Skip to main content

About this free course

Become an OU student

Download this course

Share this free course

Being an OU student
Being an OU student

Start this free course now. Just create an account and sign in. Enrol and complete the course for a free statement of participation or digital badge if available.

5.2 What is Office 365 and how can I access it?

As a student you’re eligible for free access to Office 365 for Education, for the duration of your studies and up to two years after, as long as the OU continues to have an agreement with Microsoft.

Office 365 gives you access to Microsoft Office applications such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

It’s also not essential to use Office 365 to study with the OU. You may already have software you’re happy using, but Office 365 does offer some advantages:

  • It’s online so you can use it on any computer, smartphone or tablet with internet access and easily access your files across all devices.
  • No compatibility issues. There are other free office packages that you can use but you may have to convert your assessed work into a suitable format before submitting to the OU. This sometimes changes or corrupts the file. With Office 365, you know the final result is the same as the one you create.
  • It’s completely free, not a limited trial.
  • The online storage facility makes a perfect back-up for your assessed work, notes and study materials while you’re studying and you can download it to store after you’ve finished.
  • You can work collaboratively with fellow students in real time.

Getting Office 365

  1. Go to portal.office.com [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .
  2. Sign in with your academic email address (this is your email address ending in @ou.ac.uk, go back to section 5.1 for further details).
  3. Your password will be the password you use to sign in to The Open University.
  4. You’ll then be taken to the Office 365 set-up page where you can configure Office 365 and access its applications, including your email account.

More details on getting your OU email and Office 365 can be found in the OU’s Help Centre. You’ll find out more about the Help Centre in the next session.