Apple offices rarely still purchase boxed software. I wouldn't even know where to buy software locally, with office chains noticeably downsizing and closing stores. The advent of Apple's App store—in which software is purchased online, licenses are stored within a single online account, and the user just downloads the application—vastly improved the purchase process. Adobe followed suit with its Creative Cloud model. Now, a similar store is integrated within Windows. But potentially the granddaddy of online application subscriptions is Microsoft's Office 365 service, whose plans provide a range of options, including hosted Exchange mail, Office suite programs, and file storage.
Microsoft offers several different Office 365 business plans. The basic Business Essentials ($5.00/user/month) includes 1 TB of file storage and cloud sharing, as do the Business ($8.25/user/month) and Business Premium ($12.50/user/month) accounts, which add Office apps for tablets and phones, full versions of Office apps for Macs, and even HD video conferencing in the case of the premium account. The Business plan adds full Office desktop functionality, while the Premium option includes email services.
Home accounts are available for Apple users, too. Home, Personal, and Home & Student packages are available, ranging from $69.99 to $149.99 annually. Home subscriptions include Office apps for the Mac, 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage, and applications for iPads and iPhones. Note, though, that the Office 365 Home Personal subscription permits installing Office on only a single Mac or PC and only one tablet and one phone, whereas the Office 365 Home subscription permits installation on five Macs (or PCs), five tablets, and five phones.
Once Office is installed on a Mac, documents, spreadsheets, and presentations are stored within the OneDrive cloud storage location by saving a file (either by entering [command]+[S] or [command]+[up arrow]+[S] or clicking File | Save or Save As, tapping the provided Online Locations, and selecting the OneDrive option). Once OneDrive is selected from the resulting Save window, the user can park the file within an existing directory or create a new folder in which to save the file. Should Mac users change their mind, they need only click the On My Mac button (located where the Online Locations button previously appeared), select the corresponding directory, then click the Save button.
Accessing OneDrive files is very straightforward. With the proper application—Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote—open, click File, and select Open. Users can also leverage the Open icon provided within the application's primary launch page, where options are found for creating a New document and accessing Recent files. OneDrive appears as a file location option, as does On My Mac. Select OneDrive, navigate to the correct directory, highlight the appropriate file, and select Open.
To connect an iPhone or iPad to Office 365, download the corresponding apps to your Apple device. Microsoft has made apps for Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, OneNote, and OneDrive available within the Apple Store. To download the apps, you'll need to provide your Apple account user ID and password. Once the files download to your device, tap the respective icon to open the program. You can connect the app to your Office 365 account by entering the username and password for your Microsoft Office 365 account within the app. The iOS app will then receive access to files stored within the Office 365 account, where they can subsequently be viewed, edited, notated, and even printed.
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Erik Eckel owns and operates two technology companies. As a managing partner with Louisville Geek, he works daily as an IT consultant to assist small businesses in overcoming technology challenges and maximizing IT investments. He is also president of Eckel Media Corp., a communications company specializing in public relations and technical authoring projects.