How to get and set up all the Office 365 components

Part 1: Office 365 and OneDrive let you mix and match apps in Windows, MacOS, iOS, Android, and the web

How to get and set up all the Office 365 components

Most of the work for setting up Office 365 collaboration happens on the back end, where you define and manage Active Directory users and associated policies and set up SharePoint and OneDrive access, if applicable.

But there's work to be done on the client end as well. IT may decide to leave that client setup to the users -- especially for their mobile devices and home computers (if your company allows their use) -- but users will need some guidance, as outlined in this article.

Office 2016 installation

Most enterprise Office plans allow up to five copies of the Office 2016 suite to be installed on each user's computers (Windows PCs and/or Macs), as well as up to 10 copies of the Office apps to be installed on their iOS, Android, and/or Windows Mobile smartphones and tablets. (Note that a Surface Pro or other PC tablet counts as a computer, not a tablet.)

For the Office 2016 suite, Microsoft provides Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Word for all supported operating systems and via a browser. Windows users can also get Access, Publisher, and Sway. For the other Office 365 apps, all four platforms and the browser have OneDrive, Outlook, Skype for Business, and Yammer, but Outlook on mobile devices supports only a subset of features, and Skype for Business and Yammer are essentially useless outside of Windows.

Mobile apps are available from the App Store, Google Play Store, and Windows Store. PC and Mac clients are available from after signing in via the Sign In menu at the upper right of the page, as shown in Figure 1. Be sure to choose the “Work, school, or university” option. Sign in using your standard Active Directory credentials (what you use to sign into email in an app like Outlook).

Office 365 online signin

Figure 1. Sign into your Office 365 account from a browser to install and manage the desktop software.

Once signed into Office 365, click the Settings (gear) icon at the upper right, and choose Office 365 from the pulldown. Then click Software in the pane that appears. If you don't see that option, you probably already have installed the apps on the current computer; if not, click Install Status in the sidebar, then click Install Desktop Applications in the main pane.

You'll see icons for the Office apps you are authorized to use. Scroll down and click Install to install them on your computer. (As Figure 2 shows, you may see an option below that to install Office 365 ProPlus with Office 2013 when using a PC or to install Office 2011 when using a Mac. Do that only if IT says to. The Office 2013 and 2011 apps are there for compatibility purposes, but you need to use Office 2016 to take full advantage of the document-sharing features in Office 365.)

Office 365 desktop install

Figure 2. After signing into your Office 365 account, go to Office 365 settings to install the suite of apps available for your computer.

You can also use the Office Online versions of Office 2016 apps from a browser. This can be helpful when using someone else's computer, a temporarily issued computer, or a home computer (when IT disallows local downloading of Office to it). Sign into as previously instructed, then click the Apps button (grid icon) at upper left to display a pane of available Office Online apps, as Figure 3 shows; click the one you want to use in the browser.

Office 365 online apps

Figure 3. To use the Office 2016 apps from a browser, select the online app from the grid of options after signing into your Office 365 account.

To check where you've installed Office 2016 apps, go to Settings > Office 365, then click Install Status in the sidebar. Figure 4 shows the window.

Office 365 install status

Figure 4. Office 365 typically limits business accounts to five installations on computers (Windows PCs and/or Macs). You can see what computers have Office 365 activated and deactivate any of them after signing into your Office 365 account.

Once you have installed the Office 2016 apps on your computers and devices, you have to sign in using your Active Directory credentials. You should get a pop-up asking you to sign in when you first use an Office 2016 app. If not, look for the Sign In option, at the upper right in Windows and at the upper left in MacOS, iOS, and Android. Enter your email address to verify whether you have an existing account; if so, provide your password if requested. If not, check with your IT department, or create your own account (you'll need to buy a subscription in that case). Signing into Excel, PowerPoint, or Word signs you into all three.

OneDrive installation

OneDrive access comes preinstalled for Windows 10 and is available via File Explorer's sidebar. (You can install OneDrive from Windows Store, but it's not required.) For Windows 8 and 8.1, OneDrive is available through the Windows Store. For Windows 7, you have to download and install the app from Microsoft. For Macs, install OneDrive from the Mac App Store, and be sure to update OneDrive for Mac to the latest version, as it only recently added support for accessing both work and personal OneDrive accounts. On mobile devices, download OneDrive from your respective app store.

Once installed, it will be available as a virtual drive in Windows' File Explorer, as a virtual drive in MacOS's Finder, as an Open In location in iOS, as a file browser location in Android -- that is, in their native file-handling facilities. (Part 3 shows iOS's Open In and Android's file browser.)

In Windows, the OneDrive icon should appear in the right side of the taskbar. In MacOS, it should appear on the right side of the menu bar. (You'll see a separate OneDrive icon in the taskbar or menu bar for each account you have added.) If you click the OneDrive icon in Windows or MacOS, a menu shows the sync status and lets you open OneDrive contents in a File Explorer or Finder window.

Right-click the OneDrive icon in Windows 7, 8, and 8.1 to open settings; click the OneDrive icon and choose Settings in Windows 10's OneDrive menu (see Figure 5) or Preferences in MacOS's OneDrive menu (see Figure 6). It's in Settings or Preferences that you add more OneDrive accounts for direct access by your computer and its apps. OneDrive allows access to one personal account but multiple corporate accounts.

Office 365 One Drive app setup: Windows

Figure 5. At right is the dialog for the Windows OneDrive account settings. At left, you can see the two OneDrive accounts set up for this PC shown as file locations in the File Explorer sidebar.

Office 365 OneDrive app: Mac

Figure 6. At right is the dialog for the MacOS OneDrive app's account settings. At left, you can see the two OneDrive accounts set up for this Mac shown as file locations in the Finder sidebar.

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This story, "How to get and set up all the Office 365 components" was originally published by InfoWorld.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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