Office 365 is a paid subscription to Microsoft’s enterprise cloud services that provide web-based access to an organisation’s hosted Exchange services including email, contacts, calendar and tasks. It also provides a private Wiki that team members can use to collaborate and a public website with blog for customers.
The homepage provides access to four tutorials that help the user to set up their own email address with a custom domain, create and share documents with Office Web Apps and SkyDrive Pro, explore the public website editor and download the Office desktop, phone and tablet apps.
After completing the tutorials, click the “Hide the Getting Started Pane” link to hide the tutorials. There is a link below the tutorials on the right side with the organisation name. Click it to edit the organisation’s name, address, phone number, technical contact email, default domain and language preference.
At the bottom is the “Manage your organization” section with options to manage organisation-wide settings, add users and reset passwords, manage and purchase licenses, manage website and email domains, track service health and maintenance and get help and online support.
At the top of Office 365 is a toolbar that provides access to all of the services including Outlook, Calendar, People, Newsfeed, SkyDrive and Sites. The “…” link provides access to the Office store and Office.com and the Admin link returns to the homepage. To the right of those links is the user menu, settings button and help button. On the left side of the toolbar is the Office 365 logo. Click it to view Office tutorials, templates, stock images and support.
Learn more about the email and task management service Outlook Web App here. Learn more about the calendar service Calendar here. Learn more about the contact management service People here. Learn more about the news service Newsfeed here. Learn more about the cloud storage service SkyDrive Pro here. Learn more about the site management service Sites here.
Click here to log in to Office 365. Enter a user’s email address such as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and their password. If a user has previously logged in, their email address will be already be displayed and only the password needs to be entered.
To switch to another user’s email, click the “Sign out and sign in with another account” link at the bottom. If the password is unknown, click the “Can’t access your account?” link to email a password reset link or text a reset code.
To stay permanently logged in, tick the “Keep me signed in” checkbox. The login screen will no longer be displayed until the user clicks their username and chooses the “Sign out” menu item.
Managing user settings
Click the user menu in the top-right corner to access messaging and other user settings. At the top is the user’s profile picture, name and email address.
Click the Change link to change the profile picture. In the popup, click the X icon to delete the profile pic or click the Browse button to upload a new profile picture. Click the Save button to save changes to the profile picture or click the Cancel button to undo changes.
Below the user information are the colour-coded Messenger status options. The colour of the current status is displayed on the left side of the profile pic and also on the left side of the user’s name at the top. The status options are Available, Busy, Do Not Disturb, Be Right Back and Appear Away. There is also an option to sign out of Messenger.
The “Open another mailbox…” menu item can be used to open a shared mailbox using a URL in the form https://firstname.lastname@example.org and then entering a username and password.
Click the About Me menu item to view the user’s profile. Click the Edit button at the top to edit information including contact information, past projects, skills, schools, birthday and interests. There are also dropdowns to choose whether everyone can see the information or only the user.
Managing Office 365 settings
To manage Office 365 settings, click the cog icon in the top-right corner and then click the “Office 365 settings” menu item. The Me section displays the user’s email address on the left and fields on the right to edit their name, phone numbers, alternate email and address. The user’s unique identifier is also displayed on the right.
Click the Password section on the left to change the user’s password. Enter the old password and new password twice. There is a password strength indicator that changes as the password is entered.
Click the Contact Preferences section to choose what information Microsoft sends to the user and which phone number or email should be used.
Click the Language section to change the language used throughout the Microsoft Online Services. This setting doesn’t apply to Outlook Web App, Calendar and People. To change the language for them, click the Outlook link at the top to open Outlook Web App, click the cog icon in the top-right corner, choose Options, click the Settings section on the left and then click the Regional section at the top.
Installing Office 365 software
Click the Software section of Office 365 settings to view software available for download in the current Office 365 subscription. Click the “Review system requirements” link to view the system requirements of Office.
Select a language, click the Advanced link to switch to 64-bit software if required and then click the Install button to download and install the software. Learn more about installing Office 2013 here.
If an earlier version of Office needs to be used, click the Desktop Setup section and click the Set Up button to reconfigure it to work with Office 365.
Click the Phone & Tablet section to download Office software for smartphones including Windows Phone, iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Symbian and for tablets including Windows RT, Windows 8 and iPad. Learn more about configuring Office on mobile devices here.
Managing organisation-wide settings
Click the Admin link on the right side of the bar at the top to return to the Admin Dashboard and then click the “Manage organization-wide settings” link in the Service Settings section. The service settings will then be displayed with six sections of settings.
In the “email, calendar, and contacts” section, choose whether the organisation’s calendar can be viewed using a public URL. In the “sites and document sharing section”, choose the public website address, whether external users can access the team site and documents, whether users inside the organisation can create websites for managing projects and whether users can use external services such as Bing Translator.
In the “IM, meetings, and conferencing” section, choose whether to allow people without Lync to join meetings by phone, whether everyone in the organisation or only people on a user’s Contacts list can see their online presence, whether users are allowed to talk and chat with people outside the organisation and whether people can record their audio and video conferences.
In the “mobile access” section, choose whether users can access their email on their phones using Exchange ActiveSync and whether users can receive Lync IM notifications on their phone. In the “passwords” section, choose how many days it takes for passwords to expire. In the “Office 365 Community” section, choose whether users can post in the Office 365 Community.
Managing users and groups
Click the Admin link on the right side of the bar at the top to return to the Admin Dashboard and then click the “Add users, reset passwords, and more” link in the Users & Groups section. A list of users will then be displayed.
If there are many users, click on the “search users” text to the left of the magnifying glass icon to filter the list. Click the X icon next to the magnifying glass icon to return to displaying all users.
Click on a user’s name to view more information about the user including email address, location and mobile phone number. Click the Reset Password link to send a password reset email to the user. Click the pencil icon to edit the user’s information including their name, assigned licenses and whether they are an administrator or blocked.
Click the trash can icon to delete the user. A warning message will appear saying that the a deleted user’s license cannot be reassigned to another user and that after 30 days, the user account cannot be restored. Click the Yes button to delete the user. There is a “View deleted users” link above the user list that can be used to restore a deleted user.
It is possible to select multiple users at a time by moving the mouse over a user’s name and then clicking the checkbox that appears on the left. Move the mouse over the + icon and then click the checkbox on the left to select all users. After selecting multiple users, click on the pencil icon on the right to bulk edit the users, delete the users or send password reset emails to the users.
To add a new user, click the + icon at the top of the user list. Enter the user’s name, email address and other information and then choose a license for the user. To add contact information for a person outside the organisation, click the Contacts link under Users & Groups. Contacts can be searched, added, edited and deleted like users.
To create a group of users that can be emailed using a single email address, click the Groups link under Users & Groups. Groups can be searched, added, edited and deleted like users. When adding a group, enter the name and email address of the group and choose whether people outside the organisation can email the group.
To create a shared mailbox such as email@example.com that multiple users can monitor and send emails from, click the Shared Mailboxes link under Users & Groups. When adding a shared mailbox, enter a name and email address.
Click the Admin link on the right side of the bar at the top to return to the Admin Dashboard and then click the “Manage and purchase licenses” link in the Licenses section. A list of the active Office 365 subscriptions will then be displayed.
Click on a subscription name to view and edit billing information. Click the “View bill” link to view the bill or click the printer icon to print it. Click the “Cancel this subscription” link to cancel the subscription.
Click the Edit link in the Payment Details section to change the credit card number and payment frequency. Click the Edit link in the Service Usage Address section to change the billing address. Click the Add link in the VAT Number section to add a VAT number. Click the Add link in the Partner Information section to add the ID of an authorised Microsoft partner who can help with purchasing decisions.
Click the “Change quantity” link to change the number of users in the subscription. Choose either the “Add licenses” or “Remove licenses” radio button and then click the Next button. If “Add licenses” was chosen, enter the number of licenses to add in the text field and then click the Add Licenses button. If “Remove licenses” was chosen, enter the total number of licenses wanted and then click the Finish button.
To add a new subscription, click on the Purchase Services link. Click on the Add link to purchase a subscription or click the Trial link to try out the subscription free for a month.
Click the Admin link on the right side of the bar at the top to return to the Admin Dashboard and then click on the “Manage your website and email domains” link in the Domains section. A list of the organisation’s domains will then appear.
By default, Office 365 comes with a domain name like contoso.onmicrosoft.com and this will be listed as the organisation’s only domain. It is possible to add a custom domain so that onmicrosoft.com doesn’t appear in the company’s URL. To do this, click the “Add a domain” link.
A warning message will then display saying that it will take about 45 minutes to make the change. Click the Start Now button to continue. Click here to view a video on how to configure a domain.
Click on the radio button on the left side of a domain name to select it and then click the Remove button to delete it, the Manage DNS button to edit the name server for the domain or click the Troubleshoot button to troubleshoot problems with the domain.
Tracking service health and maintenance
Click the Admin link on the right side of the bar at the top to return to the Admin Dashboard and then click on the “Track service health and maintenance” link in the Service Status section. A table with the current status of each Office 365 service will be displayed. Above the table is the date and time when the table was last refreshed.
By default, the last seven days will be displayed. Click the “View history for past 30 days” link to see a list of all issues that occurred in the last 30 days. In the current status table, a green tick is displayed if a service has been running normally all day. If something has gone wrong with a service, an info icon may be displayed. Click on it to view more information about the problem and what Microsoft is doing to fix it.
In the top-right corner is an RSS icon that can be used to subscribe to an RSS feed to be alerted when an issue occurs. Below the current status table is a legend of what each icon means and a “Learn more about service health status” link that can be used to learn even more about the icons.
Click on the Planned Maintenance link below the Service Status title at the top to see a list of planned and past maintenance. Click the Service Health link to return to the current status table.
There are a few different ways to get help on Office 365. Click the question mark in the top-right corner to open a popup with articles on how to set up and use Office 365.
To return to the Getting Started page with videos and tutorials on how to use Office 365, click on the cog icon in the top-right corner, click the “Office 365 settings” menu item and then click the Get Started section on the left side. Use the five buttons on the left side to switch between different sections of videos and articles.
Click the PC & Mac section to download and install Office 365 desktop software. Click the Phone & Tablet section to download and install Office 365 software for phones and tablets.
Finally, on the Office 365 settings page, click the double chevron on the right side to open the Help pane, which has a list of popular answers at the top. Click the “Ask your question” link if the help system hasn’t provided an answer.