How to install Office 365 in OS X El Capitan

Mac users seeking to migrate to Office 365 must make several decisions. Here's how to navigate the process from selection to download to installation.

Many organizations and users are accustomed to purchasing a Microsoft Office license with a new Mac and sticking with that Office version for the life of that Mac. Organizations and Microsoft, however, are moving away from that practice. Office 365 subscriptions, in which organizations and users purchase a license that also provides access to updates and new versions, are becoming the norm. However, many organizations, including those without a full-time technology professional or consultant, are unfamiliar with the process. Here's a quick tutorial to ensure anyone unfamiliar with Office 365 accounts and installation procedures becomes comfortable with the new method.

Select the proper subscription

The first decision organizations must make when migrating to Microsoft Office 365 is which Office 365 subscription to purchase. There are several popular consumer and professional Office 365 subscription choices, including Office 365 Home ($99.99 per year), Office 365 Business Essentials ($5/user/month), Office 365 Business ($8.25/user/month) and Office 365 Business Premium ($12.50/user/month).

The Office 365 Home subscription provides Office application licensing for five PCs or Macs and five tablets (including iPads). Office 365 Business Essentials provides hosted email with 50GB of mailbox storage per user, 1TB file storage and sharing and online versions of Office. Office 365 Business includes full Office licensing for PCs, Macs and tablets, plus 1TB storage and sharing, but no hosted email service. Office 365 Business Premium, meanwhile, adds HD video conferencing, Skype and email service, along with 1TB file storage and sharing.

Create the new account

Once the proper account is identified, Home users can create a new account here, while Business users can create a new account here. Microsoft collects the typical information, including an email address and password, mailing address and payment information.

When creating an Office 365 subscription, do as you should be doing for other important accounts and document the account information, recording the username/email address and password. Office 365 will also issue a Recovery Code, which should be stored in a safe place (outside OneDrive storage), too. The text and numeral string is critical for proving your identity if you need to recover an Office 365 account. But here's the key; the Recovery Code must be generated before it's required.

Download the Office software

When logging in to an Office 365 account from an unrecognized system, security is a priority. Microsoft will send an authentication security code to the account's email address of record. The security code must be entered before logging on to the account.

One alternative is to load the Google authenticator app on your iPhone. Using the Google Authenticator app, you can pair the app with your Microsoft account by scanning a barcode Microsoft displays onscreen, which generates a Microsoft code on the iPhone, that can subsequently be entered within the Microsoft logon page on the Mac.

Once logged on to the Office 365 account, click the orange Install now button when using a Business account to download the Office software. If you're using a Home license, the orange button reads simply "Install."

Install the application

On my Mac, the Office 365 installer package was 1.16GB. After double-clicking the file, a setup wizard walks you through the install. You will need to enter a username and password possessing administrator privileges to complete the installation process, which finishes after activating the license by again logging on to your Office 365 account.

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