Some quirks of the F3 license

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

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. 😢

Fortunately, OneDrive and SharePoint now have good video players so I guess it will not be a big problem, apart from the storage space allocation.
It does make me wonder what Stream is good for, then.

With the E3 and other licenses, there’s an upload option top right. No such thing for the F3.

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.

You need to download a recorded meeting.

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!

8 thoughts on “Some quirks of the F3 license

  1. curtica November 15, 2020 / 6:14 pm

    This isn’t a quirk related to F3 license, but I notice that now that videos are saving to OneDrive/SharePoint, the video player there does not allow for variable playback speed. In Stream, you can change the speed. I can’t find a way to do this in OneDrive. Thanks!

    • Ellen van Aken November 16, 2020 / 7:17 pm

      Ah, good one! I have not been using Stream much so I did not know this option. I was impressed that SP and OD finally have a video player at all. I remember the times when you had to download first, then open with a media player. 🙂
      Hmmmm…differences between playing video in Stream and OD/SP – might be a blog. Thank you for the suggestion!

      • curtica November 18, 2020 / 4:03 pm

        Looks like Microsoft has this on the roadmap “in development” with a release date of June CY2021. Feature ID: 68831. All your posts are helpful – thanks!

      • Ellen van Aken November 18, 2020 / 6:38 pm

        That is good to know. And thank you – glad it is helpful! Cheers, Ellen

  2. russgove November 17, 2020 / 8:21 pm

    Still trying to verify, but I heard F3 uses cant customize sharepoint forms with PowerApps? Can you check with one of your colleagues?

    • Ellen van Aken November 17, 2020 / 8:40 pm

      I will see what I can do – in any case I know the F3 can set workflows with Power Automate.

  3. Bryan January 13, 2021 / 10:02 pm

    F3 users cannot have a dedicated machine over 10.1 inches. This is the major issue for any normal user in the office. Used to be 60% use of the machine over 90 days. Total mess for my company…

    Marketing data states they cannot use the apps on a device over 10.1″, the contract says it extends to F3. If you are not using this from your phone you are likely going to get an audit and a huge bill (3x) at true up. Ask me how I know…

    • Ellen van Aken January 15, 2021 / 8:56 am

      Hi Bryan, thanks for the warning! I will check that with my colleagues who deal with the licenses. I thought it was the mobile apps that can only be used on a “smaller” device, but that they can use the web apps freely on a machine. I hope I am right, but will try to find out more.
      Best regards,

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