Office 365 is Microsoft's cloud offering that provides software and services to customers on a subscription basis.
The name “Office 365” has been used by Microsoft to refer to quite a wide variety of product and services. Office 365 can refer to:
- The Office applications that run on Windows and Mac computers, as well as mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones. These applications include Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and more.
- The collection of Office 365 online services that provide cloud-hosted email, communication, and collaboration features to businesses, governments, and education institutions.
Office 365 Applications
Microsoft sells Office 365 Home, Home and Student, and Personal editions for use by individuals, students, and households. This subscription offering is a departure from the old model of selling Microsoft Office as a one-time purchase. By offering Office as a subscription, Microsoft is able to deliver the latest software and features to customers at all times, instead of customers needing to pay to upgrade to newer versions of Office ever 2-3 years.
The applications that are provided inn Office 365 subscriptions include Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and more. The specific applications included will depend on the subscription that you have. For example, Office 365 Home and Student does not include Outlook, whereas Office 365 Home and Office 365 Personal do.
You can find a comparison of Office 365 application subscriptions here.
Office 365 Cloud Services
The Office 365 cloud services that Microsoft offers include:
- Email and calendaring with Exchange Online
- Online file storage and sharing with OneDrive for Business
- Instant messaging, video and audio conferencing with Skype for Business Online
- Intranet website hosting with SharePoint Online
- Enterprise social networking with Yammer
- Productivity and collaboration features such as Groups, Teams, and Planner
You can read more about Office 365 for Business and Enterprise on the Microsoft website.
Learn About Office 365
Office 365 skills are among the most sought-after knowledge for IT professionals today. If you’re an experienced IT pro, the transition to managing cloud services will be fairly smooth. If you’re new to the industry, Office 365 skills will get your foot in the door and your career moving forward.
One of the challenges with learning about Office 365 is that the service changes rapidly. Training materials can go out of date very quickly, so it's important that they teach core concepts that will continue to be relevant even as the surrounding features change.
I've published a series of on-demand video training courses with Pluralsight that you can use to enhance your Office 365 skills. Learn more here.
If you prefer books, here's my list of recommended Office 365 books.
Here are some recent articles about Office 365.
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