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Office 365 Introduction

Office 365 is Microsoft’s cloud services offering to end users. At present, a number of elements of Office365 are available at no cost to Higher Education organisations, including Birkbeck. 

Office365 is being made available at Birkbeck, under the JISC negotiated Microsoft Terms and Conditions,  as the functionality and low cost make it a viable alternative to local systems and servers. It also provides access very quickly to newer applications as they become available. Services are available without relying (too much) on local infrastructure, which should mean increased flexibility and availability, and reduce the maintenance and management required.

The key elements of the service are:

  • a portal allowing staff and students to download and install the Microsoft Office suite of applications (including Word and Excel).
  • web versions of those applications, along with a number of others.
  • cloud file storage using OneDrive, which includes the ability to sync files to devices if desired.


Staff are also able to use

  • Sharepoint online, which works very well for document management and sharing.
  • Skype for Business - a unified communications tool used for instant messaging and voice or video calling. While it should not be confused with the consumer version of skype, calls can be made to skype consumer users.


Other applications are available to all users, including Onenote, Sway, Yammer, Forms, Delve, and many have on-line training material available from

Points to note

As with other such services, Microsoft reserve the right to add or remove applications as they see fit.

Data held on Onedrive is not backed up as such. There is a 30/90 day recovery period for files that have been deleted, but no backups are taken.

The Yammer network included within the Office365 tenant is not the Birkbeck Yammer network that has been in limited use for some time. It is not possible to move content from one Yammer network to another, so for the time being the old Yammer network remains. It is suggested that new Yammer groups are created within the Office 365 tenant.

We will be reviewing email provision, including whether staff email should move to Exchange online, and student email provision should by from Office 365 rather than Gmail at some point.

 Using Office 365

Connect to Office 365 login page, and enter your Birkbeck details as follows:

For staff using Birkbeck email systems, your username is your email address, and password your regular Birkbeck password.

For students and staff not using Birkbeck email systems, your username is in the form:, and regular password.