Required service data for Office
For a list of Office products covered by this privacy information, see Privacy controls available for Office products.
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.
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.
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.
Example of required service data for a connected experience
Let’s use PowerPoint Designer as another example to show the type of required service data that a connected experience sends to Microsoft. PowerPoint Designer helps you improve your slides by automatically generating design ideas to choose from. While you're putting content on a slide, Designer works in the background to match that content to professionally designed layouts.
The required service data that PowerPoint Designer sends to Microsoft could include the following information:
- The text or images you added to your slide.
- Which slide you’re working on and the slide’s layout.
- Whether the design idea was correctly applied to your slide.
- Whether the interaction between PowerPoint and the Designer service performed as expected.
This required service data helps ensure that PowerPoint Designer is performing as expected.
Manage required service data
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 Microsoft. Dictation in Word, for example, is one of several connected experiences that analyzes your content. If you choose to turn off connected experiences that analyze content, no required service data about Dictation in Word is sent to Microsoft because Dictation in Word won’t be available to use. For more information, see Choose whether these connected experiences are available to use.
Required service data is separate from required or optional diagnostic data, which relates to information about the use of Office software running on your device. Therefore, the privacy settings you chose for required or optional diagnostic data don’t affect whether required service data is sent to Microsoft.
Required service data is also collected and sent to Microsoft for the essential services of Office, such as the licensing service that confirms that you're properly licensed to use Office. While you can control many of the connected experiences that are available to you, or to your users if you're the administrator in your organization, this set of services are essential to how Office functions, and therefore cannot be disabled. The data for essential services is always sent to and processed by Microsoft when using Office, regardless of how other privacy-related settings are configured.
Required service data is available through Data Service Requests (DSRs). For more information, see the Microsoft Privacy Statement and Office 365 Data Subject Requests for the GDPR and CCPA.
If you’re the administrator for your organization and want to manage connected experiences, see the following articles:
- Overview of privacy controls for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise
- Use policy settings to manage privacy controls for Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise
- Use preferences to manage privacy controls for Office for Mac
- Use preferences to manage privacy controls for Office on iOS devices
- Use policy settings to manage privacy controls for Office on Android devices
- Use policy settings to manage privacy controls for Office for the web applications
Categories of required service data
Required service data is organized into the following categories:
- Software setup and inventory
- Product and service usage
- Product and service performance
- Device connectivity and configuration
The information in these categories enables Microsoft to assess whether a connected experience or essential service is secure, up to date, and performing as expected.
For example, information in the product and service performance category may cover unexpected issues (crashes), poor response times or performance, or errors in functionality.
For the product and service usage category, information might be collected that indicates whether the service used by a connected experience started successfully and was available when needed.