Microsoft Office 365 is a comprehensive productivity suite that offers a slew of applications for small to medium-sized businesses. While most of them are commercially well-known, there are a quite a number of services and programs in it whose functions aren’t quite as clear-cut as the rest. In this ultimate guide, we take a look at every application, service, and program that Office 365 can offer your business.
Let’s dive right in.
Outlook is a “professional email and calendar app” that provides users with a clear, unified view of their email inbox, contacts, and calendars. It provides a myriad of useful administrative features that enable you to manage your calendar, share your current schedule, input upcoming events and meetings, sync relevant emails and reminders, and more—all without leaving the app.
Microsoft Outlook is a prevailing organizational application that works hand-in-hand with other Microsoft productivity programs to maximize their potential.
Microsoft Word is a powerful word processor that has tons of useful editing features—a grammar and spelling checker, a comprehensive format editor, and even stylistic writing suggestions. It also allows you to set your preferred language, collaborate with multiple users, and even leave comments. It is perhaps one of the most inclusive word processors commercially available, and its staggering number of features also makes it one of the most versatile.
With Microsoft Word, you can write articles, blogs, short stories, and even full-length books.
Excel gives you the power to organize large amounts of data into neat, comprehensive spreadsheets. You can choose from a variety of pre-made templates or you can make one from scratch. You also have the option to perform complicated calculations using variables from each data cell and pre-programmed formulas. Packed with a variety of useful features for data depiction and analysis, you can use Microsoft Excel to present your information through charts, tables, graphs, and other compelling formats.
As with other Office 365 applications, you can share your spreadsheets and collaborate with others on them, real-time.
Microsoft PowerPoint is a slideshow/presentation generator that enables users to exhibit material through beautifully-crafted slides. There are dozens of sleek, professionally-crafted slideshow templates to choose from, as well as over hundreds of rich, cinematic animations. Embellish your presentation using 3D models, icons, and pre-loaded fonts straight from Microsoft’s library.
Microsoft PowerPoint has hyper-intelligent technology that can help any user “present like a pro.”
Described as your “digital notebook,” OneNote indeed functions like a journal that you can take anywhere with you. It allows you to create multiple notebooks inside one app, which you can further divide into sections and pages. There is no limit to how many notebooks you can create and how many pages each notebook can go for. You can also revise your notes multiple times, multiple ways through the type, highlight, ink, and annotate features.
The best part? You’ll never lose a note. Microsoft OneNote comes equipped with an easy search and navigation feature that lets you zero in on the right page, every time.
Initially considered a “database management system,” Microsoft Access combines a database engine with intuitive management tools and a sleek user interface to provide people with an essentially user-friendly, highly-interactive information management tool for reporting, reference, or analysis purposes. Though not as immediately recognizable as other Office 365 apps—like Word or Excel—Access is just as powerful as its suitemates. It allows users to gather data, collate information, and further analyze it using Access’s built-in features.
By storing data and eliminating duplication, Microsoft Access allows for fewer inconsistencies and improved productivity.
Similar to Outlook, Microsoft Exchange is primarily an e-mail and “calendaring” server that enables users to share, edit, and collaborate on critical documents. Its primary offer is an “intelligent inbox” that is able to sort, organize, and prioritize your messages according to importance. Users also have the option to personalize, customize, and expand the capabilities of their inbox using add-ins.
OneDrive for Business
This cloud-based, online storage system allows users to save their files, photos, and documents and later retrieve them using any device. Compatible with phones, tablets, laptops, and PCs, Microsoft OneDrive for Business is both powerful and versatile. With extra features such as offline access and SSL encryption, it’s perhaps one of the best and safest cloud storage systems commercially available.
Although SharePoint can be used to create websites, it’s considered a web-based collaborative platform rather than an open-source website creation tool. Described as a “mobile, intelligent intranet,” SharePoint enables individuals in an organization to seamlessly share, manage, and collaborate on content and information via a customized team website. As with every Office 365 service, the site can be accessed across PCs, Macs, and mobile devices.
Skype for Business
Skype is an online instant messaging client that allows users to send messages, media, and files to each other over a secure server. It’s a free to use service that comes with paid options and allows you to host group chats of up to 20 people. Skype for Business is an upgrade that lets you add up to 250 people to online meetings. It also integrates with other Office apps and allows administrators to manage employee accounts for extra security.
Described as a “chat-based workspace” for Office 365, Microsoft Teams is a comprehensive online meeting platform. Similar to Skype for Business, it allows users to host audio, video, and web conferences. Although it allows for people to chat with other users outside of their organization, most businesses use it as their primary tool for in-office communication.
Advertised as an “easy-to-use” email marketing tool, Microsoft Connections gives users the ability to easily draft, create, design, and send professional marketing emails. Other features include building subscriber lists, setting up brand incentives, and premium email performance tracking.
Microsoft Listings helps customers find your business by allowing you to publish your business listing to sites like Bing, Facebook, Google, and Yelp. You can easily edit and update your information through the Microsoft Listings app and it will automatically update across all four platforms.
Outlook Customer Manager
Track your relationships with customers and manage all their pertinent information through the Outlook Customer Manager. This Microsoft app lets you manage and organize customer information all in one place. This includes their emails, invoices, deals, deadlines, contracts, contact information, and the like.
An easy-to-use app that allows users to create, edit, and send professional-looking PDF invoices. Accessible through an Office 365 Business Premium subscription, this online and mobile application also lets users accept payments while on the go.
This app is made for businesses that offer services based on appointments. It’s a scheduling and appointment program that offers easy-to-use booking features that your clients can access at any time. Through Microsoft Booking, users can manage, reschedule, or cancel appointments at any time.
Now available through an Office 365 Business Premium subscription, the MileIQ app accurately tracks your mileage the moment you start to drive. It runs in the background, recording your mileage and collating the data into neat weekly reports. It also allows you to classify your drives as either ‘business’ or ‘personal’ with ease.
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As the name suggests, Microsoft Planner is a digital online planner that allows users to easily create plans, build teams, assign tasks, share files, collaborate on documents, and send progress updates—all through one app.
Help your frontline staff workers manage their day with this “purpose-built” app by allowing them to easily create schedules, manage and assign tasks, and communicate team-sensitive insights using the Microsoft StaffHub platform.
Create professional surveys, quizzes, and polls in a matter of minutes using Microsoft’s easy-to-use form generator. Participants can access the finished product through PCs, Macs, and mobile devices, and you can evaluate the results real-time using the app’s built-in analytics.
This cloud-based application allows users to create, manage, and automate customized workflows across multiple applications to trigger notifications, copy files, or generate administrative flows that integrate with various Microsoft Office 365 productivity programs.
One of Microsoft’s more recent releases, Microsoft Steam is a corporate video-sharing application and Enterprise video service that allows users to upload, view, and share videos securely.
Marketed as the “easiest way to get stuff done,” this cloud-based task management application integrates seamlessly with other Office 365 task management programs to help users easily plan their day by recommending daily tasks, suggesting to-dos, and prioritizing important responsibilities.