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Important

This summary applies to Office products such as Access, Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint, and Word that are designed to help our customers achieve more. For the full list of Office products covered by this privacy information, see Privacy controls available for Office products.

Overview of Required and Optional data

Microsoft is dedicated to being more transparent with our customers and giving them more control over their data. As part of this work, we’re moving our major products and services to a model where personal data we collect from customers as they use their devices will be classified as either Required or Optional. This will make it easier for our customers to find information about the data we collect and how we use it, and to make informed choices about their privacy.

This article provides an overview of the types of data that are Required and Optional, the specific categories of personal data that are collected by Office applications, and how our customers can change their privacy settings to customize the data they share with Microsoft.

Required data

Data in the Required category is necessary to keep our products up to date, secure, and working as expected. Required data includes things like the type and version of a customer’s device so we can provide connectivity to our cloud services and security patches to keep our experiences safe and secure, and diagnostic data that helps us detect significant feature failures.

In some cases, a customer can control whether Required data is collected by deciding whether to use the product features or functions that depend on that data. For example, if an enterprise customer uses Office with document storage and collaboration in the cloud, we collect the data required to keep their employees’ documents secure and synced across their devices.

Required diagnostic data

Required diagnostic data is the minimum data necessary to help keep Office client software secure, up to date, and performing as expected on the device it's installed on. Examples include information about the version of Office installed on the device or include information that indicates that Office applications are crashing when trying to open documents.

Required diagnostic data helps us detect, diagnose, and fix problems more quickly so the impact to users or organizations is reduced. For more information, see Required diagnostic data for Office.

Required diagnostic data in Office is organized into the following data categories:

Data CategoryDescriptionExamples
Device connectivity and configurationThis type of Required diagnostic data includes details about the device, its configuration, and connectivity capabilities.
  • Details on a user's video card driver that has caused multiple recent crashes of Office applications, so that Office may stop using this video card (using software rendering instead) until the driver is updated.
  • Diagnostic information about the user's internet connection to understand how that may impact connectivity to Office services.
Product and service performanceThis type of Required diagnostic data includes details about device or service health and performance.
  • The event that captures graceful and ungraceful app exits for further investigation.
  • The event that indicates an add-in crash, collecting why it crashed in the case it is related to the Office add-in sandbox.
  • Collection of which feature is being used should PowerPoint ungracefully exit. E.g., slide show, document open, save, edit, co-authoring, or shutdown.
Product and service usageThis type of Required diagnostic data includes details about the usage of the device, operating system, applications, and services.
  • The event used for capturing authentication token generation failures during an In-app purchase in Office for Mac.
  • Events generated to determine if a file was successfully opened or saved.
  • The result of adding an account in Outlook using the “new account configuration” experience.
Software setup and inventoryThis type of Required diagnostic data includes software installation and update information on the device.
  • An event used to ensure new users can successfully launch and run OneNote for the first time and that ensures critical regression detection for OneNote.
  • Information about the runtime behavior of custom add-in functions in Excel that counts execution attempts, successful completions, infrastructure errors, and user code errors.

Required service data

Office consists of client software applications and connected experiences designed to enable you to create, communicate, and collaborate more effectively. Working with others on a document stored on OneDrive for Business or translating the contents of a Word document into a different language are examples of connected experiences. For more information, see Connected experiences in Office.

As you use a connected experience, data is sent to and processed by Microsoft to provide you that connected experience. This data is crucial because this information enables us to deliver these cloud-based connected experiences. We refer to this data as required service data. For more information, see Required service data for Office.

Required service data can include information related to the operation of the connected experience that is needed to keep the underlying service secure, up to date, and performing as expected. If you choose to use a connected experience that analyzes your content, for example Translate in Word, the text you typed and selected to translate in the document is also sent and processed to provide you the connected experience. Required service data can also include information needed by a connected experience to perform its task, such as configuration information about the Office app.

We give you the ability to choose which types of connected experiences you want to use in Office, which then determines what required service data is sent to us. We’re developing additional privacy settings that will give our customers more control over the collection of data that’s required for connected experiences.

Required service data is also collected and sent to Microsoft for optional connected experiences and for essential services.

  • Optional connected experiences. For users with a work or school account, their organization's admin may have provided them with the ability to use one or more cloud-backed services while using Office applications, such as Word or Excel. These cloud-backed services are optional and users can decide whether to use them. They are provided to users under the terms of the Microsoft Services Agreement and privacy statement. In some cases, other terms may also apply. For more information, see Overview of optional connected experiences in Office.
  • Essential services. There are a set of services that are essential to how Office functions and therefore cannot be disabled, such as the licensing service that confirms that you’re properly licensed to use Office. This data for essential services is sent regardless of any other privacy-related settings that you have configured. For more information, see Essential services for Office.

Optional data

Data in the Optional category isn’t essential or strictly necessary to keeping the Office client software secure, up to date or performing as expected. Optional data includes things like which pictures people select to use from our image library in Word so we can provide better image options, and information about the time it takes for a PowerPoint slide to appear so we can improve our software performance.

Because Optional data isn’t necessary to providing Office, customers can decide whether to allow us to collect this type of data. Home users can make this decision during the initial setup of Office or, after setup, by using the privacy settings available in the Office applications. In work or school environments, there are tools available to administrators to make this decision for their organization.

Although sharing Optional data isn’t required, this data helps us develop new and better experiences for our customers. We’d like our customers to share this data with us, but Office will keep working as expected no matter what they decide. This is our customers’ data and we’re committed to respecting the decisions they make about their privacy.

Optional diagnostic data

Optional diagnostic data is additional data that helps us make product improvements and provides enhanced information to help us detect, diagnose, and fix issues. If you choose to send us optional diagnostic data from your device that’s running Office, required diagnostic data is also included. For more information, see Optional diagnostic data for Office.

Optional diagnostic data in Office is organized into the following data categories.

Data CategoryDescriptionExamples
Device connectivity and configurationThis type of Optional diagnostic data includes details about the device, its configuration, and connectivity capabilities.
  • Rendering failures coming from the graphics rendering engine.
  • Information about the user’s network connection and speed.
Product and service performanceThis type of Optional diagnostic data includes details about device or service health and performance.
  • The performance of a document save activity by Word.
  • When a user signs into an Azure Active Directory account, sending app name, version, and error code if the event failed.
Product and service usageThis type of Optional diagnostic data includes details about the usage of the device, operating system, applications, and services
  • An indication that Word has executed the command to highlight text.
  • A heartbeat to indicate that the translator feature has been loaded and rendered successfully.
Software setup and inventoryThis type of Optional diagnostic data includes software installation and update information on the device.
  • Whether Word successfully updates the Ribbon in the Word User Interface when the user changes their identity.
  • Information about the Office add-in that the user has installed, including app ID, operating system build and version.

Privacy information and settings

Microsoft provides the Diagnostic Data Viewer to enable you to see what diagnostic data is being collected while you use Office, for both required and optional diagnostic data.

The privacy settings available to customers depend on whether the customer is signed in with a Microsoft account (for example, a personal outlook.com email address) or with a work or school account. Learn more about the various settings for controlling your personal data:

In organizations, administrators control whether required or optional diagnostic data is sent to Microsoft. They can also control what connected experiences are available to their users. Learn more about the various options available to administrators to manage privacy settings in their organizations:

Most settings are available regardless of whether Office is being used on Windows, Mac, Android, or iOS devices.

Learn more about how we generally collect and use data: