Information Services

What is Office 365?

A summary of the various features of the Office 365 suite of applications, which include email, calendar, file storage, collaboration tools and document creation.

Office 365  "Office 365" refers to subscription plans that include access to Office applications plus other 'productivity' services that are enabled over the internet (cloud services).   The University subscribes to Office 365 to allow all staff and students to benefit from the extensive range of features included at no additional cost. Some of these benefits include 1Tb to store documents, 50Gb email and access to download the latest Microsoft Office on up to 5 devices.  

The product includes communication and collaboration tools like email & calendar, instant chat, discussion groups, conferencing and more. With a single University account, users can access document management features including real-time co-authoring with familiar Office online appls like Word, excel, powerpoint, easy storage and retreival with intelligent search capability and sharing options for both internal and external collaborators.

http://www.office365.ed.ac.uk

More details about key features included with the University's subscription are outlined below.  For limits and boundaries of this subscription then refer to the Office 365 Service Levels

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Email and Calendar

Feature-rich web browser access to University email, calendar and contacts, which includes:

  • 50 Gigabytes (GB) of mailbox storage
  • Ability to schedule meetings quickly and easily
  • Ability to share your availability with others in the University
  • Access to the University's Global Address List of contacts for staff and students

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OneDrive For Business

Microsoft's file-hosting service that allows users to sync files from their local devices to their OneDrive cloud-based storage and later access them from a web browser or mobile device. It includes:

  • 1 Terabyte (TB) of file storage for every user.
  • The ability to share documents for collaboration with others, including non-University members, either by generating a link to send out to them or granting them access to view and/or edit files in a shared space.
  • Use of the OneDrive For Business sync client, installed locally on your desktop or mobile device, to provide consistent file access from multiple locations and platforms.
  • Automatic backups of your files either saved directly or synched up into the OneDrive cloud.

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OneNote and Office Online

Within the Office 365 suite there are web-browser-based versions of a number of Microsoft's regular Office applications. This Office Online includes:

  • Web app versions of the OneNote notebook creation and sharing software and the standard Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications, allowing users to edit Microsoft Office documents in their web browser from anywhere.
  • Integration with the logged-in user's OneDrive For Business so that files are automatically saved and backed up in the cloud when created.
  • All documents, like every Office 365 service, are encrypted so that, if a transmission is intercepted by someone without authorization, they won't be able to read it.
  • Document compatibility is no longer an issue as the web apps in Office 365 are compatible with Office filetypes back to Windows XP and Mac OS 10.5.

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Skype For Business

Skype For Business (formerly Lync) is a unified communications platform available to all staff and students that enables instant messaging, audio & video conferencing and online meetings. Benefits of using it include:

  • Immediately see colleagues' availability status.
  • Instant message with friends and colleagues across the University.
  • Share a whiteboard for brainstorming with your colleagues in real-time.
  • Share an application, desktop, or document on-screen in real-time.
  • Initiate audio or video chats / conferences with online contacts.

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Delve

Delve is a feature of Office 365 that helps you discover the information that's likely to be most interesting to you right now all across the service. It allows you to find information about people - and through people - and help others find you. Even if you don't remember the title of a document or where it's stored, Delve is able to show you documents to which you already have permissions, no matter where they are in Office 365.

  • Click someone’s name or picture anywhere in Delve to see documents they’re working on or to learn more about them.
  • When you find a document you’re interested in, add it as a favorite or to a board to easily get back to it later.

  • Search for people, documents, or boards.

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Microsoft Office software and mobile apps

As part of the University's Office 365 subscription, all staff and students are entitled to download, install and activate up to 5 copies of Microsoft's traditional Office software on personal computers or mobile devices for as long as they remain members of the University. These locally-installed versions differ from the web-based versions inasmuch as they afford users much more control over the appearance, options and other abilities of the software. They allow users to:

  • Create Microsoft documents while either offline or online, on a desktop or mobile device.
  • Keep in touch with colleagues via the Skype For Business desktop or mobile client.
  • Retrieve and send University emails, contacts, and meeting appointments via Outlook.
  • Get a variety of Office 365 further apps for Surface, Windows Phone, iPhone, iPad and Android.

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And much more...

There are various further features of Office 365 in which the University has not yet fully developed a presence, but which are accessible in your account. Please note: The following features are not yet considered as being fully supported at the University beyond a best-effort approach.

Newsfeed - A service to allow you to follow activity and conversations started by colleagues, or you create your own, complete with hashtagged trends.

Sites (SharePoint) - Create new team sites (intranets) and easily find and access those created by other colleagues.

Tasks - A feature allowing you to keep track of tasks that you need to do but don’t necessarily want to put on your calendar. These synchronise with Office 365 accounts set up in the desktop or mobile Microsoft Office software.

Sway - Create and share interactive reports, presentations, personal stories, and much more.

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