Microsoft Office is a lot more than just the applications we use every day such as Word, Excel and Powerpoint. When you buy Office as a subscription (free to education) you can get the options you want with Office 365, from just the desktop applications to the server tools (Exchange, SharePoint Lync and SkyDrive Pro cloud storage) or a combination of both.

If you just want the Office desktop applications, Office 365 ProPlus includes the business versions of Word and Excel (including business intelligence tools like Power Pivot and Power View), PowerPoint, Outlook, Project, OneNote, Publisher and Access, the Lync client and Office Mobile for iPad or Android that you can run on up to five devices (PC, Mac, iPad or Android depending on the app you choose). You install the Office software from the web and it's ready to use more quickly than a traditional copy of Office – in just a couple of minutes - but it runs on your PC (or Mac) as usual.

When you tell Office 365 to install the desktop Office apps, the software streams from the Office 365 servers, giving you the most important files first. The introduction that you can watch is actually running in PowerPoint, for example, and if you start Word right away it might only have the most common commands installed. Choose another tool from the ribbon and it might stream the code to run it from Office 365 (but all the code will be on your PC within ten or 15 minutes on a reasonably fast network).

You can also stream the desktop applications to any Windows 7 or 8 PC that you're using temporarily. And if someone leaves the company you can deactivate the Office subscription on their PC remotely and use it for another employee.

Microsoft Office 365 is the next step in the future of productivity and a brand new way to think about productivity in the Cloud. Microsoft Office 365 brings together Cloud versions of Microsoft’s most trusted next-generation communications and collaboration products with the latest version of Microsoft’s familiar desktop suite; Exchange Online, SharePoint Online and Lync Online.

Microsoft Office 365 is designed to meet the needs of all organisations – from sole proprietors to small, mid-sized and large businesses and from government agencies to all sizes of schools. Microsoft Office 365 helps organisations save time, money and free up valued resources, it is simple to use and easy to administer, all backed by the robust security and guaranteed reliability you expect from a world-class service provider. In short, Microsoft Office 365 is an opportunity to give customers all Microsoft know about productivity, in a single Cloud Service.

The key benefits of Office 365 are:

Anywhere-access to email, documents, contacts, and calendars on nearly any device

Simple and secure collaboration with colleagues and business partners

Works seamlessly with Microsoft Office and other programs Business-class features including 99.9% uptime, geo-redundancy, disaster recovery, and robust security and privacy controls and standards

Comprehensive solutions including desktop productivity applications, portals, extranets, external web site, instant messaging, voice and video conferencing, Web conferencing, e-mail, voice mail and unified messaging

Pay-as-you-go pricing options which provide predictability and flexibility for all or part of an organisation

Single sign on – running in the system tray of each user’s machine, storing their password to avoid constant sign in

Microsoft Office 365 for education

Microsoft Office 365 for education gives schools a robust and familiar Microsoft Office desktop suite with online versions of next-generation applications and services.

Staff, and students get anywhere access to email and calendars, Office Web Apps, video and online meetings, and document-sharing. Office 365 has your favorite Microsoft Office features online and allows you to better prepare coursework, create sophisticated reports and presentations, and collaborate over the web with fellow teachers or students. Find Office 365 resources for teachers.

< Teach from virtually anywhere, and reach more students Conduct and attend online classes: share high-resolution videos, applications, and desktops, so you can be fully present without physically being there.

Minimize the learning curve and be productive right away with Microsoft Office tools you already know.

Create class and group sites to share documents and information using Microsoft SharePoint. You can work together on projects in real time, because everyone has access to the documents and information they need from virtually anywhere.

Hold office hours without being in the office. With Microsoft Lync Online, students and faculty can check presence and exchange instant messages (IMs), start or join a conference, make an online call or have a video chat.

Work online or offline via Microsoft Office desktop applications on PCs and Macs. When you’re not on campus, you can access your Inbox with Outlook Web App, view and edit assignments with Word Web App, or join an online classroom with Lync Web App. Teach software skills employers are looking for Microsoft Outlook is the world's leading business e-mail software.

Office 365 for education includes access to Office Web Apps built with the same Microsoft Office interface used by more than 500 million users worldwide.

While students are communicating with peers, writing reports, analyzing data, and preparing presentations, they are also mastering the tools that can give them a competitive edge as they enter the job market.

Provide enterprise-class tools, and help reduce costs Provide a hosted Microsoft Exchange solution at no cost with 25-gigabyte Inbox per person.

Help keep teacher and student data private, and promote online safety.

Provide students with free, online storage on Microsoft SkyDrive.