Exchange Online service description

Microsoft Exchange Online is a hosted messaging solution that delivers email, calendar, contacts, and tasks from PCs, the web, and mobile devices. It integrates fully with Azure Active Directory, enabling administrators to use group policies, as well as other administration tools, to manage Exchange Online features across their environment.

Organizations that subscribe to Exchange Online retain control over the messaging services they offer to users. With the Exchange Online hosted plans described in this document, email is hosted on servers that support multiple customers simultaneously. These servers are housed in Microsoft datacenters and are accessible to users on a wide range of devices from inside a corporate network or over the Internet.

Available plans for Exchange Online

Microsoft 365 is available in a variety of plans to best meet the needs of your organization. For detailed plan information on subscriptions that enable users for Exchange Online, see the full subscription comparison table.

Note

Each user who accesses the Exchange Online service must be assigned to a subscription plan, and each user subscription has its own mailbox. Folders and messages in these mailboxes reside at a Microsoft datacenter. User subscriptions are not required for conference rooms and shared mailboxes. These special mailbox types do not have login credentials, instead, licensed users with the appropriate permissions manage and access them via delegation. Microsoft 365 F1 does not include rights to an Exchange mailbox. To enable a full Teams experience, Microsoft 365 F1 licenses may come with the Exchange Online K1 service plan enabled. Although the Exchange Online K1 service plan will provision a mailbox for the user, Microsoft 365 F1 users are not entitled to use the mailbox. We recommend that you disable Outlook on the web via these steps and ask your users not to access the Exchange mailbox via any other methods.

Feature availability (including standalone plans)

The following table lists the major Exchange Online features available across plans (certain caveats apply -- see the footnotes for further information -- this table may change without notice). For the most up-to-date, complete list of features across plans, see Powerful tools to support your enterprise. For feature availability in Microsoft 365 business plans (basic, standard, and premium), see Microsoft 365 Business Plans, or visit your Message Center in the Microsoft 365 admin center or talk to your provider for more details on how the new Microsoft 365 Apps plan impacts you.

Features available to all plans

These features are available for all Business (basic, standard, and premium), Enterprise (E1, E3, E5 and F3) and Exchange Online plans (1, 2 and Kiosk) – caveats apply see footnotes for further information.

  • Anti-spam and anti-malware protection (via direct access to the Exchange admin center management interface): built-in anti-spam and anti-malware protection (uses multiple anti-malware engines to scan inbound, outbound, and internal messages for malware), customized anti-spam and anti-malware policies, quarantine - administrator management, and quarantine - end-user self-management.
  • Exchange Online setup and administration: Microsoft 365 portal and admin center access, Exchange admin center access, Remote Windows PowerShell access, ActiveSync policies for mobile devices, usage reporting.
  • High availability and business continuity: mailbox replication at datacenters, single item recovery (not available for F3 and Kiosk plans) deleted mailbox and deleted item recovery.
  • Interoperability, connectivity, and compatibility: Skype for Business presence in OWA and Outlook, SharePoint interoperability, EWS connectivity support (EWS app support applied to impersonation), SMTP relay support.
  • Mail flow: custom routing of outbound mail, secure messaging with a trusted partner, adding a partner to an inbound safe list, and conditional mail and hybrid email routing (CALs or upgrade to an Enterprise SKU provide the access rights).
  • Planning and deployment: hybrid deployment supported (CALs or upgrade to an Enterprise SKU provide access rights for business and F3 plans), IMAP, cutover, and staged migration supported.
  • Reporting features and troubleshooting tools: Microsoft 365 admin center reports, Excel reporting workbook, Web Services reports, Unified Messaging reports (E3/E5 and plan 2 only). Message trace and auditing reports are accessible via direct access to the Exchange admin center (EAC) management interface.
  • Recipients: Capacity alerts, Clutter, MailTips, Inbox rules, Offline address book, Address book policies, Distribution Groups, External contacts (global), Universal contact card, Contact linking with social networks, Resource mailboxes, Conference room management, Out-of-office replies, Calendar sharing (Kiosk calendars can only be accessed or shared through OWA).
  • Sharing and collaboration: federated sharing (including calendar publishing), site mailboxes (SharePoint Online must be included and deployed), and public folders (not available for F3 and Kiosk plans).
  • Voice message services: Skype for Business integration. Third-party voice mail interoperability. Only E3/E5 and Plan 2 provide voicemail and third-party voicemail/fax integration. For third-party PBX systems via direct connections see Discontinuation of support for Session Border Controllers in Exchange Online Unified Messaging.

Features available to some plans

These features are available to some plans – caveats apply see footnotes for further information (this table may change without notice).

Feature Description Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Business Standard Microsoft 365 Business Premium Office 365 E1 Microsoft 365 E3/E5 & Office 365 E3/E5 Microsoft 365 F3 & Office 365 F3 Exchange Online Plan 2 Exchange Online Plan 1 Exchange Online Kiosk
Clients and mobile devices Outlook on the web1, Outlook for iOS and Android1, Exchange ActiveSync and SMTP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
POP and IMAP Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes2 Yes Yes Yes2
EWS application support, Outlook for Windows1, Outlook for Mac1 Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
Basic Mobility and Security for Microsoft 365 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Message policy and compliance Exchange Online Archiving for Exchange Online No No No Yes No Yes No No
Exchange Online Archiving for Exchange Server No No No Yes No Yes No No
Manual retention policies, labels, and tags No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
IRM using Azure Information Protection No No No Yes No No No No
Microsoft Purview Message Encryption (Basic) Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Microsoft Purview Advanced Message Encryption No No No Yes No No No No
Microsoft Purview Customer Key No No No Yes No No No No
In-Place Hold, Litigation Hold No Yes No Yes No Yes No No
Microsoft Purview Data Loss Prevention No Yes No Yes No Yes No No
Encryption of data at rest (BitLocker), Messaging Records Management (MRM), S/MIME, Journaling, eDiscovery content search3, Transport rules4 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Support for IRM using Windows Server AD RMS5 Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Permissions Role-based permissions, role groups and role assignment policies Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
Recipients Delegate access and hierarchical address book Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No
Inactive mailboxes No No No Yes No Yes No No
Microsoft 365 Groups Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes6 Yes6 No

1 Some third-party web parts and add-ins may not be available.
2 POP is supported, but IMAP is not.
3 For eDiscovery, you need a separate query for on-premises vs. cloud.
4 Transport rules are made up of flexible criteria, which allow you to define conditions and exceptions, and actions to take based on the criteria. For a list of available criteria and actions, see the corresponding criteria and actions topics for each product.
5 Windows Server AD RMS is an on-premises server that must be purchased and managed separately to enable the supported IRM features.
6 Microsoft 365 Groups are available with reduced functionality.

Additional services

Scheduler for Microsoft 365

Scheduler for Microsoft 365 is an add-on to Exchange Online that enables users to delegate their scheduling needs to a digital personal assistant. The assistant can schedule and reschedule appointments and meetings with people inside and outside of the organization. The assistant mailbox is set up and controlled by the tenant. To enable Scheduler, administrators need to set up the assistant's mailbox via a PowerShell cmdlet and purchase licenses for meeting organizers. To learn more about Scheduler and how it works, see Welcome to Scheduler for Microsoft 365. For Scheduler pricing and licensing, see Scheduler for Microsoft 365 licensing.

Learn more

For more information about Exchange Online, check out the following resources: