Microsoft Office is celebrating its 32nd year in the industry, yet it remains one of the most competent office software suites on the market–so much so that it’s collected a respectable number of Apple followers. It’s evolved enormously since its inception and now offers Office 365, which follows a software as a service (SaaS) model. If you prefer to stay away from subscription services, Microsoft still sells a purchase-only product, which was released in 2019. Its collection of programs has become vastly more diverse since it floated into the cloud, and it remains one of the most pocket-friendly ways to run a freelance office.
Office 365 has two business offerings, while Office 2019 is offered in a clutch of business and professional options. Both have all the primary software components, including:
- Word: Still considered the best word processor on the market.
- Excel: Spreadsheet software, with upgrades to suit its new, chart-driven market.
- PowerPoint: The potent presentation tool comes with a few new tricks to keep it relevant
- Outlook: Combines email, calendar, contacts, and tasks in a single intuitive shell.
- Access: Microsoft’s database tool, which has improved chart types and updated support for new forms of data.
OneNote has been given the boot in the Office 2019 edition. Office 2019 is similar to its latest ancestor, although it has included some core upgrades.
- Outlook’s sparkling new Focused Inbox tool prioritizes your emails intuitively and has improved time zone support for its calendar tool. If you’re a globalized freelancer, these tools will help you to arrange international meetings in a few clicks.
- Word has improved its translation tool dramatically and finally fixed its text spacing options. It supports styluses and digital scribbles, with a Focus mode for users who prefer a fuss-free document creation process.
- Excel’s latest version supports inking and new chart types. It, at last, adds 3D sparkle to spreadsheets, a feature that’s also been added to PowerPoint.
- PowerPoint can now morph transitions and handles digital inking better than it did in the last edition. Slideshows can be exported as 4K videos in a drive to keep this small corner of Office relevant. This takes PowerPoint outside the office and into an online biome, where it can be used to market or facilitate meetings.
Microsoft's software as a service version offers some core additions to freelancers. One Drive brings cloud storage to all 365 users, using simple machine syncing to keep your documents up to date. It packs plenty of punch in terms of the tools it offers freelancers, particularly in an increasingly remote labor market. All Office applications can be worked online, allowing multiple users to edit the same documents. Real-time collaboration lets you store files in SharePoint, where several users can edit them in real-time via a combination of online Office tools and mobile clients.
Office 365 supports multiple users, and that's far from an insignificance difference. It makes your business scalable by providing a steady stream of upgrades and support. As the world turns to short-term contract-based engagements, it lets temporary coworkers collaborate without downloading a new toolkit. In a gig economy, it has some potent marketing tools, developed in consultation with the largest remote working site in the world. You needn't have a design background to handle PowerPoint and Excel's most sparkling graphic animations and charts, so if you can find your way around Google's algorithms, you can support your own marketing campaign and impress your clients.
Office365 has kept its reputation for three decades by tailoring each upgrade towards a reinvented world, and it's the freelance industry that needs that kind of revolution most.