What is Microsoft 365 and Which Apps are Included?

Vanessa Damaso

by Vanessa Damaso     2 MIN READ

Using Microsoft 365 to enhance your productivity sounds like a great idea. But can it improve your daily workflow?

At Vineforce, we have been using the M365 suite since its inception seven years ago.

“With the increases in employees working from home and students distance learning, Microsoft Office 365 has become a pivotal tool for productivity. Delivering a virtual workplace starts with a single cloud-based, enterprise solution, one which connects the dots across business functions and departments to deliver a unified experience for both workers and customers alike – wherever they are, on any device. And it can be done through Microsoft Office 365.”

We have put together this guide to help current and future subscribers understand what Microsoft 365 is and how it can improve their productivity.

What is Microsoft 365?

Microsoft 365 (previously known as Office 365) is a group of apps that work collaboratively to help individuals, teams, and organizations become more productive on any device.

Your first interaction with any Office apps was with the more traditional ones (Word, Excel, PowerPoint) preinstalled on your personal or work computer. However, there is a lot more to M365.

It includes all these traditional Office applications plus more added value or functions. You have access to more apps and frequent updates and fixes over your service term with a single subscription.

The name "Microsoft 365" itself expresses a more extensive scope. Before we dive into each app and how they work, let us begin our journey by learning how to choose the right plan.

Choosing the right plan

You can select the right Microsoft 365 subscription depending on whether you plan to use it personally or for small or large organizations.

These plans are as follows:  

Personal and Family Plans

As the name suggests, are for you or a family. These plans differ in the number of people that can use them. The family plan can be shared among two to six people, while the personal plan is for a single user. Both come with the essential Office apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook) and Microsoft Teams. You can add your custom domain (e.g., myfamily.com) to any family or personal plan, allowing you to use it for personal or business purposes.

Business Plans

There are four diverse types: Business Basic, Business Standard, Business Premium, and Apps for Business. At Vineforce, we recommend subscribing to the Business Standard because it is less costly than Business Premium, and it comes with the total capacity of the Power Platform. Business apps can be built, and business processes automated with Power Platform without writing code.

Enterprise Plans

This is for organizations with hundreds or thousands of employees. We recommend you reach out to us, Vineforce, a Microsoft Partner, to help you select the right enterprise plan for your organization.

How to log in to Microsoft 365?

After choosing the right plan, logging into M365 is easy and can be done from anywhere on almost any device. To access the web, use the web address. https://login.microsoftonline.com/.

To use M365 on your mobile device, install Microsoft Office app or the individual apps (Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, etc.) from the iOS/Google Play store.

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What apps are included?

Microsoft 365 apps can be split into two main categories: Office Apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote) and Productivity Tools (SharePoint, OneDrive, To-Do, Lists, Planner, Forms, Booking, and more).

The difference is that traditional Office apps create information, like a PowerPoint presentation, while productivity tools help you organize and manage that information.

Below is a brief overview of the apps we believe will help you become more productive.

Word

Microsoft Word is a popular application for composition writing and editing.

Word includes spelling and grammar checking, formatting text features, tracking changes. etc.

Word integrates with M365 in several ways, including its built-in ability to quickly create or save documents to OneDrive or SharePoint, making them available from anywhere, on any device.

Excel

Microsoft Excel is a powerful spreadsheet program primarily designed for analyzing and gaining insights from data.

However, its flexible design and ease of use are used to manage lists, track tasks, create budgets, and more. It contains columns and rows that allow adding information to each cell and organizing them according to your needs.

Excel is your go-to tool if you need to generate reports quickly or perform mathematical or statistical calculations on your data.

OneNote

OneNote is an excellent tool for capturing your notes and jottings in an organized place without creating unnecessary separate documents. This tool also lets you add images, text, tables, and more.

OneNote makes formatting text a breeze with its Word-like formatting options. You can stay organized with sections, pages, and subpages.

One of the most remarkable features is how notes are automatically synchronized to OneDrive or SharePoint and are available from the web or on any mobile device.

PowerPoint

Creating and giving presentations is a must-have in any workplace. Microsoft PowerPoint is an app to create professional working presentations.

PowerPoint offers hundreds of built-in and online templates you can choose from to create your presentation from scratch.

Themes are available to create and arrange your slides. You can add content to each, like text, images, audio, video, and even web links.

Your presentation can be personalized by adding your own background image or color scheme.

SharePoint

SharePoint is a collaboration hub that integrates document storage, lists (mini-databases), Web Parts (mini-apps), and workflows in a secure web-based system. It is an intranet site or webpage that everyone from your team can access. It is designed to improve the way teams work together by helping them store, organize, and share information needed to do their daily work. It also functions to keep team members informed about the happenings in their organization/company. All of this is done in real-time.

SharePoint is the best way to store documents used by multiple team members, while OneDrive is better suited for personal documents or draft copies of your work.

If you are using MS Teams, it is best to let MS Teams create a team site in SharePoint for you, as it will automatically set up everything you need to collaborate effectively.

OneDrive

OneDrive, unlike SharePoint, is a personalized storage system that allows you to manage and organize your documents and share them with your team.

OneDrive is not accessible by other people. Therefore, you can store your drafts before sharing them with a colleague. It also allows you to set passwords on shared links to protect them. 

You may move files from SharePoint to OneDrive and vice versa for collaboration.

Outlook

Outlook helps you stay on top of your emails, tasks, and files. It securely helps you do more from one inbox with intelligent email, a task organizer, spam email protection, calendar reminders, and contacts.

Outlook email service works with Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft 365, Outlook.com, Gmail, and Yahoo Mail so that you can stay connected on the go. Outlook enables you to email friends and colleagues and switches between emails and a calendar organizer to schedule the next meeting or share availability with just a few taps.

Email documents from your files are stored in OneDrive to photos on your mobile device.

Outlook has integrations with Office, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneDrive so that you can manage, send files, and connect with Teams, Zoom, and other video calling providers without hassle.

Teams

MS Teams has made communication much easier for those who use M365.

Teams is the place to have informal chats, iterate quickly on a project, work with team files, and collaborate on shared deliverables. This app also gives you the ability to share said files and share screens, so it is excellent for real-time communication with others, like video meetings that require presentations.

Team sites automatically created by MS Teams store all files and documents used by a team.

In hierarchical order, MS Teams consists of 3 main parts - Teams, Channels, and Groups. Channels are great for managing projects or departmental information.

For example, you can have a Vineforce Team with channels for marketing, sales, support, etc. Groups allow you to chat, call, or share files with your teammates in real-time

You can use MS Teams to schedule and create video meetings for the entire team or for one-on-one meetings.

Planner

Microsoft Planner is a Kanban-style project management tool that allows teams to assign and monitor tasks.

Each project, called a plan, is linked to a group in Microsoft 365.

Once a plan is created, anyone that is part of that M365 group can access the plan to see tasks assigned to them or their teammates.

Microsoft Planner can integrate with other M365 tools like MS Teams and SharePoint.

If your team uses MS Teams for collaboration, Planner can be accessed from within Teams, and you can receive alerts when tasks are assigned.

The customizable nature of Planner makes it possible for you to create different buckets such as 'to do,' 'doing,' and 'done' to represent your workflow progress.

If you are familiar with Trello, think of Planner as a simpler version of Trello that works with M365.

To-Do’s

Microsoft To-Do is a cloud-based personal task management tool.

Available as a web, desktop, and mobile app, it is always with you and ready to help you get things done.

Unlike Planner, which is primarily a task management tool for teams, To-Do helps you manage your own tasks.

However, tasks in To-Do can be shared with people within your organization.

Tasks in To-Do can be organized into groups called lists (e.g., shopping list, things-to-pack-for-vacation list).

Microsoft To-Do helps you plan your day by creating a My Day list that merges tasks and clears up at the end of the day. It works in harmony with other M365 tools to help you become more productive.

One notable feature is its ability to show emails flagged from Outlook as tasks and any tasks assigned to you in Microsoft Planner.

Lists

Microsoft Lists is an excellent tool for making lists to store any information you want to track. It is customizable, easy to use, and sharable across your organization, making it ideal for team collaboration.

Lists has a unique ability to create fields to track diverse types of data (text, dropdowns, dates, and more) without any special programming skills.

You can search for information stored in Lists instantly, with filters automatically created based on your data.

Lists can also be exported to Excel, a convenient way to store information requiring analysis. Starting a new list is made easy with ready-made templates. Lists is very accessible with apps for MS Teams, mobile devices, and the web

Bookings

Microsoft Bookings is a powerful tool that makes it easy to set up and manage your appointments with others.

You can add services you sell, hours you are available for meetings, and customize the look and feel of your booking page, making it easy to share your availability by generating a unique link for email signatures or code for your website.

Bookings automatically update your availability based on what is on your Outlook calendar.

Forms

If you are looking for an effortless way to collect data from quizzes, surveys, and more, look no further than Microsoft Forms.

This online tool lets you create forms that participants can fill out on their computers or mobile phones

These forms are easy to use, and they help to automate workflows with the help of Microsoft Power Automate.

This tool automatically exports your results into an Excel file, so you will never have to worry about the quality of your data.

Whiteboard

You can quickly share ideas with your team members and collaborate on projects as if you were using a physical whiteboard with Microsoft Whiteboard, which has tons of features that make it easier than ever to draw or write on the board.

Power Apps

Microsoft Power Apps allows non-programmers to create mobile or desktop apps for their organization with an intuitive drag-and-drop builder. It dismisses the need of the user to know how to code.

Accessing data is built-in and hidden from the creator, allowing them to focus on solving business problems, thereby significantly reducing the time and cost of developing a custom business app.

Power Automate

With this cloud-based automation tool, you can connect the dots between all your favorite programs so that they can seamlessly communicate with one another.

With Power Automate, you build automated workflows that can be triggered automatically or at a specific time. In other words, it automates repetitive tasks.

What is great about Power Automate are the built-in integrations with other M365 apps such as To-Do, Outlook, OneDrive, Planner, Forms, and more.

Power BI

Microsoft Power BI has all the tools you need to turn any data source into valuable, interactive insights.

Use it to quickly find the most relevant information across your data - from spreadsheets to SharePoint lists and on-premises hybrid databases - and create visualizations in minutes.

Share your findings with others in seconds, so they can make the best decisions possible.

The Integration of Vineforce

With the dizzying array of applications that comes with Microsoft 365, it can be hard for your team to keep up.

But we have a solution! We built Vineforce as a straightforward way for teams using M365 to have instant workflow by taking advantage of all M365 has to offer without the need to customize each app or service, thus improving your team’s productivity.

Our tool transforms the platform of Microsoft 365 into a single cohesive toolkit that pulls on all the above-mentioned apps to help your team get more done, experience less burnout, and feel more connected with each other.

Working Remotely? Use Microsoft 365?
Vineforce is the tool for you.

It helps you keep tabs on your team's morale, work progress, time spent working, or projects completed - from anywhere.

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