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What are Office Intelligent Services and should you turn them off?

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Microsoft's central Office 365 client apps-Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook all include a setting that allows you to enable Office Intelligent Services. So, why are these, why are they turned on, and should you turn them off? Let's find out.

If you have an Office 365 subscription in Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook, there is a section in File> Options> General called "Office intelligent services." (If you've just purchased Office as a standalone set of apps without an O365 subscription, this section won't be available to you.)

The only "Enable Services" checkbox works over all of these apps, so it is on or off for all apps there is no individual selection. If you turn it on in an app it will be activated in each app and similarly shut it down in any app, it will be shut down in each app.

What is Office Intelligent Services?

Simply put, Office Intelligent Services (OIS) are dynamic, cloud-based services that provide useful extras to enhance your work. As an example, Microsoft offers a translation feature that translates a section of text or an entire document. This is an OIS feature that is only available to O365 users who have the "Enable Services" checkbox.

Other OIS features include a data display tool for Excel, a PowerPoint design helper, a smart search tool that helps you find information on a topic, and the ability to dictate text instead of writing it. There are also a lot of other services, and Microsoft regularly adds.

Note: In order to use some of the other services, you must also maintain a different default value. In Word, Excel, PowerPoint or Outlook, open File> Options> Trust Center and click "Trust Center Settings."

 Go to File, Options, Trust Center and then click the Trust Center Settings button [19659003] Select "Privacy Options" on the left and then on the right, make sure both "Privacy Options" are turned on.

 Privacy options

Why is Office Intelligent Services turned on and should you turn it off?

The first time you open a client app that uses OIS, you will be prompted to enable them, so if the "Enable Services" checkbox is turned on, it is because you approved it. But don't worry! You now know how to turn them off again.

However, the OIS features are useful and Microsoft's privacy policy is a fairly comprehensive document, so you may want to read it and make an informed decision before you turn off the OIS on it. Those us here at How-To Geek using O365 have OIS activated, because there are useful functions we use, but we cannot make a recommendation to you other than to say that it is your choice and we are not aware of a good reason not to use them.

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