By Catherine Morin
Microsoft on Monday unveiled its new Microsoft 365 Personal and Family consumer plans, which are designed to replace existing Office 365 subscriptions.
On April 21, current Office 365 offers will become Microsoft 365 subscriptions for the same price ─ $7 a month for one user or $10 monthly for up to six people.
Both plans comprise everything already in Office 365, including desktop Office applications, security features and technical support, as well as 60 Skype minutes and 1TB of OneDrive cloud storage per person. They also come with additional Office features spread across Word, Outlook, Excel, PowerPoint and Microsoft Teams.
Word, for instance, will now have a built-in Editor feature, which offers more advanced proofing capabilities than the regular spellcheck and grammar tools. It can flag repetitive words or rephrasing sentences, akin to Grammarly. It offers a similarity checker to prevent plagiarism, as well as style critiques regarding clarity, conciseness and formality.
Outlook will now let users link their personal and work calendars to get a better overview of their availability without having to juggle between accounts. Microsoft says the messaging app will maintain privacy for details of personal events and appointments.
Android users will have access to Outlook’s Play My Emails functionality. This new option has Cortana read out emails to provide a quick overview of inbox updates and will be available in the coming months.
PowerPoint’s existing Presenter Coach functionality, which helps users practice a slideshow presentation, will monitor people’s tone of voice and suggest ways to improve their speech.
While Skype remains Microsoft’s primary communication tool for consumers, the latest updates for Microsoft’s collaboration tools focused more on Microsoft Teams, with enhanced conversation features for both work and home.
The collaborative platform will now allow friends and family to connect through video calls or group chats, and share photos and to-do-lists in a single location.
Lastly, Microsoft 365 subscribers will gain access to the Family Safety app, which aims to help parents and kids develop healthy online habits. The app, which will be available on both Android and iOS, will manage screentime across Windows PCs, Android devices and Xbox. It will also let parents place online content restrictions to protect children as they explore websites and games.