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Before we dive into setting up and using Office 365, you might be wondering what Office 365 is exactly and how it can be used. Well, a simple definition of Office 365 might be, a hosted collaboration and productivity suite. Hosted meaning everything you need is online and accessible from virtually anywhere because it's not installed locally on your computer. And then there's collaboration and productivity, meaning you get anywhere access to your emails, your contacts, your calendar, and web-based versions of the Office suite apps like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, and OneNote. And because Office 365 includes SharePoint connectivity, sharing and collaborating on the files you create with these web apps has never been easier.
Office 365 is not simply a web version of Office 2013, and it shouldn't even be thought of as Microsoft answer to Google apps. Yes, you get cloud-based, or web-based, versions of Word, and Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, but you'll also get Exchange for your email platform and Outlook web access. You get SharePoint for document sharing and collaboration, and you get access to communication services that give you instant messaging, HD video conferencing, PC phone calling, and more.
Now, let's talk about it works now. Office 365 is a subscription- based service targeted to home users, professionals, and businesses. You pay a monthly fee per person, whether it's your own home version or in your organization, which when calculated can be far cheaper than running all these apps locally on servers and end-user computers while hiring personnel to administer and maintain them. There are different plans for different home or business scenarios at different costs, and we will discuss those plans in greater detail in the next movie.
The first person to sign up for the Office 365 subscription is automatically made an administrator with admin privileges. Then the administrator can define and add new users. Of course users added to the system can have different levels of access as well, so you can actually have more than one administrator. The cool thing is, you don't have to be a Microsoft certified systems engineer to be an administrator in Office 360. One can get by with some fairly basic knowledge of Microsoft Office, a little SharePoint, Outlook, and Exchange knowledge, and little more.
New email accounts can be opened for users, and existing email accounts can also be used. Team sites can be created using SharePoint services for sharing and collaborating on files, and instant messaging, high-def video conferencing, live meetings can all be accessed via the Lync Online service if you decide to install it. There is also Windows Live and Windows messaging. All right! Let's talk about using Office 365. For people in your organization, they'll access your Office 365 portal and they'll log in with their email address and a password provided by the administrator.
They will change a password when they log in for the first time. From their homepage users can then access the web-based versions of the Microsoft Office Apps, Outlook, and SharePoint. They can also access Lync Online, and if on the appropriate subscription plan, Web app versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, for their mobile devices. All right! Some additional key points. Although Office 365 is cloud-based, allowing you to work from anywhere on almost any device, you can work offline and sync up later with Outlook and SharePoint.
You can continue to use your full-fledged Office apps installed locally on your computer and set them up to give you quick access to the cloud. It's reliable. Microsoft provides a financially backed 99.9% uptime guarantee, and Office 365 maintains the latest defenses against viruses and spam. So, with a basic understanding of what Office 365 is, let's explore the various subscription plans that are available, beginning with options for home users. We will do that next.
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