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A Guide on How to Use Microsoft Office 365 for Business

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Office 365 is a popular cloud service providing a set of online productivity applications and new users may have some questions about how to start using Office 365: What is the price for Office 365 applications? How to pay for Office 365? What is the difference between Office 365 for business and Office 365 for home users? Which applications do users need in an organization? This blog post covers Office 365 features and explains how to start using Office 365 for business. In this blog post you can find answers to the questions:

  • What is included in Office 365 for business?
  • How much does Office 365 cost for a business?
  • Can I use Office 365 home for my business?
  • What is the best Microsoft Office for a small business?

What Is Office 365 for Business?

Office 365 is a set of online productivity applications developed by Microsoft. The service is available on a subscription basis. Recently, Office 365 was rebranded as Microsoft 365, but it still offers the same apps and services. Subscription plans for Office 365 are divided into two categories: Office 365 for personal use and Office 365 for business. Office 365 Personal doesn’t provide an administration center and each user can manage only their own account. Office 365 for business provides an admin center, allows you to buy multiple licenses for multiple users and manage them centrally from the Office 365 admin center (Microsoft 365 admin center). Subscription plans for personal use and business use are also different and include different applications, limitations, and capabilities. For example, Microsoft Teams, SharePoint Online, and Exchange Online are not included in personal subscription plans. There are family subscription plans for personal use that allow users to save costs. It may seem attractive to use Office 365 Home subscription plans for small businesses, however it is forbidden by the EULA (End User License Agreement). Microsoft allows you to try Office 365 for free for one month.

Office 365 Business Applications

Microsoft Word Online is a professional text editor. The app is familiar to most users around the world. You have the choice of using Word Online in a web browser or installing a standalone Microsoft Office Word application.

Microsoft Excel Online is a spreadsheet editor used to create and edit tables, make calculations, generate diagrams, etc. You can use a web version of Excel in a web browser or install a standalone application as part of the Microsoft Office suite.

Microsoft PowerPoint Online is a presentation editor that allows users to create presentations for meetings and other events. There are online and standalone application versions, just as for Word and Excel.

Microsoft OneNote is an application used to edit shared text files by multiple users simultaneously. You can create a text file in a shared folder and share this file with other users. There are markers that show who edited the file and made changes in the text document. Desktop and web versions of OneNote are available.

Microsoft Exchange Online is a cloud service that allows you to manage email user accounts hosted on Microsoft servers. You can create, delete, enable, disable users, change their credentials, etc. The provided storage for a mailbox depends on the mailbox type and subscription plan.

Microsoft Outlook Online allows users to use an email account created on Microsoft servers. You can install a standalone Microsoft Outlook email client on your Windows computer to save email messages on your computer. By doing so, you can read your emails even when you’re not connected to the internet. Desktop versions of Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote can be installed on Windows and macOS computers.

Microsoft OneDrive for Business is a cloud storage service that can be accessed in a web interface. Different subscription plans provide different cloud storage limits. You can use a standalone OneDrive client that is installed in Windows 10 by default and synchronize files stored in the cloud with files stored in a local folder. Provided storage space depends on the subscription plan. Microsoft provides 1 TB of OneDrive storage for most Office 365 Business subscription plans for each user. Storage space can be increased to 5 TB.

Microsoft SharePoint Online is a collaboration platform that allows users to edit documents stored centrally in the web interface simultaneously. You can create SharePoint sites, pages, documents, and share them with other users inside and outside your organization. SharePoint Online is a cloud-based version of classic SharePoint on-premises. Read this blog post about SharePoint Online and SharePoint on-premises to learn more.

Microsoft Teams is a communication platform that delivers capabilities such as messaging (chat), voice/video communication (calls), and screen sharing. Teams is used to organize meetings and conferences online. Teams has been developed to replace Skype for Business. Skype for Business support ends on July 31, 2021.

Microsoft Publisher is a desktop publishing application focused on the layout of pages and design. Publisher is the entry level graphic program that can be used to create designs for invitations, business cards, and calendars. Only a standalone Windows version of Microsoft Publisher is available.

Microsoft Access is a database management system used to create simple databases that can be used on desktop computers, workstations, and laptops. Access can be used for creating business applications. There is no web version of Microsoft Access – you should install an application on your Windows computer.

Intune is a cloud-based service used for management of mobile devices and mobile applications in an organization to protect data inside the organization. Intune interacts with Azure Active Directory and can protect data on the application level. Intune is used for security purposes.

Azure Information Protection is another cloud-based solution to discover, classify, and protect emails and documents after applying labels to them. Azure Information protection is part of the Microsoft Information Protection solution and is used to protect sensitive information.

Microsoft Stream is a video streaming service that allows users to view, upload, and share video content. You can migrate from Office 365 Video to Microsoft Stream.

Power BI is a service for business analytics and data analysis that allows users to perform modelling and reporting. There are three types of Power BI available for Office 365 business users – Power BI Pro, Power BI Premium, and Power BI Desktop.

Office 365 Business Subscription Plans

Once you are familiar with the functionality of Office 365 business applications, you can select a business subscription plan to use in your organization. Microsoft provides a set of Office 365 Business and Enterprise subscription plans for organizations. Office 365 Business and Enterprise licenses allow you to use the product for commercial purposes. Let’s look at an overview of the subscription plans available when using Office 365 for business.

Microsoft 365 Business Basic (formerly Office 365 Business Essentials)

USD 5 per user/month

Desktop versions of the Office applications are not included.

Available applications: Microsoft Teams, Word Online, Excel Online, PowerPoint Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive, and Exchange Online.

Microsoft 365 Business Standard (formerly Office 365 Business Premium)

USD 12.50 per user/month

Online and desktop Office applications are included: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access (PC only), Publisher (PC only), Teams, Exchange Online, OneDrive, and SharePoint.

This subscription plan can be considered as the best for a small business due to the price-to-functionality ratio.

Microsoft 365 Business Premium (formerly Microsoft 365 Business)

USD 20 per user/month

Online and desktop Office applications are included: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access (PC only), Publisher (PC only), Teams, Exchange Online, OneDrive, and SharePoint.

Security services: Intune and Azure Information Protection.

Microsoft 365 Apps (formerly Office 365 Business)

USD 8.25 per user/month

Online and desktop Office applications are included: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access (PC only), Publisher (PC only), and OneDrive.

Business email services and Microsoft Teams are not included.

Office 365 Business subscription plans have a limit of 300 users per organization. If you need to create more than 300 user accounts in your organization, choose one of the Office 365 Enterprise subscription plans.

Enterprise subscription plans

Enterprise subscription plans are good for large businesses and big organizations with a high number of users and large amounts of data.

Microsoft 365 E3

USD 32 per user/month

Includes: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, SharePoint, OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, and Microsoft Stream.

Microsoft 365 E5

USD 57 per user/month

Includes: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, SharePoint, OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Stream, and Power BI Pro.

Microsoft 365 F3 (formerly Microsoft 365 F1)

USD 10 per user/month

Includes: Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and Teams.

Select the needed subscription plan. Note that there are different OneDrive storage limits for each subscription plan. You can see more details and pay your Office 365 business subscription on the Microsoft website. It is recommended that you pay annually if you use Office 365 for business. It is possible to pay monthly, but the price can be higher. Online Office 365 business applications are updated regularly and automatically.

Once you have paid for the selected Office 365 for business subscription plan (any of the Business or Enterprise plans), open the Microsoft 365 admin center, create the Microsoft 365 user accounts, and start using the needed applications. You can access the admin center by using this link. You can also configure multi-factor authentication to improve security.

Then Office 365 users should open the Office 365 login page, enter their credentials, and start using applications. Install the standalone versions of Office 365 applications (if needed and if supported by your subscription plan).

Read these blog posts about SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and Exchange Online to learn how to use these Office 365 business applications and services. Administrators can also configure Exchange Online Protection, Malware Protection, and Data Governance to protect your environment.

Office 365 for business is a reliable cloud-based platform, but you should protect data even if the data is stored in the cloud. Use NAKIVO Backup & Replication to back up Office 365 emails stored in Exchange Online mailboxes, files in OneDrive, and content in SharePoint Online. To see for yourself how NAKIVO Backup & Replication can quickly and efficiently protect Office 365 data, you can always schedule a free live demo with one of the seasoned product experts.


This blog post has explained how to start using Office 365 for business. You should define which subscription plan is suitable for you taking into account factors such as price, applications included, maximum number of user accounts, and provided storage limits. Pay for the selected subscription plan, and then open the Microsoft 365 admin center, create user accounts, and let users log into Office 365 to use applications. This Office 365 for business review can be an entry way to start using Office 365 in your organization. If you need to use Office 365 for a small business, choose one of the Business subscription plans, but don’t use Personal and Family subscription plans to ensure that you are complying with the license agreement.

A Guide on How to Use Microsoft Office 365 for Business
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