Editor’s note 1/27/2016:
The FAQs in the post have been updated to clarify which Office 365 plans are eligible for Planner when generally available.
We are excited to introduce a brand new experience in Office 365—Office 365 Planner, which offers people a simple and highly visual way to organize teamwork. Planner makes it easy for your team to create new plans, organize and assign tasks, share files, chat about what you’re working on, and get updates on progress. Planner can be used to manage a marketing event, brainstorm new product ideas, track a school project, prepare for a customer visit, or just organize your team more effectively.
One of the most valuable aspects of Planner is that it helps teams organize their work visually. Each plan has its own Board, and within each Board, each work item or task is represented by a Card that can have due dates, attachments, categories and conversations associated with it. Team members receive an email notification whenever they are assigned a new Card or added to a conversation.
Every Card can have documents (or pictures) attached that automatically get rich image previews, so it is easy to understand what the Card is about at a glance. In addition, Cards can be organized on the Board into customizable columns called Buckets, which can be prioritized and tagged with colored labels.
Planner also gives you views to keep your work on track. The Hub view lets you track overall progress across all plans, while the “My tasks” view lets you filter down to see just what you need to do across every plan. In addition, the “Charts” view includes interactive charts for visualizing people’s progress against deadlines. Click a red segment on the histogram to quickly see which aspects of a plan are behind schedule and use the Board to rebalance work across the team. With Planner, everyone is always on the same page. A single glance of the Charts view is all it takes to know where things stand.
Works great with all of Office 365
As a member of the Office 365 suite, Planner is integrated with other Office 365 services, such as Office 365 Groups, so all of the conversations in Planner are available in Outlook 2016, Outlook on the Web and the Outlook Groups Mobile Apps.
Planner is also an ideal way to organize your Office files. Attach your Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents to a Card and start editing them right away. When a document is attached to a Card, it is stored in a SharePoint Online document library, allowing you to work on them offline.
Planner in education
Plans are also a great way to organize schoolwork. Every plan has a OneNote Notebook created for it, which means you can organize your coursework and share all your notes with classmates.
Enterprise ready, globally available
We have worked hard to ensure Planner lives up to the rigorous requirements of Microsoft’s largest enterprise customers. Technical features such as multiple redundant backups, virtually instantaneous recovery and HIPAA, FISMA, ISO27001 and EU Model compliance ensure that your data is safe, secure and always available. To make certain everyone has fast access to Planner, the service is deployed in multiple datacenters around the globe, so everyone has their work close at hand. You can visit Office 365 Trust Center to learn more.
Office 365 Planner will be available in preview to Office 365 First Release customers starting next quarter, so keep an eye on your Office 365 app switcher and give us your feedback after you make your first plan!
Sign up for Office 365 today!
—Howard Crow, principal group program manager on the Planner Engineering team
Frequently asked questions
Q. Which Office 365 plans are eligible for Planner preview?
A. The following plans are eligible for Planner preview: Office 365 Enterprise E1, Office 365 Enterprise E3, Office 365 Enterprise E4, Office 365 Enterprise E5, Office 365 Education, Office 365 Education E3, Office 365 Education E4, Office 365 Business Essentials and Office 365 Business Premium. When generally available, Planner will be included in several additional Office 365 plans. Stay tuned for more details.
Q. How can customers join the preview program for Planner?
A. Starting Q4 of this calendar year, Planner will be available in preview to Office 365 First Release customers. Setup instructions will be sent to eligible Office 365 administrators once the preview is available for use within their tenant.
Q. Which Office 365 plans are eligible for Planner when generally available?
A. Planner will be included in the Office 365 Enterprise E1–E5 subscription plans (including corresponding Government and Non-Profit), Office 365 Business Essentials and Premium plans, and Office 365 Education.