Here’s all the productivity features added to Microsoft 365 for individuals & families over the past year

Arif Bacchus

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It’s been almost a year since Microsoft launched Microsoft 365 Personal and Family, and since then a lot has changed in the world. That’s why, today on April 7, the company published a bit of a retrospective post, looking back at some of the work they’ve done, on the subscription service. From updates to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and a lot more, here’s a look at some of those new features, and why Microsoft 365 is always improving.

Mobile apps

Leading the list is a look at some of the improvements and changes for the mobile apps falling under the Microsoft 365 banner. This includes the Office app for iPad, new AI experiences for Cortana on Outlook for iPhone, the Microsoft Lens app, and more.

In February 2020, Microsoft announced a new Office app for the iPad. The app provides a simple, integrated experience that combines Word, Excel, and PowerPoint into a single app, without having to switch between different apps. You can learn more about the app right here.

In addition in February 2021, Microsoft also introduced new conversational AI experiences with Cortana on Outlook for iPhone. Thanks to this feature, Cortana can be used to schedule meetings, compose email messages, find files, and a lot more. All it takes is to just use the power of your voice.

Another big improvement comes with a bit of a rebrand in February 2021. Microsoft rebranded Office Lens as Microsoft Lens, with added enhancements to improve quality and performance. The app picked up Image to Table, Image to Text, Immersive Reader, Image to Contact, and QR Code Scan features.

Some smaller changes a happened to Microsoft To Do on iOS, as well as OneDrive. Thanks to iOS 14, it’s now possible to add To Do widgets to the home screen on iPhones. And, with March 2021 updates to the OneDrive iOS app, it became possible to view your iPhone’s Live Photos directly inside of OneDrive.

Microsoft Excel

Moving onto Microsoft Excel, there was quite a number of improvements over the past year, mainly catered to the Money in Excel feature. We went hands-on with the feature back in June of 2020, but Microsoft recently introduced some big tweaks for the experience.

Indeed, Microsoft released a Money in Excel budget template which can help you target spend and specific categories that matter to you, like groceries, gas, shopping. Also new are cash flow insights to help you monitor your monthly expenses. Finally, you can manually input transactions and account balances directly into Money in Excel to track cash purchases and more.

Elsewhere in Excel, Microsoft announced that Microsoft 365 subscribers will soon have access to over 100 data types powered by Wolfram. This means that you can import and refresh data directly into Excel instead of using multiple apps or sites to copy and paste external data into tables. This builds on the smart templates feature. This will be coming soon, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft PowerPoint

As for PowerPoint, the most notable thing was the introduction of the PowerPoint Presenter Coach. The feature is now on Windows, macOS, iOS, Android, and the web. Microsoft added things such as feedback on body language, tips to help avoid reputation, pronunciation practice tools, and more. We talked about these features back in March.

Microsoft Word

We’ve saved the best for last and will now get into Microsoft Word. Over the past year, Microsoft has added new features to the Microsoft Editor feature in Word. It’s now possible to check your document for plagiarism and get options for how to properly cite sources.

Microsoft even added multi-lingual support and additional website support to the Microsoft Editor browser extension, too. And, for folks who like design, there’s Designer in Word for web, which is now rolling out in preview. Microsoft says this can help you create documents with a polished, professional, and consistent look and feel

Also new is Text Predictions, which Microsoft says it is actively working to introduce to “all the places where you use Word and Outlook.” It’s now available for Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscribers in Word for web, plus in Word for Windows via the Office Insiders program.

Finally, you can see the background on a writing suggestion in Word thanks to Microsoft Editor. Just click the lightbulb icon, and see more information. The feature is coming soon in Microsoft Editor in Word for the web.

Subscribe now!

This is just a quick look at some of the features Microsoft has introduced to Microsoft 365 over the past year. As you can tell, compared to the stand-alone versions of Microsoft Office, there are always new features to play with when you’re a Microsoft 365 subscriber. You can try a one-month trial here, and check out more at Microsoft.