Office 365 is a line of subscription services offered by Microsoft as part of the Microsoft Office product line. The brand encompasses plans that allow use of the Microsoft Office software suite over the life of the subscription, as well as cloud-based software as a service product for business environments, such as hosted Exchange Server, Skype for Business Server, and SharePoint, among others. All Office 365 plans include automatic updates to their respective software at no additional charge, as opposed to conventional licenses for these programs—where new versions require purchase of a new license.
The Office 365 service consists of several products and services. All of Office 365's components can be managed and configured through an online portal; users can be added manually, imported from a CSV file, or Office 365 can be set up for single sign-on with a local Active Directory using Active Directory Federation Services. More advanced setup and features requires the use of PowerShell scripts.
The email service, task management, calendar application, and contacts manager included with business and enterprise Office 365 subscriptions are under the Outlook on the web brand. It includes Outlook Mail, Outlook Calendar, Outlook People, and Outlook Tasks.
Microsoft introduced an email feature called Clutter with Office 365. Clutter remembers user's preferences as it comes to the relevance and importance of emails. It analyses user's pattern of behavior about email topics, if user keeps ignoring emails about a certain topic, Clutter moves those emails to a folder with the same name in Outlook. Users can enable and disable this feature by logging on to Office 365 portal.
Business and enterprise-oriented plans for Office 365 offer access to cloud-hosted versions of Office's server platforms on a software as a service basis, including Exchange, Skype for Business, SharePoint, and the browser-based Office Web Apps suite. Through SharePoint's OneDrive for Business functionality, each user also receives 1 TB of online storage. Certain plans also include unlimited personal cloud storage per user.
In lieu of Microsoft's enterprise software, Home plans for Office 365 include premium enhancements for Microsoft's consumer-level online services, including 1 terabyte of OneDrive storage for each user, along with 60 minutes of phone calls per month on the Microsoft-owned Skype VoIP service.
Some plans for Office 365 also include access to the current versions of the Office desktop applications for both Windows (Office 2019) and macOS (Office for Mac 2019) for the period of the subscription. In the case of Office 2019 on Windows, it is installed using a "click-to-run" system which allows users to begin using the applications almost instantaneously while files are streamed in the background. Updates to the software are installed automatically, covering both security updates and major new versions of Office. If an Office 365 subscription lapses, the applications enter a read-only mode where editing functionality is disabled. Full functionality is restored once a new subscription is purchased and activated. Publisher, Access and InfoPath are available on Windows only, and are not available for install on Mac operating systems.
Fluent and Office Online-inspired "Home" screens in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
Access to the Office Mobile apps for Android and iOS devices (including both smartphones and tablets) were originally limited to Office 365 subscribers but basic editing and document creation has since been made free for personal use. However, Office 365 is still required to unlock certain advanced editing features, use the apps on devices with screens larger than 10.1 inches, or to use the apps for business use. Outlook Groups was also made available as an app on Windows 10 Mobile.
Office 365 includes several productivity applications that are designed to cover collaboration needs at the organizational, departmental and team levels. Currently, the list of collaboration tools includes OneDrive for Business, SharePoint Online, Microsoft Teams, Yammer, Skype for Business, Outlook Online and Delve boards. The wide choice of tools is the source of ongoing debates about the purpose of each tool and their optimal application in real business life. There are several approaches to defining the role of Office 365 collaboration tools in an organization. Key aspects that influence the choice of a certain tool are particular communication needs, team size, project specifics, as well as employees’ preferences. According to the use case approach, each collaboration tool suits a particular collaboration scenario. SharePoint Online often serves as a platform for corporate intranets and portals the same way as SharePoint On-Premises does. At the same time, SharePoint Online comes not only with team sites but also with communication sites and hub sites. Microsoft Teams enable collaboration channels for public or private communication, as well as voice and video conferences. Outlook Online hosts email-based collaboration. Yammer serves for communication with business users outside of an organization and enables forum-like enterprise-wide and team communication. Skype for Business supports instant messaging, VoIP, audio, video and web conferencing. As for Delve boards, they allow creating boards to group together and share related documents. Additionally, there are Office 365 Groups that represent rather a technological capability within the suite than a tool apart. Office 365 Groups allow creating separate collaboration spaces in other Office 365 tools. An Office 365 Group can be organized in Outlook, SharePoint Online, Yammer, Microsoft Teams and other collaboration tools to diversify the native collaboration capabilities of these applications. For example, if a team collaborates in a Group in Yammer, its members automatically get a team calendar, a shared Outlook inbox, a SharePoint library, a SharePoint team site, a shared OneNote notebook and Planner.
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