Microsoft has made some big changes to its Office software. If you’re familiar with Office 365, you may be confused about the name change.
As of April 21, 2020 Office 365 became Microsoft 365, a move that illustrates the company’s desire to shed the stuffy image of the Office branding, and position it as a people-first suite of apps.
And the most significant change in that respect is the inclusion of Microsoft’s Teams software for everyday consumers. Until now, Teams has been primarily designed as a communication app for large and small organizations, similar to Slack. More on this later.
What’s Changed Between Office 365 and Microsoft 365
Microsoft 365 is a subscription plan that costs $100 per year of up to six users or $70 per year for one user.
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. As well as 60 Skype minutes for calling landline and mobile phone numbers from Skype.
If you already pay for Office 365, you now have Microsoft 365. “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.
Microsoft unveiled a variety of features when it revealed Microsoft 365 back on March 30, 2020. Their aim is 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.
Download Transactions from Banks in Excel
A means to track your spending in the spreadsheet app, Money in Excel will allow you to import your financial data from participating banks and credit unions. It then provides information including how much you spend on categories like groceries, and whether recurring payments have increased. 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.
Talk With Family and Friends with Microsoft Teams
Microsoft’s move to bring more functionality to its productivity suite of apps comes as the company’s software is forced to contend with ever more rivals from across the spectrum ranging from Google to Slack. Many of these are primarily intended for workplaces. Now, Microsoft is adding new features to Teams for your personal life. It’s got the makings of an incredibly helpful app for ensuring you and your family are all on the same page when it comes to planning and sharing get-togethers and major life events. 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
Finally, Microsoft 365 will now include a new Family Safety app. The service, which will be available on both iOS and Android will let you track where your kids are via geofencing features that alert you when your child enters or leaves a tagged area such as their school or playground. You’ll also be able to see what apps your kids and family members are using and limit their time in those apps, though that feature will only be available to Android and Windows users, not in iOS.
Overall, Microsoft 365 is largely the same. Many of these features seem as if they might have been added to Office 365, anyway. However, it shows Microsoft is narrowing in on “Microsoft 365” as a bigger subscription service. One that’s not just about using office applications to get work done. It’s about providing consumer-friendly tools for subscribers in their personal lives.