Learn about built-in labeling and the AIP unified labeling client


Are you looking for Microsoft Purview Information Protection, formerly Microsoft Information Protection (MIP)?

The Azure Information Protection add-in for Office is now in maintenance mode and we recommend you use labels that are built in to your Office 365 apps and services. Learn more about the support status of other Azure Information Protection components.

Both the Azure Information Protection (AIP) add-in and Office built-in labeling use sensitivity labels to help users protect their sensitive data within Office apps. Since the AIP add-in is in maintenance mode, we recommend you use Office built-in labeling. For more information, see Why choose built-in labeling over the AIP add-in for Office apps.

For labeling support outside of Office apps, the AIP unified client can still be used for scanning on-premises files, classify and protect within File Explorer, labeling within PowerShell, and viewing files thorugh the AIP Viewer.

AIP client support and timelines

The Azure Information Protection unified labeling client has multiple components bundled up into a single downloadable package. The Azure Information Protection add-in [part of the unified labeling client] is the only component in maintenance mode as of Jan 1, 2022, driven by the modernization effort to make sensitivity labeling and protection built-in to Office applications. All other components within the unified labeling client are not in maintenance mode and are fully supported. For more information, see our TechCommunity blog.

Moving forward, no new features will be added to the AIP add-in. Instead, new features are being added to Office built-in labeling that is supported across multiple platforms. You might find it helpful to reference Features supported only by built-in labeling for Office apps.

We have also retired the Azure Information Protection classic client and Label Management in the Azure portal as of March 31, 2022. No further support is provided for the classic client and maintenance versions will no longer be released. For more information on other retired Azure Information Protection services, see removed and retired services.

All current Azure Information Protection classic client customers must migrate to the unified labeling platform and upgrade to the unified labeling client.

For more information, see

Latest labeling features

Although no new features will be added for the AIP add-in, we're constantly developing new features and improvements for sensitivity labels that use built-in labeling. Check for updates in the following locations:

Labeling outside Office apps

Outside Office apps, the AIP unified labeling client provides the following extra features:

For File Explorer and PowerShell commands, the user must be connected to the internet to protect files.

For more information, see Admin Guide: Install the Azure Information Protection unified labeling client for users.

The Rights Management client

The Rights Management Service (RMS) client provides protection only, and is automatically installed with some applications. For example, this client is included in Office apps where it's implemented as Information Rights Management (IRM) with protection templates, restrict access options, and Encrypt menu options for Outlook. It can also be included in RMS-enlightened applications from other software vendors.

We recommend you use sensitivity labels to apply protection, rather than the Rights Management Service client. Labels abstract the complexity of encryption for users, and can offer other benefits, such as visual markings, and metadata that can be read by other apps and services.

For Office apps, you might find it helpful to read how the two methods of applying encryption interact, and how to disable IRM options for Outlook:


Can AIP and built-in labeling function side-by-side?

Yes. We recommend that you use built-in labeling for Office apps to benefit from features such as automatic updates and increased performance. But you can deploy the AIP unified labeling client across your network to use the additional File Explorer support, PowerShell cmdlets, and the AIP Viewer.

What's the difference between Azure Information Protection and Microsoft Purview Information Protection?

Microsoft Purview Information Protection is a framework for products and integrated capabilities that help you protect your organization's sensitive information. Azure Information Protection is only one of the Microsoft components that provide information protection.

Microsoft Purview Information Protection products include:

  • Microsoft Purview Data Loss Prevention
  • Microsoft Defender for Cloud Apps
  • Azure Information Protection

Microsoft Purview Information Protection capabilities include:

  • Unified label management for multiple apps and services
  • End-user labeling experiences built into Office apps
  • The Microsoft Information Protection SDK
  • Functionality in Adobe Acrobat Reader to view labeled and protected PDFs

For more information, see Protect your sensitive data with Microsoft Purview.

What's the difference between labeling with the built-in labeling solution and labeling with the AIP Office Add-in?

Unlike the AIP Office Add-in, labels built into Office apps require no extra installation and are automatically maintained as part of your existing Office deployment update strategy. Built-in labels are supported by not just Windows, but also macOS, iOS, Android, and the web.

The latest labeling features are supported only by built-in labeling. If users are already using the AIP Office Add-in, use the feature parity information to identify whether there's a required feature that isn't yet supported by built-in labeling.

For more information, see Migrate the Azure Information Protection (AIP) add-in to built-in labeling for Office apps.

Next steps

If you have the AIP unified labeling client installed and want to benefit from the extra stability, better performance, and latest labeling features for your Office apps, you'll need to disable the AIP add-in for Office apps.

To learn more about labeling outside Office apps, see the Azure Information Protection unified labeling client administrator guide.