What is Microsoft 365?

Separately, you have probably heard of Windows 10, Office 365, and 'the cloud'. For our use here, Windows 10 is just 'Windows'. Office 365 is actually different, but many confuse it with Office 2016. The cloud is, for UA, all about security and access to services, provided by a tool titled, Azure.

  • Windows 10, while it works in the background, you know it as the software your PC needs in order to function as the utility computer you have come to depend on.

  • Office 365 is very similar to the Office products you have come to know. But there are two key differences.

First difference, once Office 2016 is installed on your computer, it will not receive new feature updates. What features it has at the moment of installation are all it will ever have. We are used to this way of working with Office. Office 365, on the other hand, is frequently updated by Microsoft. Think monthly, weekly if needed. An update often includes a new 'thing' -  a feature, better way of getting from A to B, or even a fix for a problem they found.

The second and probably most important difference is you can open Office 365 on any device you have. At work or on the road, you can get at your work files, answer email, or get an alert one of your Excel files was updated. You are connected, any time you need it.

But how?

  • Azure is the pipeline. It connects you with Office 365 and and any file or person using it. If you logged in to your UA account today, you used Azure. If you opened a file off your OneDrive, you used it again. If you checked your email from your phone...you get it.

These three titles: Windows 10, Office 365, and Azure, are the components of what is now called Microsoft 365.

OK. What Do I Do Now?

Currently, we mostly use Office 2016 and even a little of Windows 7 (released 11 years ago!). They can be updated only on a periodic release model.

At UA, we are moving to Microsoft 365, which uses a 'rolling release' model to install updates to Windows 10, Office 365, and Azure. A rolling release installs new features sooner and fixes are installed much more frequently than the periodic model we currently follow.

That's a lot of 'install'. Let's unpack this with some examples. First, instead of waiting a year or two for a new version of Office, new features are just added when they are ready, not when an entire new Office version is ready. Or instead of waiting for a Windows security fix to be sent to UA we can install, Microsoft installs it as soon as it is ready.

Still, you might think, 'change is hard and we have these already working Windows and Office apps'. This is true, but software ages very quickly. So the ability to update faster via the web is a powerful thing.

Instead, think of it this way: on the one hand, we like our private information to stay that way. On the other, as individuals, frequently updating to the newest whatever is tedious and sometimes complicated. Even for an institution with our resources, periodic updates are not a trivial matter. Add to the mix that Microsoft can literally update their products real time and you might ask yourself, 'How does one keep up?'

Using the current model (periodic release) of installing updates, you don't keep up. If you are old enough, your updates used to arrive on floppy diskette via an IT tech. A rolling release is just the next improvement.

And we do not want to just keep up. We want to use a new Office feature today instead of waiting for the release of Office 202x, we want the fix for the latest Windows security threat now. Using the rolling release model, we can stay current with change.

So we, as a university, are moving off these older products to Microsoft 365. But we need your help.

How Do I Get Started?

There are many points of entry into Microsoft 365. We look at a few of them here: Teams, SharePoint and OneDrive. Additionally, the University of Akron IT department offers training support for individuals, departments or colleges through online instructor led training and open labs.

Teams series:

  1. How-to Join & Participate in a Teams Meeting - learn how to join a Teams meeting and participate productively.
  2. Create & Manage Your Team - learn how to create a team and manage its membership.
  3. How-to Add New Capabilities to Your Team - learn critical features used by all teams.
  4. Create & Manage Breakout Rooms - learn how to create breakout sessions. Additionally, you will learn how to create a private channel, and how to add sophisticated content to any channel such as video, polls, project plans and slide decks.

Full Teams series descriptions.

Sessions are also available for OneDrive and SharePoint.

Register for online instructor led training here.

Additionally, we have below a set of curated Quick Start Guides, video based training, and reference documents. All links open to a new window on Microsoft or LinkedIn Learning websites. LinkedIn Learning requires you sign in with your UA credentials.

Quick Start Guides are web pages presenting text based step-by-step instructions.

Video training for those who prefer it, are short demonstrations of how to access a service, for example adding OneDrive to your iPhone. Or how to use a product feature, for example how to share a file in SharePoint.

PDF Reference are excellent after training references.




  • Add OneDrive to Your PC

  • Copy files from the H-drive to OneDrive


  • Meeting national and international requirements. How OneDrive protects sensitive data
  • How OneDrive uses Safelinks to protect files from viruses
  • Recycle bin a little too fast? Here's how to restore deleted files

Desktop Client

For Mobile

Did you know?

  • You can access OneDrive from any where, on any device.
  • Your OneDrive storage is 2TB (about 250 million pages of text). So go ahead and move your work files. There's room.
  • But...the largest any one file can be is 100GB. Such a limit is high and will not affect most users. However, it will affect some and our IT is working with Microsoft to raise the limit.

  • No more locked files on department drives. As you know, files opened for edit from a department drive (H-drive), allows only one user to edit the file at any one time. But did you know files you share from OneDrive do not have this limitation? Office 365 will even let you know how many people are editing the file right now. To learn more check out the above OneDrive Quick Start Guide, 'Work Together'.

Need a Little More Help?

Reach out to our Help Desk

Additional Microsoft 365 Training

Available on Microsoft's site

Comments on this page?

Contact Dean Shultz