Getting started with Office 365

In our recent post on Which version of Microsoft Office should I use? we gave a high level overview of the difference between Office 2013 (the version of Office on the HWU staff and student desktop) and Office 365 (Microsoft’s cloud based collaboration tool that all staff and students also have access to).

We expect most staff and students will prefer to use the full/desktop versions of Office when working on the HW desktop or personal devices and Office 365 when working from devices that don’t have the full version of Office installed.

This post should help you get started using Office 365.

Logging in to Office 365

You can open Office 365 in several ways – but I’d suggest the following: –

  1. Go to
  2. Click Sign in
  3. Enter your HW
  4. Enter your password (the same one that you use for the HW desktop, Vision, iHR etc)

Once logged in you are presented with the Home page.


As you explore Office 365, you can return to the Home page at any time by clicking Office 365 at the top of the screen – next to the App Launcher.


Get your free copies of Microsoft Officeinstalls

If you want to install your free personal copy (or copies) of Microsoft Office, you can do so from the Office 365 Home page.

  1. Click Install Office 2016 – or Other installs if you prefer to install Office 2013
  2. Follow the prompts

HWU staff and students can install Office on 5 devices across Windows and Mac platforms and 5 mobile devices – so up to 10 personal devices in total!

Online Apps

The number of online apps available is currently 15.  The apps you get vary depending on the license purchased – so you may have friends and colleagues in other organisations that get more or fewer apps in their version of Office 365.

Microsoft are continually developing and updating Office 365 – and new apps can appear, disappear or change without warning!  So if the behavior of something changes – or something appears, disappears, changes it’s appearance or moves – it might not have anything to do with anyone at Heriot Watt.

The online apps can be grouped as follows: –

  • Mail, Calendar, People and Tasks – very similar to what you get in your desktop version of Outlook, so you’ll feel comfortable with these right away
  • The online Office apps – Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote – again, very similar to the desktop versions, perhaps lacking the odd feature, but with easier file sharing and collaboration options
  • OneDrive for Business – your 1Tb of cloud storage.  Files created using the online apps will be stored here, and you can upload files to this area. See the OneDrive post for more info.
  • Other apps that may be new to you e.g. Delve, Yammer, Sway etc.  Other apps sometimes just appear when Microsoft release them as the application suite develops – and you may find some more useful than others.

You can get an overview of some of the newer apps online

Office Training Center

You can learn about Office 365 and the apps at the Office Training Center

Click the links in the Office Training Center to access online resources to help you learn about the app of your choice.


There may be apps in the Office Training Center that you don’t have access to if they aren’t included in our license agreement.

If you want to learn about Sway, you can just start it up and work through the tutorial or go to the Sway tutorials

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