January 6, 2013 | Back to: Local News

Tech tips: Email access in Office 365

QUESTION: My office is switching to Microsoft’s Office 365 for email service and other features and I can’t get used to the new user interface — I’m used to working in Outlook, and now they want me to use a browser to retrieve my email. What’s the benefit of this new-fangled stuff?

ANSWER: Office 365 is Microsoft’s foray into web-based productivity tools, including a web-based interface for word processing, spreadsheet management, communications and online meetings.

It’s an amazingly nice product, and provides a lot of functionality for a very reasonable price. Although you do need to use a browser to take advantage of many of its features, let’s be clear: You can definitely continue to use Outlook to interact with your Office 365 email, and don’t take the word of anyone who advises you otherwise.

Of course, the ability to access your email using a browser is helpful. If you’re away from your normal computer, you can log into Office 365 mail from any browser on any computer.

In addition, Office 365 offers web-based access to products that work like Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote, as well as full access to SharePoint and other Microsoft server products.

One of our favorite features is the support Office 365 adds for collaborative online meetings, including shared desktops for presentations and training, white boards for collaborative meetings, and visual and vocal online communications.

Office 365 also allows you to license the Microsoft Office products on a monthly basis.

Using this service, you don’t have to purchase Office products, and you’re guaranteed access to the latest release.

If you want to use Outlook to access your Office 365 email, follow the instructions Microsoft provides online at http://goo.gl/CoaSD.

Visit the Microsoft Office 365 website at http://goo.gl/FkoXe and sign up for a free trial of Office 365.

Although you may feel some trepidation at moving to a new system, Office 365 really is a strong product that includes excellent email, website, document sharing and meeting presentation software.

Extra charges on AT&T bill

Marge: I recently noticed a monthly $10 fee on my AT&T phone bill. I think I’ve been paying this forever. What is it and how can I get rid of it?

ANSWER: There actually is no Marge. Ken made the question up: he heard the story recently on the radio about people who had been leasing their phones from AT&T inadvertently for the past 30 years, because once upon a time, that was the only way to have a phone in your home.

Yes, it’s hard to believe for you young folks, but at one point, you could only get a phone by leasing it from the phone company.

In the 1970s, the rules changed and anyone could purchase a land-line phone of their choosing from any vendor.

I clearly remember purchasing my first phone that didn’t come from AT&T. It was a big deal.

Yes, it was a big deal, but unbelievably, a lot of people never did that, and continue to pay AT&T fees of $10 or more per month, month after month, to cover their rental.

If you find an undisclosed fee on your bill that you don’t understand, make sure and ask the phone company about it.

If it is a rental fee, get rid of that phone and purchase a phone for yourself.

They can be had for not much money — certainly less than the yearly leasing fee. Be done with those monthly fees on your phone bill.

This issue only applies to land lines, and many people no longer even have a land line. If you do, take a moment and check for the fee. You don’t want to be like Marge.

Doug Behl and Ken Getz spent years answering technical questions in private, and are minimizing the questions by pre-emptively publishing the answers. Hear Doug and Ken’s tech tips on KNCO radio weekdays at around 8:21 a.m. and 5:38 p.m.. For more, visit http://blog.techtipguys.com. Submit your own technical questions to questions@techtipguys.com.

Doug Behl and Ken Getz

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The Union Updated Jan 6, 2013 10:25PM Published Jan 9, 2013 07:05AM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.