Microsoft’s flagship productivity suite, Microsoft 365, is well-known to most people. It includes well-known names like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
It has been the standard for productivity software for many years. This is still true today. There are many changes in the Microsoft 365 universe.
Microsoft has increased its commitment to subscription-based pricing models over the past year and phased out many of its standalone products. Microsoft 365 was designed to be an integrated ecosystem, not a collection of individual applications. Microsoft 365 is a well-designed, integrated digital workspace that provides businesses with a complete, all-in-one digital workspace. It includes communications, cloud storage, backup, as well as productivity apps.
This article will discuss all aspects of Microsoft 365’s flagship platforms. It also discusses why Microsoft 365 might be a good investment for your business.
It is our opinion that it is the best office suite available in 2021. However, if you aren’t convinced, we recommend you check out our guide to the top alternatives to Microsoft 365.
Pricing and plans
Microsoft 365 pricing can be simple and businesses have many options. Four plans are suitable for small and medium-sized businesses, while two are targeted at large enterprises. Three are designed for first-line workers. All plans can be purchased on a monthly or annual basis.
You have four options for small and medium-sized companies: Apps, Standard, Premium, and Premium. Each user gets 1TB OneDrive storage space with each plan.
Basic is $5 per user per month and includes OneDrive, Teams, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and online versions of Word and Excel. Although it is not a Microsoft 365 subscription, it does include mobile and desktop apps. However, it might suit certain organizations’ needs.
Standard costs $12.50 per month and includes all Microsoft 365 desktop apps and mobile apps including Outlook, Word, Excel, and OneDrive.
Premium is $20 per month and includes all the apps in Standard, plus advanced cyberthreat prevention and administrator controls. This option is perfect for companies that manage sensitive financial or customer data.
Apps cost $8.25 per month and are suitable for businesses that do not require the advanced cloud-based and collaborative features of Microsoft 365.
There are two options for Enterprises: E3 or E5.
E3 plans cost $32 per user per month. The E3 plan includes all Microsoft 365 apps and unlimited OneDrive storage. It also offers a variety of cyber auditing, data security, identity, and access management functions that are not available in Microsoft’s business plans.
The company’s most expensive plan, the E5 plan, costs $57 per month. You get all the Microsoft products for this high price. This includes everything in the E3 plan, plus advanced account management solutions, usage analytics, and threat protection. This plan is only suitable for large companies with hundreds of employees.
There are options available if you just need a Microsoft 365 subscription to your first-line workforce.
The Microsoft 365 F3 Plan costs only $10 per user/month, while Legacy F1 and Office 365 F3 plans cost $4 per user/month.
Microsoft Word is the most well-known of all the Microsoft 365 platforms. It is the ultimate word processing app.
Word remains one of the most popular apps for writing in 2020. You will find a wide range of templates and a variety of features. Word also has the reliability and performance you would expect from a Microsoft product. Microsoft Word is capable of editing and writing text-based documents.
This platform offers best-in-class collaboration and review capabilities, making it ideal to be used in a team-based environment within an organization, especially when used with OneDrive and other parts of Microsoft 365. Multiple users can collaborate on documents, view previous versions, track changes, and give real-time feedback. OneDrive allows you to easily send links to colleagues who have the right level of permissions in a Word document.
Word’s exporting and sharing capabilities are another strength. OpenDocument Text, Portable Document Format (PDF), Microsoft Word (.docx) are all options for exporting documents. You will rarely have compatibility issues with any of these formats. This is what separates Word from Apple Pages, which suffers from endless compatibility problems.
We can’t possibly list all the amazing features of Word, but we do like built-in speech-to-text, automatic translation, and the immersive reader mode. Microsoft Word is also distinguished by 3D graphics.
Word is best for text-based projects. Microsoft OneNote is a great way to express your creativity.
Microsoft Word apps can be used on all platforms including Android, iOS, macOS, iOS, and Windows. It works best on iPads and desktops. However, mobile apps can be used to make last-minute edits to documents on the move or to jot down important notes.
For a deeper dive into the platform’s strengths, please read our Microsoft Word review.
OneNote, Microsoft’s note-taking application, was created with students in mind. It looks great on paper, boasts a wide range of features, but it has not been able to reach the same popularity as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. OneNote is loved by both students and academics. It is considered one of the most useful note-taking platforms, and it is not well-resourced in both business and organizational contexts.
OneNote’s greatest strength is its ability to organize all your notes in a comprehensive way. Notebooks are the top-level parent categories. You’ll find sections within notebooks and then individual pages. OneNote, which we have used for many years, is our favorite note-taking app. It allows you to organize your thoughts and ideas.
Another advantage is the ability to access your files whenever you need them. Full integration with Microsoft OneDrive means that your notes, sketches, and brainstorms can be accessed across all of your devices using cloud sync technology. Accessing your files will not be a problem with the software being available for iOS, macOS, and iPad. You can also use the web app to take notes on the go.
It is likely that you will need to share your notes and other information with clients or colleagues. OneNote makes it easy. Even if they don’t have a Microsoft 365 subscription, it is possible to invite others to view and edit your notebook. You can also export pages to PDF, which is great for attaching notes in Microsoft Outlook.
OneNote’s interface is impressive and rich in features. OneNote allows users to highlight text and draw freehand, add graphs, stickers, and equations to their notes, as well as insert images, graphs, and stickers. OneNote is a powerful note-taking tool that will be available in 2020.
Our OneNote Review explains in detail why OneNote is so great and how to make it work for you.
Microsoft Excel. Excel’s name alone can excite many and cause others to feel dread. Excel is not something to be afraid of, however. Excel is much easier than you think and far more powerful than you could ever imagine. After just a few hours of training, you’ll be able to use the platform to create advanced spreadsheets and leverage them.
Microsoft Excel allows you to work with more than 17 billion cells within a single spreadsheet. This is compared to just 5 million for Google Sheet. Excel’s raw computing power allows even large companies with complex databases to rely on Excel for the hard work.
Excel’s extensive range of functions is another strength. It now has over 450. These functions allow users to visualize and manipulate data in new ways that provide rich insights. VBA code can be used to create and implement macro functions by experienced users.
Compatibility is not an issue with Microsoft 365 apps. The apps are compatible with almost all operating systems. Users can export their spreadsheets to Microsoft (.xlsx), OpenDocument Spreadsheets(.ods), or Portable Document Format (.pdf). You can also open Excel documents from other platforms, such as Google Drive.
However, it’s not all positive news. Although Microsoft has made improvements to co-authoring over the years, it is still significant weakness in the platform. All users must have a Microsoft 365 subscription in order to collaborate in real-time. This prevents employees from working with people outside your company. Co-authoring can be reliable, responsive, and extremely useful when it’s possible.
OneDrive, Microsoft’s entry into the fiercely competitive cloud storage market, has seen cloud storage grow in popularity over recent years. It is a top cloud storage platform for both businesses and consumers.
The platform is a safe place to keep your important documents and data, and its interfaces make it easy to use. The thumbnails are available in many file formats. Intelligent AI search functions make it easy for you to find what you’re looking for.
OneDrive’s full integration with other Microsoft 365 apps is what makes it stand out. Microsoft 365 is more than a collection of apps. It’s an ecosystem that enables digital productivity.
OneDrive is secured. Every file is encrypted at rest and in transit. This makes the platform safer than other platforms and ensures that anyone who steals or intercepts your data will only receive indecipherable text.
Microsoft takes it even further. Microsoft goes even further with the Personal Vault, a sub-folder that provides end-to-end encryption of your most sensitive files. This data is encrypted so that no one, even Microsoft, can access it.
Administrators can also help to strengthen employees’ accounts by enforcing periodic password changes and two-factor authentication.
OneDrive’s advanced security architecture allows businesses large and small to trust it with their most important documents and files.
OneDrive is also easy to use and access. Apps work reliably on all devices. We also have a responsive web app that is well-designed and works flawlessly. This is our favorite cloud storage web app we’ve seen.
The platform can be used in conjunction with all Microsoft 365 apps. It serves as the default save location, allowing users to share files with colleagues in real-time. You will see the changes made to another device simultaneously on your own device. OneDrive is not just a cloud storage service, it’s also a cloud-syncing platform.
Let’s not forget about collaboration. OneDrive allows users to share files and folders with custom links. These files and folders shared will be placed in a separate folder on each user’s OneDrive home screen. Microsoft 365 is the best choice for organizations that require team-based work.
You can learn more about it from our review.
PowerPoint has been used to create compelling presentations for more than 20 years. It’s been used by everyone, from elementary school students to Fortune 500 executives. PowerPoint is still our favorite platform for creating presentations. We’ll tell you why.
PowerPoint offers many tools that can be used to inspire creativity. Microsoft 365 subscribers have access to a wide range of templates. The best is the most obvious. The presentation coaching tool is available to employees. It will give feedback and advice on how you present.
Microsoft Word also offers the ability to insert 3D images and manipulate them. To maximize the utility of 3D files in a presentation, they can be rotated or inverted. PowerPoint is different from its competitors because of this.
Users can also collaborate and give feedback in real-time, just like other Microsoft 365 apps. OneDrive integration makes it easy to design and manage presentations in a business context.
There is one limitation to collaboration on PowerPoint: it is only possible to use the web app and not the desktop or mobile versions. This is a significant limitation that is disappointing given how well the platform performs across all categories.
Our Microsoft PowerPoint review has been updated to provide all the information you need about the platform.
Microsoft Teams is the newest member of the Microsoft family. However, it is also the most important. The team is a combination of audio and video conferencing (think Skype), with workplace communications (think Slack). It serves as a central point for communication and coordination, which is essential to business efficiency in an age where more people work remotely.
Teams, like OneDrive, are the glue that binds all of the apps and features in the Microsoft 365 suite. It uses cloud technology to allow employees to work together in real-time across multiple platforms.
Microsoft Teams’ video conferencing capabilities are amazing. They allow employees to conduct individual conversations and company-wide meetings. You can even organize information sessions and webinars with as many as 10,000 people. Participants can use screen sharing, call recording, background blur technology, and chat functions within calls.
Video conferencing is not the only option for communication channels. They allow users to communicate with others on different topics such as team-based projects, company announcements, or office Christmas parties. This allows employees to separate their communications and keeps messages on topic.
We don’t have enough information about Microsoft Teams to cover it all. Our in-depth Teams review does the trick.
Microsoft Outlook is an integral part of the Microsoft Suite and has been helping users organize their email for many decades. It is not as well-known as Apple’s Mail or Google’s Gmail, but we believe it to be one of the most useful email clients, especially if you use other Microsoft 365 apps.
Although spam and malware blocking are standard features in most email clients, they can be included. Group inboxes can be used by businesses to allow multiple employees to send and get emails from one email address.
One feature that we love is categorizing emails into folders, the focused inbox or the other inbox. The platform’s algorithm determines which messages are most urgent or important, and the focused inbox helps employees quickly respond to these important messages.
Outlook integrates seamlessly with all other Microsoft 365 apps. Microsoft 365 is our top recommendation if you are looking for an easy-to-use, integrated, responsive email client.
Microsoft is a leader in customer service. The company responds quickly to customer inquiries, even when they are addressing consumer plans. We received an answer and response to our questions within four minutes when we reached out via the company’s online chat window.
Some apps allow users to access support right from the app. We recommend that you visit the Microsoft support site. The extensive library of videos tutorials and how-to guides as well as community forums will provide answers to most issues. This is the best online support we have seen for this particular software category. There is also a lot of support and advice specific to businesses.
Microsoft can be reached by telephone or online chat. Premium plans offer a faster and more responsive service. As part of the premium cyberthreat detection service, Microsoft has cybersecurity experts and technicians on call.
This is it. A complete guide to Microsoft 365. This digital ecosystem is our favorite office software, and we trust you will agree.
Microsoft 365 combines the best of Microsoft Office with productivity apps like Word, OneNote, and PowerPoint. It also offers cloud technology through OneDrive. Microsoft Teams, the digital communications platform that enables employees to work as efficiently as possible, is another important feature.
We have also discussed the various subscription options that are available to businesses. There is a plan to suit all businesses, no matter how small or large they are.