Microsoft 365 Applications Overview
Microsoft 365 Applications Overview

In this course, we take an introductory look at the productivity tools included within Microsoft 365. We go over the wide range of benefits each tool can provide and give examples of how and when to use each tool.

Learning Objectives

Have a greater understanding of each tool and be able to explain in detail what each tool can do and the situations in which it could be used.

Intended Audience

Users new to Microsoft 365.


An understanding of general technical concepts.


Let’s start off with a brief overview of what each tool is and how it is used and afterwards we can give into greater detail about each.

First up, lets talk about the newest addition to Office, OneNote. OneNote is Microsoft’s digital notebook solution. It allows users to organize notes, pictures, files, and more in a notebook style application  It can be broken down into notebooks, sections, and pages. The best way I can describe OneNote is like a digital 5 subject notebook with unlimited notebooks, sections, and pages. It’s notebooks sync directly with a user’s OneDrive which allows users to access the notebook anywhere from any device as long as they have their login information.

Speaking of OneDrive, lets move onto OneDrive and SharePoint. These both offer secure cloud-based file storage and allow for file sharing across your organization. You can change file permissions and revoke access to certain files within each cloud. OneDrive is a personal cloud storage folder while SharePoint can be thought of as a group cloud storage folder spanning across your organization. SharePoint also allows for the creation of internal intranet sites where you can create news posts and either a Teams or Communication site.

These sites can be used as a place to host important tools relevant to your organization or for simple communication of news across your org. Which leads us perfectly into the next tool, Microsoft Teams. This is Microsoft’s chat-based collaboration software that combines text and video chat with the collaboration and file management of SharePoint to create the ultimate collaboration tool. You can use Teams to chat with colleagues, schedule meetings, collaborate on files, and host video calls across your organization. Next up we have Outlook and Exchange.

Outlook is an email and productivity tool that hosts your email, calendar, contacts, and tasks all from one app. Exchange is a mail server that hosts all data that Outlook would access and is managed for organizations with a valid Microsoft 365 subscription. Now we move into some more specialized tools in Microsoft 365, these are tools like Yammer, Planner, Power Platform, Stream, and Delve. Let’s start with Yammer and Stream. Yammer is an org wide communication site that can be used to publish updates, connect, and communicate with colleagues.

You can think of yammer like an internal social media platform for colleagues to connect on throughout an organization. Stream is a video hosting platform that allows organizations to securely create, upload, and share videos. If Yammer is similar to Facebook or Twitter than think of Stream like YouTube. Next, we have the task management tools, Project, Planner and Microsoft To-Do. Project is a project management software solution.

It allows users to create schedules and interactive dashboards of projects and assign resources to tasks and track progress of those tasks. Planner on the other hand could be thought of as a simpler version Project. You can manage group projects and keep track of progress with updates and timeframes for certain tasks. And Microsoft To-Do is a personal task tool used to manage your day-to-day tasks. The best way to differentiate each of these would likely be scale. 

Project is the largest, allowing for more complex integrations and dependencies, Planner is slightly smaller than that and is a more lightweight task management solution, and To-Do is even smaller specific to the individual or small groups. Planner and To-do both sync with one another so you can view and access tasks hosted in either and update them as long as they are assigned to you. While we are talking about scheduling software I should also make a quick mention of Microsoft Bookings. Bookings is an appointment management tool that enables organizations to manage and organize a team’s calendar and appointments.

It integrates with user’s calendars and simplifies scheduling by allowing customers to schedule appointments with staff. And now for the Power Platform. This is a collection of 4 tools that allows organizations to quickly build data-driven business solutions. The 4 tools are Power apps for building custom application, power automate for automating repetitive business processes, power BI for data visualization, and Power virtual agents for building a custom chatbot for your organization. 

Each of these tools provides a different solution and requires little to no knowledge of coding. And finally, there Is Delve and MyAnalytics Delve is tool used to discover and organize information. Delve utilizes something known as the Microsoft Graph to analyze and provide up to date information based on what is pertinent to you at that time. MyAnalytics is a tool that provides insight into improving your own productivity and well being by analyzing your schedule and workplace habits. It’s important to note that MyAnalytics is different than Workplace analytics. MyAnalytics is personal about your own individual insights and workplace analytics provides insights for all employees across the organization. Each of these tools provides a unique solution to meet your business needs.

Now that we have a basic understanding of these tools, let’s take a deeper dive into each starting with OneDrive and SharePoint.

About the Author
Learning Paths

Lee has spent most of his professional career learning as much as he could about PC hardware and software while working as a PC technician with Microsoft. Once covid hit, he moved into a customer training role with the goal to get as many people prepared for remote work as possible using Microsoft 365. Being both Microsoft 365 certified and a self-proclaimed Microsoft Teams expert, Lee continues to expand his knowledge by working through the wide range of Microsoft certifications.