Features You’ll Miss If You’re Not Using Office 365

Features You'll Miss If You're Not Using Office 365

What are the Top 10 Microsoft Office 365 New Features?

How do you feel when you hear about yet another update to the popular Microsoft Office suite? Excitement … dread … fatigue? As a Microsoft Certified Trainer, Microsoft Office expert, and technology speaker, I’m often asked about new features and if the latest upgrade is worth the time and money. Although there aren’t a lot of must have improvements, there are some handy new features to get to know as an update is likely in the near future, especially with the move in many organizations to Office 365. Let’s look at the top 10 Office 365 new features starting with a quick look at the different flavors of Microsoft Office.

Office 365 vs Office 365

What’s the difference between Office 365 and Office 365? The short version: Office 365 is the latest version of the Microsoft Office productivity suite with top programs Microsoft Office 365 new featuresincluding Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, etc., typically accessed via the desktop. Office 365 is available as a one-time purchase for one computer but there aren’t any upgrade options so you would need to buy it again at full price when you want to upgrade to a newer version. Office 365 is a cloud-based subscription service, paid on a monthly or yearly basis, which includes the most recent version of Office, currently Office 365. In addition to the programs you’re familiar with, you have access to a variety of Office 365 only applications, ongoing upgrades, extra online storage via OneDrive, tech support at no extra cost, and more.

Much more basic, Office Online is the free version of Office that you can use in your web browser. Click here to try the Office Online apps.

What matters most about the new Office 365?

Best Office 365 New Features

We’ll start with the key features that don’t require a Microsoft Office 365 subscription but are also included with Office 365.

Smart Lookup

Available in each top Office 365 programs including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook 365.

Also called “Insights” from Bing, the new Smart Lookup feature lets you find facts and answers through the Bing search engine. Just place your cursor on any word or highlight any phrase and right-click. Next, choose Smart Lookup from the dropdown list. It can see the context of selected text by examining surrounding content and then will try to provide relevant information and images within the Insights panel in Office. I usually use a browser for my searches but it’s nice to have another option.

Tell Me

Available in each top Office 365 programs including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook 365.

Another of the Office 365 new features is Tell Me, a great option when you just want the answer, not the detailed how-to instructions. Look at the right side of the Ribbon menu in a program after the last tab, to see a light bulb that says “Tell me what you want to do.” Just enter the words and phrases that describe the steps you want to do next and quickly get the features or actions you want to use. You can also choose from Recently Used searches and use this option to dig into other help choices for the active Office 365 program. If you have selected something in your document, you will see commands specific to that object. For example, if an image is selected, you will see commands related to images.

Outlook 365: Recent Documents

Microsoft Office 365 new features. Attachments are often a daily part of email and now they are so much easier to send. Have you ever finished a report, budget, or presentation that you want to email but it’s buried in the depth of your computer or network folder structure?

The new Recent Documents feature in Outlook 365 shows you the documents you’ve recently worked on in the Office programs so you don’t have to hunt for them. A much easier way to quickly add an attachment. I could have used this years ago!

Excel 365: Quick Analysis Tools

In Excel 365, business analytics are now easier and faster, with streamlined data analysis, new forecasting capabilities and a better functionality to get and transform data.

Quick analysis tools are a real timesaver helping to move you in the right direction with selected data. Look for the lightning worksheet icon at the bottom right corner of the range, click this icon, and a popup menu displays a half-dozen options for working with the data.

Excel 365: New Charts

The ability to visualize data with an Excel chart has always been a valuable and powerful capability. Excel 2013 added some new PivotTable features, enhanced Slicers, and the handy Flash Fill feature. In Excel 365, you have six new charts to show off your work: Waterfall, Treemap, Pareto, Histogram, Box and Whisker, and Sunburst.

Pareto sorts the bars by highest first and shows which bars have the biggest impact or highest return. Use this chart data to decide where to assign your resources.

Waterfall (a.k.a. ‘flying brick’ chart) provides a visual method for viewing a series of positive and negative data, such as monthly cash flows. Because the bars seem to hover between the start and end columns, it looks sort of like a waterfall.

PowerPoint 365: Morph Transition

PowerPoint 365 introduces a brand new transition type called Morph. This transition helps you make smooth animations, transitions, and object movements across the slides in your presentation. To use the Morph transition, you’ll need to have two slides with at least one object in common—the easiest way is to duplicate the slide and then move the object on the second slide to a different place, or copy and paste the object from one slide and add it to the next. Then, with the second slide selected, go to Transitions > Morph to see how this cool feature can automatically animate, move, and emphasize your objects across slides. This transition can even change from one color to another as you switch slides.


Word 365: Real-Time Edits

When documents are shared through OneDrive, OneDrive for Business, or SharePoint Online, you can now group-edit them in real time. With this co-authoring feature, you will see Word changes reflected in real time to all users who’ve opened the document. And Office 365 makes it easier to share those documents with others in the first place. Real-time co-authoring is also available through Excel 365 and PowerPoint 365.

Outlook 365: Cloud Attachments

When attaching files saved in a cloud location, you can now send documents as attachments (the traditional approach) or as links to saved files. If you send links, you avoid the duplication of document copies, and you create one location for document edits. Plus, if the documents are stored in OneDrive or SharePoint, you can assign different permission levels.

Teams: Small Group Connections

  • Microsoft Teams is a group collaboration tool that integrates with other Microsoft applications including Planner, OneNote, SharePoint, Outlook, Word, and Excel.
  • Although similar to Slack, Teams is more robust with chat (text and video), file sharing, formal and informal group communications, meetings, and more.
  • Direct connection to other Microsoft programs is a huge plus!