What is Microsoft 365? Here’s what you need to know about the subscription service to Word, Excel, and other Microsoft programs

office space working on desktop computers
Microsoft 365’s subscription packages for businesses can help improve your office’s productivity and workflow.

  • Microsoft 365 is a subscription-based evolution of Microsoft Office, featuring familiar programs, like Word and Excel, but with additional features.
  • There are different tiers of Microsoft 365 plans suited for different needs, like business, personal, and family plans.
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You’ve likely heard of Microsoft Office, which consists of workplace applications, including the widely used Microsoft Word program.

What you may not realize is that Word and other Office programs – Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote – are also a part of Microsoft 365.

Making a one-time purchase of Microsoft Office is still an option to anyone who wants access to the suite of programs. However, you might want to opt for Microsoft 365 instead, which is structured as a paid monthly subscription plan and features myriad perks not included with Office, including cloud-based productivity tools and artificial intelligence capabilities. 

Here’s a little bit more about Microsoft 365, how it differs from its predecessor, and how you can sign up.

What to know about Microsoft 365

Some of Microsoft’s subscription-based services were formerly known as Office 365.

In April 2020, Microsoft rebranded all of those services to Microsoft 365 to help differentiate its subscription service from the traditional Office-branded Microsoft program packages.

Microsoft 365 offers special additions to its classic Office apps as well as access to more programs, like OneDrive. Even a basic Microsoft 365 personal plan gives you access to premium versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, which Office doesn’t offer.  

You also get access to advanced tools and features like Microsoft Editor to help edit your writing; the financial planning tool, Microsoft Money in Excel; and OneDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage that allows for ease of collaboration in real time.

There’s also a slew of other smart perks in Microsoft 365: You can get focused help on your resume with Word’s Resume Assistant, or help with your next presentation with the PowerPoint Presenter Coach.

Again, these are benefits you won’t see with a basic Office purchase, and you can get them all with a Microsoft 365 plan for home, which has two tiers.

As the 365 plans move up in tiers, there are added security and business tools available. For instance, appointment manager Microsoft Bookings is available in the Standard and Premium versions of Microsoft 365, but not the Basic, and only the Premium tier of Microsoft 365 Business grants you access to mobile-device manager Intune and Azure Information Protection.

If you can’t decide on a business plan, Microsoft can help you determine what plan best fits your business, and you can back out before the one-month free trial ends.

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How to draw freely on Microsoft Word or insert shapes to customize documents

creative professional working on laptop
It’s easy to create your own drawings in Microsoft Word.

  • You can draw freely in Microsoft Word using the “Draw” feature whether you have Word for Mac or Windows.
  • You can also insert customizable shapes into your document, or draw using the “Scribble” feature.
  • The process of drawing in Word varies based on which version of Word and device you’re using.
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If you’ve ever wanted to express an idea visually rather than with words, you can do so in Microsoft Word with the “Draw” feature. 

Word lets you create your own custom drawings using the mouse or touch tools. Or, if you’re not the best artist, you can insert pre-set shapes and illustrations that can be customized to your liking. Here’s how to do both in Word. 

How to draw on Microsoft Word using touch tools or the mouse

The steps for creating a custom drawing in Word are different depending on what kind of device and what version of Word you have. 

If you have a Windows computer with Microsoft 365 or Office 2019:

1. Open an existing document or create a blank document in Word.

2. The “Draw” tab may be already available on your ribbon if you have a touch-enabled device. If “Draw” is not an available tab on your ribbon, you’ll need to add it. To do so, click “File” at the top of your screen, then “Options,” and select “Customize Ribbon.” In the Customize screen, click on “Draw” to add it to the ribbon.

How to draw on Microsoft Word 5, Click on “Draw” under the customize the ribbon Main Tabs menu.

3. Once “Draw” is in the ribbon, click on it.

4. Click on whichever drawing tool you want to use. To change the size or color of the drawing tool, click on it again and select from the dropdown list of options.

5. Use your mouse or trackpad to begin drawing. 

How to draw on Microsoft Word 6, Select whichever tool you want to draw freely on your Word document.

If you have a Windows computer with Office 2016 or Office 2013:

1. Open an existing document or create a blank document in Word.

2. In the Word ribbon, click the “Review” tab and choose “Start Inking.”

3. Under “Ink Tools,” select “Pens” and then choose “Pen” again.

4. Choose the ink color and pen thickness you want and begin drawing. 

If you have a Mac computer with Microsoft 365 or Office 2019:

Unlike Windows computers, the Draw feature is only available on Macs if you have either Microsoft 365 or Office 2019. 

1. Open an existing document or create a blank document in Word.

2. Click the “Draw” tab on the ribbon at the top of Word. 

3. You’ll see a list of pens to choose from. Once you’ve clicked on one, click on it again to change the ink color or pen thickness. 

4. You can also select “Draw with Trackpad” to use your finger to draw on your trackpad, instead of dragging your cursor to draw. 

How to draw on Microsoft Word using default tools

1. Open an existing document or create a blank document in Word.

2. Click on the “Insert” tab, then select “Shapes.”

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The “Insert” tab will show all the options for things you can insert in your document, like “Shapes.”

3. You’ll be shown a long list of shapes you can add to your document. You can pick one of the pre-defined shapes, but if you want to draw, click on the icon that looks like a scribble under the “Lines” header. It’ll be the last option.

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There’s a full selection of pre-set shapes you can add to your Word document, or choose “Scribble” to create your own.

4. Once you’ve selected the “Scribble” icon, your cursor will turn into a crosshair. Click and drag your mouse to draw with it, and release the mouse when you’re done. Your drawing will be turned into an image, and you can move or resize it like any other image.

5. Once you’ve added the shape, you can refine it using the tools at the top of the screen. You can adjust the color in “Shape Fill,” adjust the outline of it in “Shape Outline,” or add “Shape Effects” like shadows to the shape.

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You can adjust your shapes using “Shape Styles” once the shape has been created.

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