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Welcome to Office 365

Office 365 is the latest mile-marker in the evolution of Microsoft Office. Originally released in June 2001 for preview, the stable final release became available in February 2013. Office 365 is becoming very popular in the business environment as being a stable and cost effective solution for office productivity and data management. Home users also enjoy the benefits of an always-up-to-date office suite with cloud-capable features not found in previous versions of Microsoft Office.


Most Popular Features

  • Whether you are using Office 365 locally installed on your desktop, or using Office 365 online, you will always have the latest version and fixes .
  • User account management and software management can be handled in one central location, and is easy enough to do, you don’t need IT expertise.
  • Users get a consistent feature-rich experience whether they use Office 365 online, on a PC or Mac, or on a mobile device.
  • With most Office 365 plans, data protection and data recovery are built in. Data backups happen in real-time.
  • Office 365 makes Administrative management a breeze.
  • Office 365 is scalable to fit and grow with your business needs
  • Excellent Mobile App Support

Unlike earlier versions of Microsoft Office, Office 365 was built to take advantage of cloud technology. By offering easy and secure access to cloud resources, users can access their data from multiple locations and devices, and can share files and collaborate with other users. Microsoft provides users with 15 GB of OneDrive storage with every, and that can be upgraded to 1 Terabyte of storage. This storage can be accessed through Office 365, online at office.com, and on Mobile devices like Android, iPhone, and Windows Phone.

By offering a hybrid of Microsoft Office installed locally on a computer with cloud-based services and storage, Office 365 expands, simplifies, and secures virtually all of your business processes and personal computing needs.  It also makes it easier to share and collaborate. There are different packages to choose from, depending on your needs.

Office 365 is fee based and offers plans for personal users, business users, and academic users. User can pay a monthly fee or an annual fee, and subscriptions can be terminated or upgraded at any time.


Getting Started:

It is easy to get started simply by going to www.office.com and picking a package that fits your needs. The Microsoft Sales Team can help you get off on the right foot by helping you find the support you need for a successful deployment. For larger deployments, it is highly recommended that you consult with a professional Office 365 consultant. You do have to have a registered account with Microsoft. If you don’t have one, you can create a new account at the site. Once your account is set up and you have selected the Office 365 plan you want, your products and software will be available for you shortly.

Microsoft also offers registered users a free online version of Office 365, which includes Word, Outlook.com, People, OneNote Online, PowerPoint Online, Calendar, Excel Online, and OneDrive.  You can save documents, spreadsheets, and presentations online, in OneDrive. Share them with others and work together at the same time.


System Requirements

Different plans will have slightly different hardware and network requirements, but at a minimum, a computer needs to meet the following requirements in order to run Office 365:

  • Processor (CPU): PC: 1 GHz, x86 or x-64 bit – Mac: Intel Processor
  • Memory (RAM): PC: 1GB for 32 bit, 2GB for 64 bit – Mac: 1 GB
  • Hard Drive (HDD): PC: 3 GB available space – Mac: 2.5 GB available space
  • Graphics (GPU): DirectX 10 support
  • Operating System (OS): PC: Windows 7-8, Windows Server 2008 R2 or Server 2012 – Mac: OS X 10.6
  • Display: PC: 1366×768 screen resolution – Mac: 1280×800 screen resolution
  • Internet: An Internet connection is required for cloud services. A high-speed connection is preferred.


Office 365 Plans:

The following section is a brief overview of the Office 365 plans for home and business.


Home Editions:

Office 365 Personal 

This is a perfect plan for someone who Office 365 installed on one PC or Mac, plus be able to use it on a tablet or iPad.  This plan includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook, Publisher, and Access and costs  $6.99 per month, or $69.99 per year.

Office 365 Home

For $9.99 per month, or $99.99 per year. You can install the latest full desktop versions of  Office 365 Home on up to five PC’s or Macs, and an additional five tablets or iPads. You never have to worry if you have the latest version of Office or not, because it is always up to date. Office 365 Home includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook, Publisher, and Access, Plus you can also install Office 365 Home on multiple smartphones so you can access your data no matter where you are. And if all that wasn’t enough, you can share your subscription with up to 4 other members of your family with a terabyte of online storage per user (up to five users).  For home users, Office 365 Home is as good as it gets.

Office 365 University

One of my favorite perks in college was buying software at very low prices, and Office 365 University edition is about as good a deal as I have ever seen. For $79.99 dollars, you get the complete full desktop version of Microsoft Office with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook , and Access. You can install Office on two devices such as a desktop or a laptop, and a tablet. You can also install Office on your smart phone so you will have access to your data anywhere. And if you are away from your computer, you can use Microsoft Office online with any computer with Internet access. You don’t have to worry about running out of space either, because Microsoft is giving you  1 TB of OneDrive online storage, and 60 Skype minutes per month at no charge. What makes this an exceptionally generous deal is that you get all this  plus all software updates for four years, for just $79.99. Frankly, it’s almost worth going back to school for. Almost!


Business Editions:

The business editions of Office 365 all offer a robust tool set and services and productivity software to manage all of your business needs, whether you are a single entrepreneur or a large corporation like, say, Microsoft.

  •  While each business plan offers different services, they all offer  the same core services:
  • E-Mail and Calendars – 50 GB mailbox per user and send attachments up to 25 MB.
  • Instant messaging, and video conferencing with Lync,  and audio calling with Skype users.
  • Online Conferencing with audio and video  using one-click screen sharing and HD video conferencing.
  • Mobile Apps for Windows Phone, Android, and iPhone.
  • Team Sites – Enable easy access and sharing of documents with 10 GB baseline storage plus 500 MB of storage per user.
  • Shared online calendars.
  • Simple file sharing with OneDrive. 1 TB storage per user.
  • Public Website includes hosting with your own domain name and design tools. (Not included with Office 365 Small Business)
  • A consistent and familiar Office  experience across PC’s and Macs, Windows tablets and iPads, and most mobile devices.
  • World-class data security and spam filtering.
  • One stop user and software administration
  • Microsoft Support provides telephone and online answers, how-to resources, and connections with other Office 365 customers for setup and quick fixes.
  • IT-level web support and 24/7 phone support for critical issues
  • 99.9% uptime as per SLA.

From an IT perspective:

  • Quickly deploy and manage Office 365 across your company.
  • Easy setup and administration. Users and licenses and services are a breeze to manage through one administrative interface.
  • Supports a hybrid environment such as having an onsite Exchange server working with Exchange in the cloud. Though truthfully, I don’t recommend this for a long-term solution.
  • Flexible Deployment options using either or both on premise tools and resources, or Office 365 online service.
  • Enhanced e-mail security and archiving and compliance tools to protect the privacy and security of data.
  • Quick 27/7  access to Microsoft support and resolution.
  • Backups are easy to set up, automatic, and off site.
  • And because it is worth repeating,  enhanced e-mail security and archiving and compliance tools to protect the privacy and security of data.

Office 365 Small Business

This is a perfect solution for entrepreneurs and small offices with less than 25 users. At only $6.00 a month, or $5.00 if paid annually, you get all the tools you need manage your business and give it a top quality professional look.  Office 365 Small Business does not come with installed versions of the Office suite, but it works seamlessly with currently installed Office 2010 on PC’s and Office 2011 on Mac’s. You can also use Office 2007, but with slightly limited functionality . If you need Office software, please scroll down a screen to Office 365 Small Business Premium.

Office 365 Small Business Premium

Office 365 Small Business Premium has everything that you get with Office 365 Small Business, and more. For one thing, you get the full installed versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Access, and Lync.  The cost is $12.50 per user with an annual $150 payment. Office Small Business Premium supports 25 users. You also get services like audio/video conferencing, team sites, a public site, and business class e-mail and calendar.

Office 365 Midsize Business

Office 365 for Midsize Business provides robust products and support for midsized business with up to 300 users, and costs $15.00 per person plus an annual commitment. Office 365 Midsize Business includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Access, Lync, and InfoPath. You can also stream full versions of Office 365 on any Internet-connected computer running Windows 7 or Windows 8 with Office on Demand.

Users always have the latest versions of  Office 365 either at the desktop or online, and there is plenty of support for Office 365 on mobile devices and smart phones. Teams can store documents in team sites and use a project-specific mailbox to help everyone get to those documents fast right from their email. When you work with partners or customers, you can share and edit large or confidential documents from a single location online. And with HD video conferencing and screen sharing, your online meetings will help you speed progress toward your goals. Office 365 for Midsize Business supports up to 300 users,

Office 365 ProPlus

This is the Office 365 product that I know the best, having recently deployed Office 365 ProPlus in a medium-sized company.  This is a great solution for a growing company, as it offers the best value and services as you need them. If you need to add user licenses, you can do so quick and easy on the fly. This way, you are only paying for what you need when you need it.  There is plenty of power in Office 365 ProPlus to manage any small to medium-sized company, including complete Exchange and SharePoint management. User licenses are $12.00 a month per user with an annual commitment, and include a software license  for 5 installations on PC or Mac per user.

Office 365 ProPlus includes Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher, Access, and Lync.  You can also stream full versions of Office 365 on any Internet-connected computer running Windows 7 or Windows 8 with Office on Demand.

Speaking first hand, we had little difficulty setting Office 365 ProPlus up. The issues we did run into were easily resolved and technical support was very good.  As this was my first experience with Office 365, it was a brand new learning environment, but I had no problems finding my way through the interface and accomplishing my goal.

Office 365 Enterprise

Office Enterprise comes in four different plans depending on your requirements. I am not going to go into any detail on the Enterprise editions at this time, but I will come back to this soon.

Hosted E-Mail (Exchange Online Plan 1)

At $4.00 per user, Exchange online business-class e-mail and calendar service across multiple devices. Exchange Online provides advanced security to protect your e-mail against malware and spam, and provides industry-leading Data Loss Prevention (DLP) and safeguards your data with continuous data backups and disaster recovery.

Enterprise E1 (Coming Soon)

Enterprise E3 (Coming Soon)

Enterprise E4 (Coming Soon)

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