Top 10 Q & A: Getting started with Office 365

First published on the Microsoft Office 365 blog, July 2011. Some links have been changed to point to the UK website. Prices are correct for the UK.

We are one week post the Office 365 launch and are flattered and excited to see all the excitement on the web about our new service. Several customers have shared with us how Office 365 is already boosting productivity with estimated cost savings of up to 50%! I wanted to continue our top questions series, to answer some of the great questions as we’ve been receiving on getting started with Office 365 through Facebook, Twitter and right here on the Office 365 blog. Enjoy!

Q1: What is Office 365? Is it just “Office in the cloud”? Where can I learn more?

Office 365 is that and so much more! Office 365 combines the power of Office desktop apps with enterprise-grade email, shared documents, instant messaging, and video and web conferencing (Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and Lync Online) in an always-up-to-date cloud service that is backed by Microsoft and some of the best partners in the world. Further, Office 365 bring access to the Office Web Apps, which enable you to view, share and edit your Microsoft Office documents on the web with virtually any device connected to the internet. These services combine to provide you with the most comprehensive productivity solution for your business needs. Watch our professionals and small business or enterprise demos to get a taste of these services all working together.

Q2: Which Office 365 plan is right for my business? Where can I find pricing information on these plans? Can I switch between the two later on?

Office 365 offers plans tailored to meet your business’s needs, whether you are a new business, an established organisation, a small office or a multi-national enterprise. Office 365 for professionals and small businesses (Plan P) is designed for organisations with fewer than 25 employees and is just £4 per user per month, while Office 365 for midsize businesses and enterprises (Plans E1-E4 and K1-K2) provides larger organisations with the tools they want with the IT control, security and reliability you expect from Microsoft in a range of plans from £2.60 (K1) - £17.75 (E4). And if you are a smaller org with technical know-how, you’ll be happy to know that there are no minimum seat requirements for the enterprise plans, it works for orgs of one to thousands. The small business plan (P1) is capped at 50 users and cannot be transitioned later on. To find which is right for you, take a look at our professionals and small businesses and midsize businesses and enterprises placemats to compare the included features. For a more in depth analysis and feature list, see our Office 365 service descriptions.

Q3: I want to dig deeper into the detailed specs, features and capabilities of Office 365, such as mailbox sizes, cloud storage space, archiving, identity and details on security and service continuity policies in Office 365. What can I find this information?  

The Office 365 service descriptions are your go-to source for the nitty-gritty details about our service. These docs contain information on each of our cloud services (Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, Lync Online, Office Web Apps and Office Pro Plus) as well as detailed information on Migration, Support, Identity and Security. You can also read our security whitepaper and check out the Office 365 trust center to read about our practices.

Q4: I’m interested in buying/trying Office 365, where should I start?

The best way to begin is to make sure your company’s hardware and software meets the minimum system requirements for Office 365. Then check out our Getting Started page which will get you setup to trial or buy your Office 365 service. To make the trial and purchase process as smooth as possible, we’ve provided the following resources:  

- Office 365 for professionals and small businesses Product Guide: This high-level walkthrough will guide you through how to sign up for an Office 365 subscription and how to begin using some key features.

- Office 365 for professionals and small businesses Purchase and Support Guide: This guide will help you learn more about Office 365 for professionals and small businesses and how it can benefit your organisation. The guide focuses primarily on the Office 365 commerce experience and will help you to buy and manage your Office 365 subscriptions.

- Office 365 for midsize businesses and enterprises Buyer’s Guide: Guiding customers through key decisions relative to online communication and collaboration solutions, including deciding if the cloud is right for your organisation and how Office 365 for enterprises can meet your productivity needs.

From there, for customers getting started with Office 365 for small businesses, watch the Product Tour and read the Introduction for Office 365 administrators help article. You can also watch the User Tour or read the Quick Start Guide to learn more about the end user experience. For larger enterprises considering Office 365, the Enterprise Admin Tour and Introduction help articles are the place to start.

Q5: I would like help getting my business setup on Office 365. Where can I go to contact a partner in my area?

We designed the Office 365 Marketplace specifically to help our customers find trusted Microsoft Office 365 experts, applications and services that enhance and easily integrate with the Microsoft Office 365 suite of products.

Q6: I have a question or issue with Office 365, where can I get help?

We provide a variety of resources including the Office 365 Community and in product self-support for our small business customers as well as some additional features, including 24/7 phone support, for our enterprise plan subscribers. An overview of the available resources can be found on our website. The Office 365 help sites are also great resources to find answers to many of the common issues encountered in our service (Small Business Help | Enterprise Help).

Q7: I’m not familiar with how to move my custom domain over to Office 365. I want to use my own domain for my email ( and my public website (

You can easily add your custom domain and use it for your Office 365 e-mail and/or public website. The below resources will walk you through this process, in either text or video form.

- Adding your domain to Office 365 for professionals and small businesses: Help Article | Custom Domain for Email Video | Custom Domain for Website Video

- Adding your domain to Office 365 for midsize businesses and enterprises: Help Article | Office 365 Technical Blog Post on most often asked questions

Q8: I’m not sure how to use SharePoint Online for my small businesses. Where can I learn more about it?

Our SharePoint Online Product Manager Ben Tamblyn has put together a great set of short videos posted to our blog explaining the service and how it can help your company be productive. If you want to dive into more how-to to understand how this works, take a look at the SharePoint Online Help & How-To section and watch these videos to learn more.

Similar help and video resources exist for Office 365 for Enterprises here and here respectively.

Q9: I am a BPOS Customer, where can I find information on the transition plans from BPOS to Office 365?

Our BPOS to Office 365 transition center has been newly updated with information on the next steps and a transition guide for a smooth move to our newest cloud service.

Q10: I have OLSB today – how Office 365 will affect me and when I can to move?

Microsoft Office 365 will replace Office Live Small Business (OLSB) as the comprehensive productivity service for small organisations. As Stephen shared last week, we will continue running the OLSB service through at least February 2012. OLSB customers do not need to take any action at this time.  We will share more details about the transition later this year.  Check out our OLSB transition center for the latest OLSB information and help content, including a self-transition guide for customers who want to move to Office 365 today.

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