Tue. May 21st, 2024


Seasoned Microsoft 365 users will defend its brilliance till the cows come home, and rightly so. It’s flexible and comprehensive (and at times, admittedly addictive!), so it’s no wonder that by 2022, over 345 million people had paid to use it. But it doesn’t come without its frustrating drawbacks.



1. Microsoft Could Offer More Training

Because Microsoft 365 is so comprehensive, most people only use a tiny proportion of its functionality. Microsoft’s online training courses only cover very complex topics, such as regenerative AI and building add-ins. And while there are Microsoft articles, blogs, and videos on Microsoft 365, they are mostly brief, explain the guidance with the assumption that the user has comprehensive knowledge of the package, and not very interactive.

Microsoft would certainly benefit from offering a more focused and comprehensive human-led training course for users at all levels, so that more people can truly appreciate the benefits of this dynamic suite of programs and add more modern-day skills to their resume.


2. Microsoft 365 Software Could Be More User- and Device- Friendly

The primary competitor to Microsoft 365 is the Google Suite. If Microsoft is keen to lure more people away from its Google counterpart, it needs to think about ways to make its programs more user-friendly. If you’ve always used Google Docs and Sheets, for example, you might find it very difficult to switch to Microsoft Word and Excel. Google’s secret is simplicity, keeping frequently accessed options readily available with everything else neatly tucked away in easy-to-understand drop-downs. With its complex ribbons and tons of drop-down menus, Microsoft 365 can be an incomprehensible nightmare for new or switching users.

Further, with the Microsoft 365 software being so full-to-the-brim with features and menus, this could potentially result in people with low-end computers struggling to operate it smoothly. For example, devices with less memory might struggle to deal with the many processes going on in the background in larger and more complex spreadsheets, word documents, and mailboxes. Indeed, a quick Google search reveals that many people often struggle with this issue.


The same also applies to older devices or computers with older versions of operating systems. With regular updates and new releases of Microsoft 365 programs, some older computers might have compatibility issues with newer Microsoft 365 features.

If they’re not already, the boffins at Microsoft should strive to strike a balance between the advanced functionality of the 365 programs and their compatibility with cheaper or older computers.

3. A Better Mobile Interface Is Needed

When using the Microsoft 365 mobile apps, it doesn’t take long to realize that they were not designed for optimal use on handheld devices.

For example, if you freeze, say, two columns on an Excel spreadsheet, when you view it on your mobile, you’ll see that the frozen panes significantly dominate your screen. And when you switch to the landscape view, the formatting and editing options take up around half your screen, meaning you’ve got little room to access the sheet’s cell area.


An Excel sheet on the iPhone mobile app, displayed in the horizontal position.

There are also so many options in the editing and formatting menus that you lose sight of the workspace, and it’s even harder to find the option you’re looking for than it is on the desktop app.

It’s great that you can access the work you have done on Microsoft 365 on the move through your mobile, and its quick sync with OneDrive makes this even better. But before it can truly claim that you can use Microsoft 365 seamlessly on the go, Microsoft needs to optimize the mobile versions of some of its apps.

4. AutoSave Should Work… Automatically!

Wouldn’t it be great if you could work on your Microsoft Word document without having to save it every few minutes in case your computer went kaput? Well, you sort of can with Microsoft 365, but it comes with a caveat.


Microsoft’s AutoSave to OneDrive function is a much-needed safety net, and works whether you are using its programs on a desktop, mobile, or tablet. The issue is that it only kicks into gear once you’ve manually saved your document. In other words, if you haven’t given your document a name and synced it to your OneDrive and your computer suddenly gives up, you won’t find your work nicely sitting in your OneDrive folder. Instead, you just have to hope that other recovery methods work instead.

The AutoSave option would only truly live up to its name if it worked from the moment you first created your document, with AI scouring your document to give it an appropriate name and saving it in an appropriate folder on your computer and in your OneDrive.

5. Adding Attachments to Mail Merges Is Too Complex

Mail Merging is a super time-saving tool for sending personalized versions of the same email to multiple recipients. It’s also really useful for writing a letter to send to a group of people or creating individualized address labels.


Unfortunately, one major drawback of this tool is that there isn’t a simple button to attach a document to all emails you send through this method. Instead, you have to use a third-party add-in or create a complex macro. This might come as a surprise, since Microsoft generally does well to take care of the obviously useful features, and considering many emails do, indeed, contain attachments, you’d have thought Microsoft would have this covered. What’s more, because the contents of the email going to each person are largely the same, it should be a straightforward process to add an attachment to the replication.

6. Too Many People Are Priced Out

While Microsoft offers four different 365 business packages, there are only two Microsoft 365 options for home users, and both are pricey. Microsoft could resolve this issue by, for example, charging less for people who only want to use Word, Excel, and Outlook, as many don’t bother with the other programs that are included in the costly subscription charge.


As well as this, if you want to use Microsoft 365 for free, you have to use the web-based versions of the software. Microsoft would increase their user base and show a willingness to be more affordable by offering a slimmed-down, free version of its desktop apps, especially with Google Suite not costing a penny.


Let’s give Microsoft some credit, here. Microsoft 365 is a great suite of programs that enables you to perform wide-ranging and complex operations for many different purposes, and you can also submit feedback with your ideas for new features and improvements. With a few small tweaks to the issues raised in this article, Microsoft really would be putting the icing on their 365 cake.



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By John P.

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