Microsoft has announced that it will end support for its Microsoft 365 browser extension on January 15th, 2024. This means that the extension will no longer receive security updates, bug fixes, or technical support, and will be removed from the Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome web stores. In this article, we will explain what the Microsoft 365 browser extension is, why Microsoft is ending its support, and what impact it will have on the users.
What is Microsoft 365 Browser Extension?
The Microsoft 365 browser extension (formerly named Office browser extension) is a free extension available on Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome that gives users access to their Microsoft 365 apps and documents on the web. The extension puts an icon on the browser toolbar that allows users to open files stored in OneDrive and OneDrive for Business, and to use the features of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Sway right in their browser without needing Microsoft 365 installed. The extension also includes proofing of the user’s content, which connects to a Microsoft online service that offers spelling, grammar, and refinement suggestions for their writing on most websites.
Reasons for Ending Support
Microsoft has not explicitly stated the reasons for ending support for the Microsoft 365 browser extension, but it is likely that the extension has become redundant or obsolete due to the availability of other options. For example, users can access their Microsoft 365 apps and documents directly from the Microsoft Edge sidebar, which provides quick access to tools, apps, and more within the current tab. Users can also access their Microsoft 365 apps for free on the web from www.microsoft365.com and bookmark the page in their browser for quick access. Moreover, Microsoft has been developing and promoting the new Microsoft Edge browser, which is based on the Chromium engine and supports a wider range of extensions, including those from the Chrome web store. The new Microsoft Edge also follows the Modern Policy, which means that it receives regular updates and does not have a predefined end of support date.
Impact on Users
The end of support for the Microsoft 365 browser extension will have minimal impact on most users, as they can easily switch to other alternatives that provide similar or better functionality. However, some users may still prefer to use the extension for convenience or familiarity, and they will need to remove the extension from their browser before the end of the support date. To do so, they can follow the steps provided by Microsoft for Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome users. Users who want to continue using Microsoft 365 apps and services on their browser should also make sure that they have the latest version of their browser and that they sign in with their Microsoft account. Users who need more help or have questions can contact their Microsoft account representative or visit the Microsoft support website.