Microsoft Office, also known simply as Office, is a family of server and client software, as well as services and applications, developed by Microsoft. Office was launched in 1988 by Bill Gates, and the original version featured only three apps: Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. In the time since, this family of applications has grown significantly. Office now includes different subscription packages designed for home, business, and enterprise use, with tailored apps available in each plan. Apps are available for mobile device management, workplace analytics, social networking, and diagramming, among others.

Since the release of Office 2013, the main way most users have obtained Microsoft Office has been through Microsoft Office 365, a business subscription service that comes with new features along with cloud computing options that aren’t always included with the on-premises Office license. By 2017, Office 365 subscriptions began to outsell conventional Office licenses, which led Microsoft to rebrand the standard editions of Office 365 into Microsoft 365.

Those who elect to purchase the Microsoft Office 365 Suite often make this decision because the apps that come with their operating system are not sufficient enough to meet their professional needs. For example, writers would find it difficult to use the standard Microsoft WordPad word processing app that is included with Windows. Instead, they would likely turn to Microsoft Word because it offers many helpful features for word processing and editing. This same principle applies to the business sector. Microsoft Office is the go-to family of software for large corporations. It has applications for performing advanced spreadsheet calculations, generating compelling presentations, and managing extensive databases of users. Those who work with Office have a centralized, versatile resource that allows them to more efficiently and effectively complete daily tasks, regardless of the industry or profession.

Professional Uses of Microsoft Office

Microsoft Office is used by professionals across the globe. According to a 2021 report, approximately 1.2 billion people in 140 countries currently use a Microsoft Office product. Office is relied on by people of all ages, from all backgrounds, with all levels of professional training. Applications such as Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and Teams are some of this service’s most widely used products.

Administrative Assistants, Accountants, Data Journalists, and Financial Analysts regularly use Microsoft Excel for daily computations and data management. In addition, Presentation Designers and Presentation Operators commonly work with Microsoft PowerPoint to create engaging and compelling professional presentations on relevant topics. Microsoft Word has a wide range of uses across any industry where word processing is required, from publishing to advertising to transcribing. 

In addition, as many businesses transitioned to virtual meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft Teams became a popular business meeting platform to help people connect. According to a report from Statistica, the number of people who used Microsoft Teams on a daily basis nearly doubled in 2021, from 75 million to 145 million.

Different Microsoft Office Plans

Three Microsoft 365 plans are currently available, with different features, apps, and price points:

  • Microsoft 365 for use at home (Family or Personal):
    • These packages allow home users to create their own documents with the help of smart assistance features in PowerPoint, Word, and Excel. 
    • Those working with the home version for families have six TB of OneDrive storage capabilities, and those who purchase the Personal plan are given one TB of storage
    • Both Family and Personal plan users have access to Outlook’s calendar and ad-free email.
    • Office subscriptions for family or personal use include access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Teams, OneDrive, and Editor
  1. Microsoft 365 for use in business (Business Basic, Business Standard, Business Premium, and Apps for Business):
  • Business Basic subscriptions include:
    • One TB of cloud storage
    • Security options and web support
    • Meeting, calling, or chatting capabilities for up to 300 people
    • Business-standard emailing options
    • Business Basic comes with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Teams, Outlook, Exchange, OneDrive, and SharePoint
  • Business Standard subscriptions provide users with:
    • All the features of Business Basic
    • The tools necessary to host webinars and monitor attendee registration and reporting
    • Features that help to manage customer appointments
    • Desktop Office apps and their premium features
    • Business Standard Office comes with Excel, Word, Teams, PowerPoint, OneDrive, Outlook, SharePoint, Exchange, and Access (for PCs only)
  • Business Premium subscriptions offer users an array of helpful tools and features, such as:
    • Access to all the features included in Business Standard subscriptions
    • Advanced security options as well as protection against cyberthreats
    • Data access and control features
    • Business Premium plans come with PowerPoint, Excel, Word, Outlook, Teams, OneDrive, Exchange, SharePoint, Intune, and Azure Information Protection, as well as Access and Publisher (for PCs only)
  • Apps for Business includes:
    • 1 TB of cloud storage
    • Security features, as well as web and phone support
    • Apps for Business includes access to Word, PowerPoint, Excel, OneDrive, Outlook, and Access (for PCs only)
  1. Microsoft 365 for Enterprise (E3, E5, and F3):
    • E3 subscriptions include:
      • Integrated workflow capabilities
      • Intelligent security options
      • E3 plans also come with Excel, Word, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint, Outlook, OneDrive, Teams, Stream, and Windows
  • E5 comes with the following features and apps:
    • Automated and integrated security features
    • Advanced compliance capabilities and information protection options
    • Audio conferencing and calling through the cloud
    • Power BI tools and features
    • E5 plans include Windows, Power BI Pro, Stream, Teams, OneDrive, SharePoint, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel, and Word
  • F3 plans provide Office users with access to:
    • Workflow automation and customized apps
    • Intelligent security options
    • F3 subscriptions also provide users with access to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Teams, and Windows

With so many Microsoft Office subscription options available for professional or personal purposes, users can rest assured that their day-to-day software and server needs will be taken care of when they opt to work with this family of applications.

Start Learning Microsoft Office with Hands-On Classes

Proficiency in Microsoft Office can open professional doors across industries, as well as lead to upward career mobility. A great way to begin learning about Microsoft Office is to sign up for one of Noble Desktop’s Microsoft Office courses. These small group classes are offered in-person in Manhattan, as well as in the live online format. For students and professionals on the go, there are also in-person and live online Microsoft Office courses available through Noble Desktop or one of its affiliate schools. A variety of course options are offered, ranging in duration from three hours to three days and costing between $219 and $1,785. You can also browse in-person Microsoft Office classes in a city near you.

Noble Desktop also offers a Microsoft Excel Bootcamp for those who want a more in-depth study of this spreadsheet program. This 21-hour, beginner-friendly course covers essential Excel skills, such as Macros, functions, Pivot Tables, and formulas.