Why sign in? Your files are always waiting for you with Office 365

You’ve read about Office 365 Home Premium and the Cloud and how Office and SkyDrive are better together. If you haven’t seen it, check out the Welcome to Office video below for a preview of how Office is connected to the cloud:


This video plays when you first install the new Office and introduces the idea that signing in connects Office to you and to the cloud.

The goal of this article is to dig deeper into what signing in unlocks and why we’re so excited about the functionality it offers.

One of our big investments in the new Office was around making Office yours. This means:

  • Getting to your stuff, Office programs, and settings wherever you go (even if you don’t have your devices with you)
  • Picking up where you left off from anywhere, across your devices
  • Making Office a personal experience

In everyday life, this is working on your documents on a phone, PC, or tablet, regardless of whether you’re at home, school, work, or on the bus. It means that even if you forget your laptop at home, you’ll still be able to get to your files and Office programs, because they’re associated with you, not stuck on just one computer.

Subscription and sign-in are how we make all this goodness happen.

What happens once I’m signed in?

Lots of great things! Signing in brings your whole world together. Here are 4 things that happen when you sign in:

1. Your documents, settings, and services go with you

The new Office incorporates the concept of “roaming”: your stuff going with you whether you’re on your PC, tablet, or phone, or someone else’s, like a school, library, or work computer (or even a trusted friend’s).

A big frustration is often that you have to reconfigure your Office programs every time you install them on a new computer. We asked: what if you didn’t have to do that? What if you could just sign in and all your settings are just… there?

So, that’s what we did. Here’s what travels with you:

Places. The SkyDrive associated with your Microsoft account is already there to save to or open documents from, but if you have multiple SkyDrive (or SkyDrive Pro) accounts, you can easily add them by clicking Add a Place.

Add a place in SkyDrive account

Any places you add here will be available across all of your programs (if you add a place in Word, it’ll be there in PowerPoint.) If you sign into Office on someone else’s computer, your places will be there as well.

Personalization. If you selected a theme for Office when you first installed it, this also goes with you. It’s a visual cue that you’re signed in as yourself and another way to make Office feel like it’s yours.

























Recently used documents. Whenever you launch a program or go to open a file, you’ll see a list of your recently used documents. You can also pin important documents here. It doesn’t matter where you are or what device you’re on: if you’re signed in, your most recently used (and pinned) documents will be there.

Pinned templates. Have a favorite template you like to use? If you pinned it to the Start Place (the first screen you see when you launch an Office program), it will remain pinned even when you sign in to Office on another computer.

Resume reading. Office remembers where you left off reading in Word and PowerPoint. The next time you open up that document you’ll get a bubble which, when clicked, will let you jump to that location to pick up where you left off:

 Resume reading

You will also be able to automatically resume reading across devices, like on your Windows tablet or Windows phone.

Connected services. You can connect accounts like LinkedIn to your Office programs. Plus, your Facebook and LinkedIn contacts will integrate effortlessly with Outlook. Connected services are there wherever you sign in to Office, and you can easily add or remove services from the Account section in any Office program.

Custom dictionary. I don’t know about you, but my last name always shows up as misspelled when I first use a program. We had a lot of happy people when we told them they only have to add a word to their dictionary once, instead of every time they install Office or switch computers!

2. Anywhere access at Office.com and SkyDrive.com

With anywhere access at Office.com and SkyDrive.com, there’s even more you can do with just a web browser:

Office.com. This is your go-to location to manage your Office account, including:

  • Your stuff on SkyDrive: A portal to your recent SkyDrive files, folders, and account on SkyDrive.com.
  • Get Office apps: Download Apps from the Office Marketplace. These integrate with Office in cool ways, like being able to add LinkedIn and Twitter (by PowerInbox) functionality to Outlook.
  • Gorgeous content. When you sign in, you can get access to over 700 new and beautiful templates designed for the new Office.

Plus, if you have an Office subscription, you can also:

  • Use Office on Demand. Create and edit documents with all the power of the Office desktop apps with Office on Demand.
  • Manage your account. See how many PCs and devices you’ve installed Office on, install Office right from the web, or even remove devices to free up an install.

Manage your account
















SkyDrive.com is where your files live when you save to the cloud. Here you can create and edit documents with the free Office Web Apps, and if you’re on a computer without Office installed but have an Office subscription, you’ll get the option to edit documents with Office on Demand for a full desktop app experience.


3. Office goes with you too

Your files and settings aren’t the only things that roam. Here’s how you can get to your Office anywhere:

Office on Demand. If you have an Office 365 subscription like Office 365 Home Premium and are connected to the internet, you can stream and use any rich Office programs on any modern PC without having to install them. In short: you can get your Office programs anywhere in a matter of seconds. There’s an entire section on Office on Demand in our Office and the Cloud blog post and even more deep technical detail in our engineering article Click-to-Run and Office on Demand.

Office Web Apps. The new Office Web Apps are now live on SkyDrive. You can use the Web Apps to edit or create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and more from a browser anywhere, even on your tablet. For more details on some of their new features, check out this post on the new Office Web Apps.

Even install Office on the go. Need your full set of programs on another machine? You can install directly from the internet when you sign in to Office.com.

4. Work (and share) from anywhere

When your documents aren’t stuck on one computer, it also makes it easier to share and work with others, regardless of where you (or they) are located:

Work offline. Even if you’re about to get on a plane, you can still work on SkyDrive documents even if you’re disconnected from the internet. Any changes you make will sync automatically when you go back online. This is called “offline sync” and is just one of the perks you get from installing SkyDrive client along with Office. Check out the Office and SkyDrive post for more info.

Simple sharing. Documents you save to the cloud can be shared right from Office. When you go to “Share”, you can invite people you’re working on a document with to read or edit documents right from Office. If they don’t have Office installed, they’ll be taken to the Office Web Apps and can work in their browser.

Work together (also called co-authoring). Coauthoring means that once you share a document with others, you can all work together at the same time. This is possible in Word, PowerPoint, and OneNote, both in the free Web Apps and the desktop apps on your PC or tablet. You’re notified when someone else has joined to edit the document, and you can see their changes simultaneously alongside yours. For other programs like Excel, while coauthoring isn’t possible, sharing is still simple and makes keeping track of changes easy. When you invite people to read/edit a document using Share, they can separately add their edits and comments, which means you don’t need to email different copies or manage multiple versions of the same file. Plus, your document is stored in the cloud, so you can get to it wherever you go.

Present files online. This is a special feature in both Word and PowerPoint, and I can’t tell you how useful this would have been for working on projects when I was in school. Even if you and your partner are working from separate locations, you can step through a paper or presentation together (there’s even built-in IM functionality so you can message each other). Get more details over at the PowerPoint blog and the Word blog, where they discuss presenting files online in Office 2013.

Simplify signing in

We know that people don’t like to sign in a lot or maintain multiple different accounts. Most of us already have several accounts for email, social networking, cloud storage, etc. You don’t necessarily want to make a new one, or have to sign in when you didn’t have to before.

With this in mind, we’ve done what we can to make it super easy while still getting you all the benefits associated with sign in. When we asked people what they thought of signing in, one of their main questions was, “Do I have to sign in every time I launch Word?”

The answer is a definitely not! All you have to do is sign into Office once and all your programs will remember you.

To make things even easier: if you use Windows 8 and sign into your computer with your Microsoft account, Office will automatically sign you in. And if you work at an organization that uses domain accounts, you’ll also automatically be signed into Office on both Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Where do I sign in?

You can sign into your Office in a few different places:

First Run Experience. When you install Office, you’ll see what we call the “First Run Experience” (where you’re welcomed with the video and offered a chance to sign in.)

Office first run experience

In Office. You can sign into Office from the top right of any app. In your Office programs just look for “Sign in” or “Sign in to get the most out of Office” at the top right:

Sign in to get the most out of Office












Online at Office.com and SkyDrive.com. As mentioned in the “What happens once I’m signed in?” section, there are a bunch of things you can do online, too.

Getting a Microsoft account

With so many different sites and services asking you to sign up for an account, it’s tough to keep track of all the different usernames you use everywhere. We wanted to simplify the process as much as possible. That’s why Microsoft on the whole is switching to using just one account for all of its services, from Windows 8, to Office, to Xbox.

The great news is that chances are, you may already have a Microsoft account without knowing it.

You already have a Microsoft account if you…

  • Play video games on your Xbox – it’s the same account you use for Xbox LIVE
  • Chat with your friends on Live Messenger or MSN Messenger
  • Have an @Hotmail.com, @Live.com, or @Outlook.com email address (your username is that email address, and the password you use for that email account is also your Microsoft account password)
  • Sign in to Windows 8, your Windows phone, and more

But even if you don’t have a Microsoft account, you don’t have to create a completely new username or sign up for a new email account just to get one. You can use any email address you already own for your username. Then just create a password of your choosing. For more information on Microsoft accounts, check out this video.

Office gets better the more you use it

One of the best things about all the work we’ve done in this space is that it’s just the start. We’ve gone from zero to sixty in no time flat – from Office just being on your computer to living in the cloud in the blink of an eye.

Signing in gets you a ton already: roaming your documents and settings, using your Office programs from anywhere, coauthoring, presenting online, and more. But this initial push is just the first of many steps to enriching and personalizing the Office experience.

We’re dreaming up more ways to make working across devices and collaborating with others an effortless experience from anywhere – one where you don’t even have to think about the fact that it’s happening; it simply works the way you’d expect it to.

That’s why we love sign-in so much, and we think you’ll love it, too.