get answers fast even when they don’t know whom to ask. Yammer enables organizations—particularly ones with multiple offices—to collaborate across locations. Instead of sending an email asking whom to ask about a topic, you can now just post it on a Yammer Group. Department heads keep an eye on their Yammer groups and respond to questions accordingly. Employees get the answers they need, and work gets done faster.
Microsoft Forms: This app allows you to create questionnaires, quizzes, surveys, and other data collection tools. Once collected, you can transfer the data on to other notable applications, such as Excel. This app is excellent for market research or to collect data among your teammates.
Microsoft OneNote: This app is great for taking notes during meetings and sketching out ideas by hand. These notes are shareable with your whole team, which makes collaboration easy. You can also access your notes across all your devices.
Microsoft Publisher: This app is similar to Word, but the focus is different. Word focuses on the text of the document whereas Publisher focuses more on the layout and overall design. This app is popular among marketers.
MyAnalytics: Use this dashboard to see your Microsoft Microsoft 365 productivity. Track how many hours you spend in meetings, chatting with coworkers, and sending emails. You can even use this app to automatically schedule “focus hours” on your calendar to allow for uninterrupted work.
Does Microsoft 365 have a simple interface?
One of the things that you will notice when you first launch any Office app is that it is in line with the design of Windows 11. The productivity suite has a far simpler layout than any previous Microsoft Office versions. It features a neutral color scheme give users an enhanced experience.
Furthermore, the software comes with a new design for tabs and incorporates additional tools seamlessly. It also makes it easier for users to set up meetings and check schedules without any hassle. All in all, you can expect a minimalistic layout with user-friendly tabs, icons, and functions.
What are the system requirements?
- CPU: 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster x86-bit or x64-bit processor with SSE2 instruction set
- Memory: 2 GB RAM
- Hard Disk: 3.0 GB of available disk space
- Graphics: Graphics hardware acceleration requires a DirectX 10 graphics card
- .NET Version: .NET 3.5 required. Some features may require .NET 4.0, 4.5, or 4.6 CLR also to be installed.
New Name, Same Excellence
Microsoft's Office apps are the best at what they do. If you want to exchange editable documents with anyone else, you’ll almost certainly want to send your documents in a format compatible with Microsoft's apps—a reasonable way to ensure everyone else can work on them. If you need to get serious work done in documents or worksheets, Microsoft’s suite is not merely worth the money, it's also an amazing bargain. For all these reasons, Microsoft 365 is an Editors' Choice winner.