Update April 2022: From January 1st, 2022 I am no longer working at an organization where I have access to both the E3 and F3 licenses. Unfortunately I can no longer update this post.
When people talk or write about Microsoft 365 Outlook, Word or Excel, they generally mean the desktop versions.
However, there are Microsoft365 subscriptions that provide only the web and mobile versions of things. With the ongoing improvements of the web apps these subscriptions are getting better and better.
Most of my therapist colleagues have the Microsoft365 F3 license, which is a good fit for people who mostly work with patients and use dedicated medical software as their main application. F3 has web and mobile apps only.
While the comparison with the Microsoft E3 license (which most secretaries and staff have) clearly display most of the limitations of the F3, (albeit in the small print) there’s a few unmentioned “surprises” so let me list all that we have found so far, while providing support to our F3 collagues.
1. No desktop apps
This is the most obvious limitation. I think Word and Outlook for the web are both pretty good and getting better all the time, but some advanced functions are only available in the desktop apps, e.g. creation of scientific literature citations, or creation of a book index in Word.
An overview of the differences:
2. Storage for Outlook and OneDrive: 2 GB
Yes, it is mentioned quite clearly (also in our own support materials) but we regularly get questions from people who have almost reached the limit. All we can do is provide them with help to clean up their Outlook and OneDrive.
This is also the reason why I was not happy with the recent change to store Teams meeting recordings to OneDrive.
3. You can not upload a video to Stream (Classic)
Update November 2022: With the move to Stream (on SharePoint) I expect this issue to disappear, as created videos will be stored on OneDrive. But with only 2 GB of storage space, it means F3 users will have to be very careful and move videos to SharePoint where possible.
Just to be clear: F3 people can consume videos from Stream but not create them. It is mentioned in the comparison. I do not really get this. Are F3 users not expected to share any videos? Not even of training materials or a team get-together? We have a few colleagues who like to do vlogs for their colleagues – no Stream for them. 😢
4. Recorded Teams meetings go nowhere
We made the change from storage in Stream to OneDrive and SharePoint early, because we knew that F3-users can not upload anything to Stream. If an F3 recorded a meeting, they got an error message.
So we thought: “Well, OneDrive may not be optimal, but at least they will be able to store their recording in a good place. So let’s make the change, make them aware and suggest to move any recordings to SharePoint at their earliest convenience.”
The other day I recorded something with my F3 test account, and I was totally surprised to see that the recording did not go anywhere. It is in the meeting chat, with a message that it can be downloaded for 20 days.
The good news is that the recording can be saved. The bad news is that this is not as expected, and that people will need to take action to store it.
5. You can not create a Live Event
This is not a major issue, as organizing a large online event will generally be done by a few selected roles. An executive secretary, our Convention Bureau, communications etc.
An F3 colleague can produce and present, however, as described in this post.
This has nothing to do with the difference between web or desktop app – everyone in our organization has the Teams desktop app.
6. You do not have the Delve app
This is not mentioned anywhere in the comparison, so this was also a surprise when we found this. It is not too much of a limitation, as you can get there via your Office profile.
7. Agenda sharing issues with E3-colleagues
If an F3 colleague shares his or her agenda with an E3-licensed colleague, e.g. a group secretary, the secretary can only edit the agenda when using the Outlook web app.
This may have to do with the fact that there is no “desktop equivalent” in the F3-agenda. It is annoying though, as our secretaries generally prefer to work with Outlook desktop. We are trying to convince them that the Outlook web app is a joy to use, but so far most of them stick to desktop. 😢
Do you know any more quirks?
I have deliberately not mentioned a number in the title. Please let me know in the comments if you know something else, so we can create a shared resource!
This is a great opportunity to use one of the more than gorgeous letters of Simon Koay’s Superbet. F = Flash!