Office365- An Overview

Office 365 delivers the Office 2013 programs as part of a subscription service that includes online storage, sharing, and syncing via Microsoft cloud services. Office 365 is available in different home, business, government, and education editions.

When purchased as part of an Office 365 subscription, the Office 2013 programs and associated services are always available in the latest version as well as upgrades to future versions of Microsoft Office for the same subscription fee which starts at $10 to $15 a month for home or small business versions.

One of the confusing parts about Office 365 is that, even though this is a cloud-based service, you do not have to be perpetually online to access programs such as Excel and Word. These programs are installed from the web, but they work just like traditional desktop software, whether you are online or offline. And so, Office 365 is not fully cloud based. Being online and signed in allows you to access files in cloud storage services.

The Office 365 Home Premium version allows up to 5 installs per account or user which can be a huge plus for households. Each user has access to their own files and their individual customization is saved as well. The Office 365 management portal allows you to deactivate the installed copy of Office from one or more devices so you can install it on a new device (desktop computer, laptop, Windows-based tablet). Plus, updates are automatic so you’ll always have the latest version of Microsoft Office.

Part of the confusion around Office 365 is that not all versions actually deliver the full Microsoft Office suite. Office 365 has been available for about three years to provide business, government, and other organizations with multiple enterprise-level services. Currently offered in six different plans targeted to small business, midsize business, and enterprise level organizations, Office 365 may include online hosting of Exchange Server (for Microsoft Outlook), SharePoint, web conferencing, and include some level of the Office Web Apps. Although not as highly customizable, moving hosting of some services, such as Microsoft Exchange hosted e-mail, from internal services and administration to online can equal big cost savings to large organizations. Office 365 now includes three plans which add desktop versions of Microsoft Office 2013 Professional Pro and allow up to 5 PCs/Macs per user. Additional plans are available for education and government.