Mobile access to Microsoft Office 365 isn't just for iPhone and iPad users. After my post about connecting Office 365 to an iPhone, readers inquired how to access Office 365 from an Android device. Some critics say that Microsoft Office 365 isn't very mobile friendly, but you can get Office 365 working on your Android tablet fairly quickly.
In this post, I'm going to show you how to setup and configure your Android tablet to send and receive email using Exchange Online, the hosted email server component of Office 365.
Setting up an Android tablet to access Office 365 doesn't require any additional apps. However, you do need a full Office 365 account for each Android tablet user.
Setup Exchange ActiveSync email on an Android tablet
The exact steps for email setup may vary between Android versions. In the example below, I used a Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 running Android 4.0.2.
- Tap Settings
- Tap Accounts and sync (Figure A) Figure A
- Tap Add account (Figure B) Figure B
- Tap Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync
- Enter your Office 365 email address and password
- Tap Next, and Android will retrieve your account information
- When the Remote security administration dialog box appears (Figure C), tap OK Figure C
- From the Account options screen (Figure D), you have the following options:
- Peak schedule: The default setting is Push, which downloads email to your Android tablet as it arrives in your Exchange Online inbox
- Off-peak schedule: The default setting is Push
- Period to sync email: The default setting is Automatic
- Emails retrieval size: The default size is 2KB
- Period to sync Calendar: The default period is two weeks
- Optionally, select Send email from this account by default
- Tap Next, and Android will validate your account options
- When the Activate device administrator? dialog box appears, tap Activate
- From the Set up email screen, type a name for the account and the name that you want displayed to email recipients
- Tap Done to complete the email setup
Accounts and Sync screen.
Add Account dialog box.
Remote security administration dialog box.
Account options screen.Note: Account options settings may vary, depending on your version of Android. Keep in mind that the more frequent you set email and calendar synchronization, scheduling, and email retrieval size will impact your data plan and/or need for a Wi-Fi hotspot.
After completing this setup, you may have to wait 10-15 minutes before you can send and receive email from your Office 365 account.
Troubleshooting Exchange server setup
If you have a different device and version of Android, the steps in the previous section may not work. While I was writing this post, the setup on my Galaxy Tab 2 worked almost flawlessly. However, the setup on my Google Nexus 7 tablet was another story.
Some versions of Android choke on podxxxxx.outlook.com (Exchange server name: m.outlook.com). So, if you follow the steps above and your Android tablet doesn't connect with Office 365, try connecting using your host name for your mailbox.
Here's how to find out your Office 365 host name:
- Open the Outlook Web Application (OWA)
- Click Help
- Click About, and your Office 365 host name will appears under Host Name
Some other setup/configuration tips to remember:
- Type your full email address in the Domain\Username dialog box. If Domain and Username are separate text boxes in your version of Android, leave the Domain field empty. Type your full email address (for your Office 365 account) in the Username field.
- Some versions of Android require the domain/username format, so type in your domain\Office 365 username.
Determine your Exchange ActiveSync server
If Android doesn't find your Office 365 Exchange Server Online information, you may need to access your account information in OWA. You can get the URL to access OWA when you setup Office 365 for your organization.
Follow these steps to find your Exchange ActiveSync server name in OWA:
- Sign in to OWA using your Office 365 email address and password
- Click Settings
- Click Options
- Click Account
- Click My account
- Click Settings for POP and IMAP access
- Under POP setting, look at the value for Server name
Depending on your organization's Office 365 configuration, your email server may end in outlook.com or your organization's domain name.
Onto the cloud
You should now be able to send and receive email from your Office 365 account using your Android tablet. Do you use Office 365 on your Android tablet? If so, please share your experience, including any tips or difficulties you experienced along the way.
Will Kelly is a freelance technical writer and analyst currently focusing on enterprise mobility, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and the consumerization of IT. He has also written about cloud computing, Big Data, virtualization, project management applications, Google Apps, Microsoft technologies, and online collaboration for TechRepublic and other sites. Will also works as a contract technical writer for clients in the Washington, DC area and nationwide. Follow Will on Twitter: @willkelly.