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Microsoft 365 has long been exclusively available for business use, but that changed today, when Microsoft
announced Personal and Family subscriptions, which bundles Office
apps, OneDrive cloud storage, Outlook, Family Safety, and Teams for Families. Redmond also announced intriguing updates to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and the
Edge web
browser
.

If you’re an Office 365
subscriber, your plan will automatically
convert to the new Microsoft 365 bundle of software and services on April 21. Pricing remains the same; $6.99 per month for Microsoft 365 Personal and $9.99 per month for Family. The Family plan lets you “share your subscription with
your family for up to 6 people, and use your apps on multiple PCs, Macs,
tablets, and phones,” Microsoft says

Microsoft Word

New for Microsoft Word are AI tools intended to improve your writing, taking inclusivity into consideration. For
example, if you write the phrase “Gentleman’s agreement,” it will suggest
something less gender-limited, like “unwritten agreement.” It can also
check similarity with published documents to avoid plagiarism. A new Microsoft Editor browser extension also lets
you extend these capabilities to web writing.

Microsoft Excel

Excel gets a new Money In Excel template for home finance
use, which lets you log into financial services right in the spreadsheet and generate a personal financial snapshot. New food data types show you calories
and other nutrition info when you enter them into a cell. And a College Decision
template lets you compare the pros and cons of institutions you’re
considering.

Microsoft PowerPoint

PowerPoint gets a new library of premium images, including
some “live” moving backgrounds. It can also determine if a text slide
would look better as a graphic and automatically create one. For when you’re
actually presenting, PowerPoint Presenter Coach can pop up messages telling you about delivery missteps, like if you’re saying “um” too much or reading in a monotone or too
fast. Conversely, it also gives positive feedback when your
pitch is well varied. A summary ties together all the feedback.

Family Safety Apps and Services

Coming later this year via a limited preview, Family Safety apps and services work across Android, Windows, and Xbox, and help you manage your kids’ screen time, as well as police inappropriate content, cyber-bullying, and distracted driving.

Kids can request more screen time, which you can limit by time amounts, times of day, and days of the week. The
service can also notify you when a child has left or arrived home with location sharing, and how fast
your teen driver is going with an opt-in feature called “Drive safety” (available in the US, UK, Australia, and Canada). Microsoft says the info isn’t shared with
outside entities, such as insurance companies.

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft reports that its Teams offering now has 44 million
daily active users, mostly in business and education. Starting this summer, you’ll be able to add
personal Teams to your business Teams screen, Microsoft’s Christy Hughes said today.

In addition to group video calls, Teams offers chat, file
sharing, calendar sharing, shared locations, tasks, and photo sharing. Each group
gets a Dashboard, and everything is protected with two-factor authentication
and end-to-end encryption. The Teams app and service for consumers launches in
preview this summer and fully in the fall.

Microsoft Edge

New for Microsoft’s revamped Edge web browser are vertical
tabs and smart copy, which lets you copy portions of a web page, complete with links
and text, but without unneeded parts of the page. A Collections feature for organizing
web research is also coming to mobile phones soon, with syncing across mobile and
desktop.

Popular school video tool Flipgrid gets new features first in
Edge, since Flipgrid is owned by Microsoft. Edge’s InPrivate mode will integrate
private search, and a new Password Monitor checks the dark web to see if your credentials
have been leaked. Finally, the browser integrates a new charitable feature, Give with Bing, which lets you turn browsing into donations to your causes of choice from over a million options, with the CDC Foundation prominent among them.

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