Since we announced Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscriptions a few weeks ago, I’ve been uplifted by the unique and creative ways people have been using Office and other Microsoft tools to work, learn, and connect from home. From giving piano lessons over Skype to virtual family workouts at home to teachers using Microsoft Teams to read stories to their students, it’s moving to see us all adapting and maintaining connections with those who matter most in this time.
As everyone adapts to different and innovative ways of living, working, and organizing, we are here to help in that process. Today, we’re excited that Microsoft 365 has more to offer across free and premium experiences. Here are 10 ways Microsoft can help you and your family experience more efficiency, more enjoyment, and more ease—
- Connect with loved ones and friends over Skype—This continues to be critical in this time. Maintaining our relationships looks different for all of us. It could be wishing your friend a virtual happy birthday, setting up a weekend trivia night with family, or having a video happy hour with your neighbors. With the Meet Now feature in Skype, it’s easy to connect over video (for free) with up to 50 people in just a few clicks.
- Become a better writer—Our desire and need to communicate during this time has not diminished, it has simply shifted. Quick café catch-ups are now social media discussions, and chats with coworkers are IMs. This is where Microsoft Editor can be a huge help. Now available as a browser extension in Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome, Editor offers writing assistance whether you are relaying a story on Facebook, writing an email to your child’s teacher, or posting on Twitter. Across the web, Microsoft Editor is your virtual assistant to help you write more clearly and concisely.
- Discover resources for your family, job, and schooling—There are thousands of free and premium templates available for you to use across Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, many of which are very relevant today. With kids learning from home, we’re proud to offer a variety of Home Learning templates like alphabet flash cards, a reading log in Word, or multiplication tables in Excel. When you’re looking for ways to connect with your kids and family at home, we have Family Activity templates including an animal doodle coloring book in PowerPoint and Sudoku puzzle solvers in Excel. For those working from home, or on the hunt for their next job, we offer wide range of Presentation templates as well as Resume and Cover Letter templates.
- Multi-task with ease—The Play My Emails feature in Outlook can be a lifesaver for those with a lot going on. Taking the dog on another walk? Fixing an afternoon snack for the kids? Have your emails read aloud to you so you can multitask effectively. And in this home/work/life blend we are all experiencing, it’s as important as ever to stay on top of your schedule. Outlook allows you to share calendars (so you can coordinate schedules with family members) and add calendars (so you can plan around important events).
- Keep a handle on your to-dos—For most, our homes are now a hub for much more than what they used to be. They’ve become our workspace, classroom, cafeteria, gym, and living area. Our realities and locations may have shifted, but that doesn’t mean we can’t remain organized. With Microsoft To-Do, you can create the grocery list and share it with your spouse so they can order it. You can make a task list for the kids to check-off before time on their Xbox. You can share workout routines with friends. Whatever you need to accomplish, we’ve got you covered.
- Craft standout presentations—PowerPoint has always been a wonderful tool to help you get your ideas across. Now, as we share more information and ideas with each other digitally, a strong presentation can make all the difference. Using intelligent technology, PowerPoint Designer offers beautiful layouts, rich animations, cinematic motion, 3D models, and modern icons to bring your presentation to life with a few clicks. Your subscription unlocks access to over 8,000 beautiful images and 175 looping videos, plus 300 fonts and 2,800 icons to create high-impact and visually appealing documents.
- Become a top-notch presenter—While we might not be standing in conference rooms or on stage for the time being, many of us are still presenting to live audiences on a daily basis. It could be a formal performance on a live stream to many, or simply talking through a document on a video call with your colleagues. Either way, verbal communication is a vital skill—as well as something many folks wish they were better at. Presenter Coach uses artificial intelligence (AI) to help your speaking. It aids with pacing, filler words, and speaking suggestions. Now, you’ll also get real-time feedback as the AI analyzes monotone speech and speech refinement—giving you tips on variation, grammar and phrasing.
- Share special moments and keep up connections—Do you have some cute photos of the Easter Egg hunt that took place around the living room? The grandparents would love to see them. Maybe you had a birthday celebration and want your friends to see the incredible cake your boyfriend baked? With 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage for Microsoft 365 subscribers, you can store these photos and any other files, as well as share them with others, with the knowledge they are always secured and backed-up.
- Get peace of mind when tech issues arise—Our homes have grown into bigger tech hubs with family members working and learning from home. With your Microsoft 365 subscription we’ve got your back with ongoing technical support for Windows 10 and all included Microsoft 365 apps readily available through chat or phone.
- Learn, meditate, manage, create and control—With a Microsoft 365 Personal or Family subscription comes access to incredible partner apps and services through free, limited-time offers. Find mindfulness with Headspace, create with Adobe, and learn new skills with CreativeLive. You also get access to TeamSnap, Bark, Experian, and Blinkist.
On the horizon, we have even more exciting news to debut. Money in Excel* will soon allow you to manage, track and analyze all your money and spending in a single place. Also, in Excel, you will be able to make sense of your data with informative and interactive visualizations of everything from food to movies to Pokémon**. Also coming soon is the Microsoft Family Safety App, which empowers families in a variety of ways with both free and premium offerings, including managing screen time across Windows PCs, Android, and Xbox. There will also be new features in Microsoft Teams that make it easier to connect, organize, and collaborate with family and friends.
Today is just the first step in delivering new features and value that helps us all navigate life. Microsoft 365 Personal and Family subscriptions are generally available today worldwide, with additional benefits added over time.