What Is Microsoft Office and Microsoft 365 Services

What you need to know about the world’s most popular application package

Microsoft Office is a collection of office-related applications. Each application has a unique purpose and offers specific services to its users. For example, Microsoft Word is used to create documents. Microsoft PowerPoint is used to make presentations. Microsoft Outlook is used to manage email and calendars. There are other people too.

Because there are so many apps to choose from, and because not all users need them all, Microsoft 365 Services groups apps together in collections called “suites.” There are application suites for students, suites for home and small business users, and suites for large corporations. There are also suites for schools. Each of these suites is priced based on what is included in it.

What is Microsoft Office 365?

Is it Microsoft Office?.
The latest version of Microsoft Office is called Microsoft Office 365, but various versions of the suite have existed since 1988 including but not limited to Microsoft Office Professional, Microsoft Office Home and Student, and various collections of Microsoft Office 2016. Most people still refer to either version of the suite like Microsoft Office though, which makes distinguishing between editions difficult.

What makes Microsoft Office 365 stand out from older editions of MS Office is that it integrates all aspects of the application with the cloud . It is also a subscription service, which means users pay a monthly or annual fee to use it, and upgrades to newer versions are included in this price.

Previous versions of Microsoft Office, including Office 2016, do not offer all the cloud features that Office 365 does, and is not a subscription. Office 2016 is a one-time purchase, just like other editions, and as Office 2019 is expected to be.

Business 365 Business and Business 365 Premium Premium includes all Office apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, Outlook, and Publisher.

Who Uses MS Office and Why?

Microsoft Office is for everyone. Getty Images
Users who purchase Microsoft Office suites usually do so when they find that the applications included with their operating system are not robust enough to meet their needs. For example, it is nearly impossible to write a book using only Microsoft WordPad, the word processing application that comes with all editions of Windows. But, of course it is worth writing a book with Microsoft Word which offers more features.

Businesses also use Microsoft Office. It is the de facto standard among large companies. Apps included in the business suite include those that can be used to manage large user databases, perform advanced spreadsheet calculations, and create powerful and engaging presentations, complete with music and video.

Microsoft claims that over a billion people use their Office products. Office suites are used all over the world.

What is MS Office Support Device?

Microsoft Office is available for smartphones. Getty Images
To access all that Microsoft Office has to offer, you need to install it on a desktop or laptop computer. There are versions for Windows and Mac devices. You can also install MS Office on a tablet though, and if the tablet can work as a computer, like the Microsoft Surface Pro, you can still get access to all the features from there.


If you don’t have a computer or the one you have doesn’t support the full version of Office, you can use the Microsoft Office Online application suite.

There are apps for Microsoft Office for iPhone and iPad too, all available from the App Store. Apps for Android are available from Google Play. These offer access to MS applications, although they don’t offer the full functionality you would access on a computer.
Applications Included in Microsoft Office and How They Work Together
Microsoft Office 2016. Joli Ballew
The applications included in a particular Microsoft Office suite depend on the Microsoft Office package you choose (as does the price). Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook. Office Home & Student 2016 (for PC only) includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote. Business Suites have certain combinations as well, and include Publisher and Access.

Here is a brief description of the applications and their purpose:

Word – to create documents, brochures, publications
PowerPoint – for making presentations
Excel – for storing, organizing and manipulating data
OneDrive – to store data online
OneNote – for organizing the data you collect including handwritten notes, drawings, screenshots, audio clips and more
Publisher – to create extensive publications, posters, brochures, menus
Outlook – to manage email and calendars, to create lists, and contacts
Access – to capture and analyze data from a computer or network

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