By now you have probably heard of Microsoft’s “Office365” offering. Although Office365 will be celebrating it’s 7-year anniversary this June, there are still many common misconceptions as to what, exactly, Office365 is. This blog will aim to answer some of the common questions we get regarding Office365 and will outline some of the benefits that Office365 offers.

So, what, exactly, is Office365 and how is it different from previous Microsoft Office versions?

The name “Office365” refers to a group of subscriptions to various products offered by Microsoft. The products included with your Office365 subscription will vary depending on the type of subscription you purchase (Home vs. Business for example), but generally will contain a full version of the Microsoft Office application suite (apps like Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook) which are downloaded and installed onto your PC or Mac computer. Additional productivity and communication products such as Skype and OneDrive cloud storage are included with most subscriptions. Because the service is subscription based and not a one-time purchase, the customer is able to keep the latest, greatest version of these Microsoft Office services and applications.

Do I have to work “in the cloud” if I use Office365?

While cloud storage is included with your Office365 subscription, you are not required to use any of the “Cloud” based services. In all but the most basic subscription level, you are entitled to a full installation of the Microsoft Office applications (Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook, etc…). As a bonus, Microsoft allows you to install these applications on up to 5 different devices! You can now install the software on your office PC, your notebook, your home computer, etc.

Does my Office365 continue to work if I’m not online?

Absolutely! In all but the most basic subscription level, once installed on your device, the Office software is fully functional regardless of internet connectivity. It should be noted that the device will need to go online at least once every 30 days to remain active.

So, what’s this “Basic Subscription Level” you’ve mentioned?

Microsoft offers a web-based version of the Office applications as a basic subscription. An internet connection is required to access these applications. Because there are limitations inherent in web-based application delivery, this subscription level is not recommended for business users.

What are some benefits of the Office365 subscription model?

There are many advantages that the Office365 service provides. Below are a few of the more popular benefits realized by Office365 subscribers.

  1. No more licensing mess! – If you’ve ever tried to get a handle on your organization’s Microsoft Office licensing, you know that it can be a serious challenge. Having different employees using different versions of Office can create many administrative headaches. A subscription to Office 365 includes all licensing and it can be deployed company wide.
  2. Email is E-A-S-Y – The Office 365 Email service lets you keep your email, contacts, and calendar synchronized across multiple devices. Connecting your new phone or tablet to your email account is as simple as entering a username and password. No more complicated set-up!
  3. You can work anywhere at any time – Save documents to your OneDrive storage and connect to them from anywhere with an internet connection.
  4. Quick and easy to get started! – Once you’ve activated your subscription, you can download and use the Office365 products and services instantly!
  5. Tons of email storage! – With up to 50 GB of storage per mailbox and archiving options available, you’ll never have to delete potentially important email just to save space.