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Your questions about Office 365

Last updated: June 2022

If you have questions about Office 365, (now known as Microsoft 365) check out our resources on our M365 Help and Support (SharePoint) site.  Or connect with one of your M365 Digital Champions for support to find the answer.

The basics

What is Office 365?

Office 365 is a set of messaging and collaboration applications that Microsoft hosts on its own servers. You can access Office 365 using a web browser on a computer that's connected to the Internet or your smart device.

What does Office 365 include?

Your new Office 365 account will include newer versions of:

  • Outlook
  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • OneNote
  • SharePoint

In addition, staff and postgraduate research students will be able to use Teams for collaborative working, and OneDrive for cloud storage. 

Here are some of the key benefits we think you'll enjoy:

  • Enhanced message organisation and retrieval: You'll spend less time managing folders and looking for messages. Use tags to organise, store, and find your messages more efficiently. And with the new search feature, you can find any message quickly and easily, whether it's in your Inbox or stored in your message archives.
  • Easier calendar sharing: You and your team members can quickly and easily share your calendars with each other and specify the details you want to show. Calendar sharing is a great way for you and your colleagues to keep each other informed about your schedules.
  • Better team working: With Microsoft Teams, you can manage your own team workspaces without the need to make requests to IT Services for a mailing list or SharePoint site. You can create your own groups for your projects, teams, special-interest groups, and more. Not only do groups make it easier to send messages to groups of people but they also simplify sharing documents, files and more. You can even use groups to create full-featured discussion forums.
  • Integrated chat and video-conferencing: With Microsoft Teams, you can communicate instantly with your colleagues as a chat or video-conference. You can set your chats to be automatically saved, so you can always retrieve important information.
  • File storage and sharing: With Microsoft OneDrive, you can store just about any type of file, open it and work on it right in your web browser, and quickly invite others to work or view it. You can access OneDrive from any smart device.
  • Real-time collaboration: You can create documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, and you and your team members can view and edit them at the same time using real time co-authoring.  You can still use your Microsoft Office products, but now you'll have more options for storing and collaborating on your documents.  See it in action here

Why Office 365?

We looked for a solution that could provide the following benefits:

  • Access to services from anywhere, any time —We can access email, contacts, and calendar from any computer or mobile device with an Internet connection, anywhere in the world
  • More collaboration features —We can collaborate with colleagues, customers, and partners more easily and efficiently than ever before
  • Lower costs — Because email will be stored securely on Microsoft's servers, we'll no longer need to maintain email servers on-site
  • Highly scalable environment — Our email capacity will grow automatically as our organisation develops and changes into the future.
  • Instant messaging — Because Office 365 includes Teams, we can implement an improved instant messaging and collaboration system.

Will it affect my webmail?

Yes - but in a positive way. Office 365 brings a newer version of Outlook on the web, which is much improved over the previous version used at the University. You’ll still be able to access your email and calendar entries as before, but the user experience is much more intuitive and modern, and works well on mobile devices too.

Is email on Office 365 the same as the personal free version of Microsoft email (

They’re similar, but we'll be using the business-class edition of Microsoft Office 365, which provides more features, more storage, and more support in addition to email.


The transfer

When will I get access to Office 365?

Our original plan was to roll out Office 365 gradually to our staff and postgraduate students during 2019 and 2020. However, since the suspension of face to face teaching and closure of non-essential buildings, the University's Senior Leadership Team (SLT) has approved an acceleration of the roll out.

This acceleration means that we've had to change our approach.  

On the recommendation of Microsoft we are working to transfer everyone to Exchange Online and OneDrive (cloud based email, calendar and file storage) by the end of May; with the roll out of Microsoft Teams to start at a later date.

You will receive an email from our End User Computing (EUC) team about a week before you are scheduled to transfer. You will then get a reminder email on the day of your transfer.

Colleagues with less technical dependencies (such as no shared mailbox access) are being transferred first. Where we need more information about your computer, the EUC team will contact you.

How do I get an Office 365 license?

You'll automatically be allocated a license as part of your migration to Office 365. After migration, you'll just need to use your University of Manchester credentials whenever you're prompted to log in to Office 365, including when using Office applications on your unmanaged devices.


Will my email address change?

No, your email address won't change; you'll continue to receive all your email at your current University address.

Will IT Services provide assistance during the transition?

To get you up to speed quickly, we'll provide plenty of documentation and training resources. Details will follow as we progress through the deployment.

Members of IT Services will also be available to answer your questions or resolve any issues you encounter.

You can also visit the Office 365 Learning Centre for guides, tips and examples of how to make the most of your new services.

What do I do if I'm currently using an unmanaged computer for my work?

If working on an unmanaged computer, colleagues may need to reconfigure their Outlook application. Instructions can be found on the Support Portal for Windows and Mac users.

If Outlook is not already installed, or you need to download other Office 365 software (such as Word, Excel, OneNote etc.), you will need to download the Office 365 suite direct from the Microsoft website. You do not need to request an Office 365 license yourself - this will be allocated automatically once you've been migrated to Office 365. After migration, you can sign in to Office 365 applications on your computer using your University of Manchester credentials.

Please note that older versions of Outlook (such as Outlook 2010 and 2013) are not compatible with an Office 365 account, and you will not be able to use these older versions to access your University email after transfer. You will therefore need to download and install the newest version of Outlook from once you have been transferred to Office 365.

Instructions on how to download Office 365 applications can be found on the Support Portal.

Why do I need to upgrade to Office 2016 before I can be transferred to Office 365?

If your University computer is managed, is still on Windows 7, and uses an older version of Microsoft Office such as 2010 or 2013, you will first need to manually upgrade to Office 2016 before your transfer to Office 365 can take place.

It's important that you do this, as it will ensure that you can continue to access your emails via Outlook once you've been migrated to Office 365.

If you've been identified as using an older version of Microsoft Office and need to upgrade, you'll have received an email detailing what you need to do. You can also follow our guide on upgrading to Office 2016, below:

I've been transferred to Office 365, but my shared mailboxes haven't. How do I access them?

You will need to use the Outlook web app until your shared mailboxes are also transferred to Office 365. If you use multiple shared mailboxes you can open each one in a separate browser tab. 

  1. Log into the Outlook web app.
  2. Click on the small downwards arrow next to your name at the top right of the screen.
  3. Type the name of your shared mailbox and click ‘open’.
  4. You will be given a link to the shared mailbox in the ‘old’ email system.

For more detailed instructions, login to the Support Portal and then click on the following Knowledge Base article:

I have emails archived as a .pst file. What will happen to them after my transfer?

Colleagues are now able to import .PST email archive files into Outlook after transfer. We recommend you import these archives into your mailbox so that they are backed up, and any sensitive data can be tagged and managed properly. If your archive is shared with colleagues, we recommend you request a shared mailbox (if you don’t already have one), and import the contents of the archive into there.

For instructions on how to import .PST files into your Microsoft 365 mailbox, login to the Support Portal and then click one of the Knowledge Base articles below:

Note that you can only import .PST files using desktop Outlook – it won’t work if you try to do it using webmail.

Will my archived emails remain in their original folder structure after transfer?

When you transfer to Office 365 any emails older than three years will move to a separate 'Online Archive' folder within your mailbox.

The folder structure that you have now will be retained after transfer, under the 'Online Archive' folder. The 'Online Archive' folder itself will look like a second/additional mailbox in Outlook.

If you’re using Desktop Outlook the folder will be titled ‘Online Archive –’. If you’re using webmail it will be titled ‘Personal Archive – mailboxname’.

Please note that in some cases it can take up to 24 hours after transfer for your archived emails to appear in your Online Archive folder.


Using Office 365

How much time will it take to set up and learn how to use Office 365?

You'll be able to master the basics, like sending and receiving email and viewing and scheduling meetings, very quickly. It may take more time to really learn to make the most of your new services, depending on how you currently use Office and Outlook.

For example, for a typical email and calendar transfer, expect to spend a few hours over the course of a week or so to take the training, review documentation, and set up your services.

If you also access email on a mobile device, plan on spending a bit more time.

I use Linux, will this still be supported with the move from P:drives to OneDrive?

You will still have access to your P: Drive, and as there is not yet any official OneDrive software for Linux, you will still retain access to Dropbox Business and P: drives for the foreseeable future. However, you will still be able to access your OneDrive content through a web browser.

I use Linux, how can I access Teams?

Microsoft currently have a “public preview” version of Teams for Linux. Linux users can download packages for this in deb or rpm formats from the Microsoft website. On Linux, Teams is also supported in the latest versions of Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome (although not Chromium).

I use IMAP for my email - will this be available when I’m transferred to Office 365?

We are recommending Thunderbird and Evolution to colleagues who use Linux as means of accessing University email after transfer to Office 365. Please note that if you do not have IMAP access enabled for your IT account, you will first need to request this before following the configuration instructions linked below. You can request IMAP access by contacting the Support Centre or by submitting the Email issue/request form via the Support Portal.

For instructions on how to download and configure Thunderbird, login to the Support Portal and then click the following Knowledge Base article:

Evolution is available in all major Linux distributions and is best installed by using the distribution's software or package manager.

For setup instructions, login to the Support Portal and then click the following Knowledge Base article:

After your transfer to Office 365, you will also still be able to access your University email from a web browser by logging in at

Can I get the Outlook app on my mobile device?

Yes - once transferred to Office 365 you will be able to download and use the Outlook app on your mobile devices.

How do I set up an automatic reply for my email or shared mailbox?

You can set an automatic reply or 'out-of-office' message for both your personal email and for any shared mailboxes you have access to, using either Outlook for desktop or the new Office 365 Outlook web app.

Instructions on how to do this can be found on our Knowledge Base. Just login to the Support Portal and then click on the following link to the Knowledge Base article:

Can I install apps and add-ins for Microsoft Office 365, as well as Microsoft 365 apps, including Teams/SharePoint?

No. The self-service addition of apps and add-ins for Microsoft 365 Office and associated products is still under review by the IT Service Security Working Group, as to how they can be risk assessed and supported. This process should be completed in the near future, at which time information will be updated and communications will be sent out to staff.

To find out what add-ins you are using, open an application, then go to File>options>add-ins.