The product featured was provided free of cost to me for the sole purpose of product testing and review. Please note that any personal opinions reflected in this post are my own and have not been influenced by the sponsor in any way.
I used to sell computer products for more then ten years. Probably the most popular piece of software that we ever sold during that time was Microsoft Office. It’s simply a must-have. I remember the one downside of Microsoft Office was installing it. A typical install was like four DVDs, and it took a long time. Then once it was installed, you could only use it on that one computer. That mean another long install on any additional computers you wanted to use Office on. Those days are coming to an end, now that products such as Office 365 are available.
I recently got the opportunity to try out a new laptop. It didn’t come with Office. I need Office. I do all of my schoolwork using Office, along with everything for my nonprofit. Office 365 seemed to be an ideal product for me. Office 365 is a subscription-based version of Microsoft Office, where the software is located in a cloud and can be accessed from anywhere you have an internet connection. The Office 365 Home Premium suite contains the latest versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, Publisher and Access. SkyDrive is cloud-based storage, and you get 7 GB of free storage space when you create your account.
Installing Office 365 was easy, much simpler then back in the day when it required a bunch of DVDs or CDs. Once you go to the site, you either login with an existing account or create a new one. Your computer then connects with the cloud and sets up your Office. During the install you are given the ability to choose what background you’ll see when logged in to your office. The whole install took maybe five minutes, and required no DVDs or CDs.
Office 365 is great because it’s always there when you need it. Gone are the days of trying to remember something until you got home so you could put it in word. Now you just open up an existing document or create a new one wherever you are and you’re set. This convenience makes for increased productivity and it saves time. And for those of you that have gone to a meeting where you forgot your flash drive or presentation, you’ll be glad to know that as long as there’s a computer with internet your documents are available and ready to use.
Documents are saved to the Microsoft Skydrive, a cloud based storage system. This makes it easy to access them from different locations, and to share them with friends and coworkers. If you work offline, changes will be reflected in the Skydrive folder next time you reconnect and sync.
Office 365 has a simple and streamlined appearance designed with the intent of enabling you to get your work done quickly and easily. It contains all of the features you already know and love. I love using templates because they make regularly used document so easy to use and customize in a few moments. I was very happy to see that it’s still easy to find and use templates within Office, whether you find them right in the start screen or on the Office.com website.
Office 365 also contains some new features. One of the new features that I really like is the resume reading feature in Word. I use Word for school assignments a lot. Sometimes I read in bursts, as my schedule permits. Previously it was a little bit of work to find where I’d left off, just so I could pick up from there. If you stop reading a document to do other things, when you go back in the resume reading feature allows you to continue at the same place you left off reading. Something I haven’t gotten a chance to really try out yet is OneNote. OneNote seems like it’s going to be a great planning and organizing tool. You can store notes and lists in there. Something really cool is that OneNote also allows you to make notes out of images and drawings from your device or a website. And all of the notes are searchable. I bet this would be really cool for recipes! And it should make planning trips and vacations pretty simple too.
Office 365 For Home Premium provides access to latest Office applications on up to 5 PCs, tablets, and Macs, plus 20 GB of online storage for easy access to documents. The regular price for Office 365 For Home Premium is $99.99 per year or $9.99 per month.
There is a slightly smaller version called Office 365 University gives students access to Office on up to 2 PCs or Macs, and 2 mobile devices. The regular price for Office 365 University is $79.99 for a 4-year subscription, which breaks down to a $1.67 a month. Office 365 is compatible only with Windows 7, Windows 8, and Mac OS X 10.6 or later.
Here are some of the current backto-school offers available at your local Microsoft retail store or online at www.microsoftstore.com.
Back to School Offers:
- Students save 10% on products in store/online* (*With valid student I.D.)
- Buy a touchscreen PC, and get Office 365 University for free*
- Buy Office 365, get 12 mo. Xbox Live Gold Free (until 9/28)
The Microsoft Store is holding an online contest, My Tech Style Sweepstakes. Customers can enter daily through August 16 for a chance to win major tech prize packs from the Microsoft Store.