What Is Microsoft Office 365?
“Microsoft 365″ is the new name for Microsoft’s Office 365 subscription service. It includes everything Office 365 included—and more. Subscribe for access to Microsoft Office applications like Word, 1TB of storage in OneDrive, minutes for calling phones from Skype, and more.
A Rebranded Office 365 (With More Features)
If you’re familiar with Office 365, you already know what Microsoft 365 is. It’s a subscription plan that costs $100 per year of up to six people or $70 per year for one person. Microsoft hasn’t raised the price.
For that fee, you get access to Microsoft Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint on Windows PCs, Macs, iPads, and every other platform Microsoft supports. You also get 1TB of storage space in OneDrive per person and 60 Skype minutes for calling landline and mobile phone numbers from Skype.
If you already pay for Office 365, you now have Microsoft 365 as of April 21, 2020. “Microsoft 365 Family” is the new name for “Office 365 Home,” and “Microsoft 365 Personal” is the new name for “Office 365 Personal.”
Office 365 was a great deal if you’re looking for Microsoft Office, and so is Microsoft 365. Microsoft still offers a free trial of Microsoft 365, which is one way to get Office for free. Microsoft’s Office Online web applications are still free to use in a browser without a subscription, too.
What New Features Does Microsoft 365 Include?
Microsoft unveiled a variety of features when it revealed Microsoft 365 back on March 30, 2020. Many of these seem like features that would have come to Office 365 anyway, but Microsoft is stressing that it wants to “help you and your family across work, school, and life.” This means new tools for improving writing on the web, managing your finances, and connecting with family and friends.
Here are some of the most interesting new features:
- Check Your Writing with Microsoft Editor: Microsoft Editor will help you correct your writing’s grammar and style. This is Microsoft’s answer to Grammarly—a powerful writing tool that works anywhere on the web. It’s an “AI-powered service” that works in more than 20 languages. It works in Word and Outlook.com, but you can install the Microsoft Editor extension for Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge to take advantage of it on any website. It even helps with inserting citations to documents in Microsoft Word.
- Download Transactions from Banks in Excel: Microsoft announced “Money in Excel,” which will let you connect to bank and credit card accounts directly from Excel. You can download transaction details and import them into a budget or other financial spreadsheet just as if you were using a tool like Mint. It uses Plaid, a popular network many personal finance tools now use for connecting to accounts.
- Talk With Family and Friends with Microsoft Teams: Microsoft Teams is Microsoft’s answer to Slack. Both were primarily intended for workplaces. Now, Microsoft is adding new features to Teams for your personal life. You can create Teams groups for your friends and families to plan trips, organize gatherings, or just stay connected to the people you care about. Teams has built-in features like group chats, video calls, shared to-do lists, and calendars to make it all happen.
- Protect Your Family with Microsoft Family Safety: “Microsoft Family Safety” is a new app for iPhone and Android. It will help you manage your family’s screen time across Windows 10, Android, and Xbox. It also includes location-sharing notifications, so you can see where your family members are on a map and get notifications when they arrive at and leave work or school.
Overall, Microsoft 365 is largely the same and many of these features feel like they might have been added to Office 365, anyway. However, it shows Microsoft is focusing on “Microsoft 365” as a bigger subscription service that’s not just about using office applications to get work done. It’s about providing tools for subscribers in their personal lives.
Expect more of these personal productivity features to come to Microsoft 365 in the future. Back in 2019, ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley reported that Microsoft might include a password manager in Microsoft 365. However, at launch, Microsoft hasn’t announced anything about that—yet.