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Office 365 vs. Google apps

Office 365 vs. Google apps

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We use one of these here in the AccountingWEB office, was just interested to hear what our members have to say on it? What do you use? Have you used both? Merits and demerits? 

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By merlyn
26th May 2015 12:47

Office 365

Use Office 365 as need the desktop versions of the office suite.

Have also used google apps and it's pretty good and can be used even when offline using chrome.

 

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By 1 2
26th May 2015 13:51

Would just use Google Apps if it wasn't for us liking VT Final Accounts (which needs "proper" Excel).  VT isn't so cheap and cheerful when you add in the costs of O365 with downloadable software, so could be tempted to drift away :-/

VT - if you're reading, would be great if you could make your (Final Accounts) software compatible with Google docs.

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By pwrights
26th May 2015 14:28

Libre Office 4.4

Have you tried the above?

It's free, whereas 365 is quite expensive.Didn't care for Google drive.  Seemed a bit awkward to use.It can be set to be compatible with Microsoft Office.

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By Sherman Holter
26th May 2015 14:35

@pwrights

Do you need to be online to use Libre?

How does it compare to Excel?

 

 

 

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Scalloway Castle
By scalloway
26th May 2015 16:44

Libre Office can be downloaded from libreoffice.org. It is theoretically compatible with MS Office (Excel, Word etc) but I find formatting doesn't always transfer properly between the two.

 

I use Google apps on my phone and Google Drive on my pc for project that I work on away from the office.

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By pwrights
26th May 2015 21:03

Make LibreOffice files compatible with Microsoft Office

It is perfectly compatible if you speak to it nicely;-

ie

Click 'tools'

'options'

then click the '+' beside the load/save in the left hand panel

Click 'general' and, in the document type drop down menu, choose the document type you want to change the default format to ( eg Text document for Writer document ; )

Next click 'always save as'

select 'Microsoft Word Template' then save.

Repeat for all LibreOffice files you want to save as Microsoft ones.

 

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John Stokdyk, AccountingWEB head of insight
By John Stokdyk
28th May 2015 10:04

Related thread about Windows 7 & 8

The next post after this one is from Sherman Holter who is facing a dilemma after buying a new PC. He is looking for advice about whether to stick with Excel and Word 2010, or whether to move to Office 365.

It's obviously a live issue at the moment, so all advice is greatly welcomed.

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By Charlie Carne
28th May 2015 11:12

Office 365

I'm a big fan of Office 365. Most of us are used to Word and Excel, so the Google versions of those are a bit of a let-down in comparison. I don't see how cost is a major issue, as it's only £7.80 pm for the full product (and cheaper for a sub-set of features).

Google Docs was not much cheaper last time I looked, except for the free version. And, seriously, do you want to build your business on the basic features offered by free software? Take a look at my post at https://www.accountingweb.co.uk/anyanswers/question/anyone-using-office3... to see the breakdown of Office 365 features and costing. 

I switched to O365 a few months ago and would not switch back.

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By paulwakefield1
28th May 2015 12:06

LibreOffice Calc

I find that the compatibility with Excel is limited to a restricted set of features only. Not a problem if you are not exchanging files with Excel users but, if you have to load other than the simplest files from Excel on a regular basis, I think you will spend a lot of time trying to get them to work and will probably rapidly lose the benefit of LibreOffice being free.

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By kjevans
06th Jun 2015 11:04

Why Cloud/Online?

If you don't need hosted Exchange there's no reason to buy O365. It's often cheaper, unless you upgrade very often, to buy Office via volume licensing (not retail - min purchase 5 items which don't have to be the same) - not as good for cash flow but often cheaper over a few years - and you  don't get forced into "upgrades" you don't want. In the same vein, Libreoffice is free. If you need online storage, you can get MS OneDrive or Dropbox or many others for nothing. Or you can have complete control of your own data quite cheaply with an onsite NAS, many of which include not only terabytes of storage, but online access and VPN and backup - all under your control.

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Replying to paul.benny:
Steve Edwards
By stevo5678
08th Jun 2015 10:13

I'm not an IT expert but better than the average joe (from experience) and found that setting up a local outlook with my own domain was so much hassle and I didn't have any IT support. Move to O365 as a trial and sorted it without fuss. Also from what I can see having more than one user will make it even more hassle.

The other issue I had as there are two of us was compatability issues so it was easier to have the same versions of the microsoft office suite across all laptops.

The other big pull was the 1tb of online storage per user but have found onedrive far more painful than dropbox and stopped using so that is a let down.

I've certainly cut back with my time messing around having O365 and that is more value than the cost difference.

 

 

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Steve Edwards
By stevo5678
06th Jun 2015 12:48

O365 for email management and up to date suite but the cloud storage is shocking, not a patch on dropbox as it has too much restrictions and encryption causing all sorts of syncing issues.

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By kjevans
06th Jun 2015 16:44

O365 email management

Hosted Exchange isn't the best or most intuitive (forced archiving and deletion options with silly names, for example - forced decluttering coming to you this month) and certainly not the cheapest- Rackspace mail is generally cheaper and just as good.

Many providers offer products like Smartermail that do everything you could want - as part of your webhosting price - aliases, Outlook compatibility (or own Outlook-like client), IMAP that works, webmail, aliases, shared mailboxes, rules, mailing lists etc.

Or you can buy a NAS from a vendor that supports Zarafa, for example and run your own.

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By mumpin
06th Jun 2015 18:47

O365 - bit of a rip-off...

I bought O365 small business premium (including Exchange) after reading Charlie gush about it.

I'm a bit disappointed. The Exchange part really took some setting up. Assuming you have a website and a domain you need to go onto your hoster's site and enter great strings of code. When you've got the whole thing up and running it is pretty good - I'm running Outlook on Office PC, Laptop and Home PC and it syncs all 3 machines. Synchs inbox and outbox and even drafts so you can start to compose an email on the laptop and complete on the Office PC. But here's the rub - if you want to introduce another email address then MS calls this another user and makes you pay another annual subscription. I can't be alone in having three different emails all in use by different clients. So, unless I pay MS for three subscriptions, I'm still not going to have all my emails in one place.

Another gripe is that O365 even loaded on your PC is very laggy. Internet threads link this to Add-ins but if you're a VT user then you're always going to have them.

Should've stuck with Office 2003 and given Gmail for business a go.

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Replying to Cloudcounter:
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By kjevans
07th Jun 2015 13:48

Extra email addresses

An Exchange email address isn't a user. Like I said, hosted Exchange is not intuitive! If more than one person is going to use the email address it's a shared mailbox (which doesn't need a separate licence, see https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/jj966275%28v=exchg.150%29.aspx). If only one person will use it, it's (probably) a proxy or secondary SMTP address See https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/bb123794(v=exchg.150).aspx Also doesn't need an extra licence. You only need licences for actual logins (combination of username and password).

The emai sync is nothing to do with O365 per se; it is a feature of Exchange/Outlook. Or of IMAP, so any ISP account that supports IMAP will do do the same thing. As will on premises Exchange (eg SBS 2011) with Outlook or any other on premises solution that supports IMAP.

 

 

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Out of my mind
By runningmate
07th Jun 2015 14:31

Setting up O365

I have to say I actually paid an external IT guy to help set up my usage of O365 so that I got what I wanted out of it in terms of email accounts, working collaboratively with someone 50 miles away, & allowing third parties to access certain files / folders of mine but not others.

I do have copies of Word Excel etc on my own hard drive (which came as part of the O365 'package') & so I do not rely on having an internet connection to use those.  I don't use VT so cannot comment on that.

I do also use Windows 8.1 professional 64 bit so I have bitlocker running as well as fingerprint technology to login to my PC, but these don't seem to slow anything down.

RM

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By Charlie Carne
07th Jun 2015 19:05

To clarify for @mumpin

Exchange

You're right that it needs a little work to get Exchange fully set up, but that's because Exchange offers a great deal of functionality that POP (and even most basic IMAP) systems don't. Your domain host should be able to set up the DNS records for you very easily and the Exchange setup has a page that provides all of the details that you need to give your host, in order that they can do this for you. As kjevans has pointed out, you do not need another subscription for further email addresses if these addresses are to be used as aliases or forwarding addresses. You only pay for each mailbox (which is not the same as an address: a mailbox is the separate location into which mail is delivered and which is managed by a single user).

Log into the O365 web portal as the administrative user and click "Exchange" under "ADMIN" in the left-hand menu, which brings up the "Exchange admin centre" (EAC). Under the "recipients" heading are:

Mailboxes - each of which is a paid-for account, with its own user loginGroups - these are additional, free addresses at the same domain that you can create that will forward inbound email to multiple (or a single) mailboxes or contactsContacts - these are names and email addresses of third parties (i.e. people whose email address is not on this domain)

Let's take a simple example where you have two people, called Adam and Ben, working for ABC Ltd, each of whom needs a mailbox which they will manage. (NB as well as a mailbox, each user has a calendar, a contact list and tasks). You therefore set up two O365 accounts: [email protected] and [email protected]. Each of these need paying for at £3.10 pm. These two addresses will be set up under "recipients" as a "mailbox". If you also want the email address [email protected] to be received by Adam, then you can set up a group called "[email protected]", whose sole member is the mailbox called Adam ([email protected]). If you want [email protected] to be received by both Adam and Ben, then set up a group called "[email protected]", which has two members: these two members are the mailboxes called [email protected] and [email protected].

Let's say that ABC Ltd also uses an external bookkeeper called Chris, who already has a mail account at Gmail ([email protected]); then you can set up a "Contact" in the EAC called Chris, with the email address [email protected]. You can then set up a Group in the EAC called "[email protected]" and its sole member can be the contact "[email protected]" (or you can add Adam and/or Ben as members to the [email protected] group if you wish). You have only paid for Adam and Ben's accounts. The additional addresses at [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected] are all free. And once you have set up these additional groups, you can also send outbound email from those addresses: how you set that up requires a little more work, but there are plenty of advisers who can help you, or Microsoft will help you if you buy O365 directly from them. If you, mumpin, are the only user at your domain, then you only need to pay for one account and you can set up the three addresses that each client uses as separate groups, with you as the only member (or set the three addresses as aliases of a single mailbox).

By the way, you could simply set up other addresses as additional addresses in the "email addresses" tab of the Mailbox, instead of as groups. This would also allow Adam's mailbox to receive mail sent to [email protected] and [email protected], but they would both arrive showing the recipient address as [email protected] If [email protected] is a group name, then it would arrive showing the name "[email protected]" and you could thus distinguish inbound email by whom it was addressed to. It's strange that an alias of a single mailbox shows all inbound mail as though it was addressed to the default name of the mailbox, but using Groups allows you to receive mail showing the specific address that the sender used.

Desktop software

The other issue that mumpin raised was "that O365 even loaded on your PC is very laggy". This is incorrect. The part of O365 that gives you a license to Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook etc. is simply a different way of paying for those products. Whether you buy the DVD for Excel or download Excel as part of O365, the product is essentially the same*, as you install the full version of Excel (as well as Word, Outlook, PP etc.) on your PC. It cannot, therefore, be any more "laggy" whether you install Excel via O365 or from a DVD. You may as well say that Excel runs more slowly when you buy it from PC World than when you buy it from Amazon! Other than the power tools in my comment below, they are the same product and both are fully installed on your local PC. What may have confused mumpin is that O365 also offers a version of the Office desktop software (Word, Excel, PP, Outlook) that can be used via a web browser from any computer connected to the internet. This may run more slowly, but that's not a comparison between the Excel DVD and Excel via O365; it's a comparison between the installed version of Excel provided by O365 and the web version of Excel provided by O365. Consequently, Office 2003 will not run faster than Office 2013 provided as part of your O365 license.

*there are a few complex features in the stand-alone version of Excel missing from the O365 version, such as Power Query and Power Pivot, but most users won't need those (you'll already know what those tools are if you need them so, if you don’t know what I mean, it's extremely unlikely that you would need them).

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By mumpin
07th Jun 2015 21:30

Thanks...

...kjevans, RM and Charlie for the advice.

That's pretty much how I understood Exchange works. My issue was that I installed Exchange and had 3 live email addresses, Lets say:

[email protected], [email protected] and [email protected]. Now, given that the product is called "Exchange" I assumed it would collate any number of incoming email addresses. But I don't think it does. I've set up my mailbox for [email protected], but the other two email addresses remain a problem which I have been told I could solve by buying two additional subscriptions (but am reluctant to). Would you agree?

Regarding the lag, I do understand the difference between the online versions of the programs and desktop installed versions. I have installed desktop versions on three PC's. My dissatisfaction may be because I jumped from Office 2003 to 2013. The thing that seems to slow down my Excel productivity especially is that previously I opened Excel and then had say 10 different workbooks open within it, each of them a file called ????.xls. Now each of the 10 files opens its own self-sufficient Excel. Each opening takes maybe 7 to 10 seconds (and I suspect this is because it is checking my MS licence!).

Another step backwards is having to use a browser type back button to access the print commands which previously were above the workbook. Can this feature be turned off?

Is my understanding of any of the above incorrect?

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By Charlie Carne
07th Jun 2015 22:55

Help for mumpin

Exchange

You seem to be confusing a mailbox and an email address. An email address is simply a routing instruction that instructs the incoming email where to be delivered. Once it has been delivered to the mailbox, that's where it remains until your email program picks it up. If bodgers.com is your own domain and you arrange to have that controlled by O365, then all of my comments in my earlier post apply to any email address @bodgers.com. If you also have POP3 mailboxes at blueyonder.co.uk and yahoo.com, then that has absolutely nothing to do with O365. Blueyonder or Yahoo may offer a service that forwards mail that they have received, which would be by far the easiest solution. However, you can set up Outlook with two additional POP accounts to collect mail from Blueyonder and Yahoo. Once mail from those servers is in Outlook, you can easily move the mail into the folder which synchronises with your Exchange email and it will then sync back to the Exchange server. Alternatively, I believe that there are tools that will enable Exchange to collect mail directly from external POP3 mailboxes - see here. Buying two additional subscriptions will not help you get the mail from Blueyonder and Yahoo to Exchange, so the advice you were given is nonsense. If you can get mail from there to Exchange, your existing mailbox will do fine.

However, if you want all your mail to be in one mailbox (at Exchange), why not simply create three addresses (as explained in my earlier post above) at bodgers.com and let your clients use those instead of the Blueyonder and Yahoo addresses. And, as explained above, the two new addresses at bodgers.com can be set as Groups and are thus free. You can set a rule in Exchange that will put inbound mail from each address into a separate folder, so you can clearly identify them if you wish. The only reason to maintain the other addresses at third party domains is if you want that email to be collected in a separate mailbox, which you appear not to want.

Desktop software

If you already have bought a perpetual license for Office software (eg Office 2003) and have no desire to upgrade the desktop software to a later version, then why would you buy O365 Business or O365 Business Premium as they include the desktop software licenses? If you only want Exchange, then buy O365 Business Essentials at £3.10 pm (this version excludes the desktop software licenses). I'm not a software engineer, so I don’t know whether the Excel 2003 method of putting all open spreadsheets in the same window uses any less resource than the Excel 2013 version of opening each in its own window, but I'd be surprised if it did. I recently went from Office 2003 to 2013 and I found it much better, and certainly no slower. As for accessing the print commands, you can customise the Quick Access Toolbar to include whatever icons you wish (including all of the print options), which will then appear above the workbook, as before.

By the way, if you find this or my advice above (as well as that from kjevans and RM) helpful, then please click the "thanks" links against each useful post, so that other readers can see what is worth reading.

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By paulwakefield1
08th Jun 2015 08:11

I am just about to go out

but will do some speed tests later (I have various versions of Excel on my computer). But a few initial thoughts:

Excel 2013 should not open a new instance of Excel with each file. It does open additional windows which are actually a great improvement. If it is opening new instances then that will be slow and will eat up RAM at a scary rate.

I have come across instances where opening a .xls file in XL 2010 and 2013 across a network can be very slow whereas .xlsx files open very quickly (and it is not just because of the different file sizes).

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Replying to Tamara habberley:
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By kjevans
08th Jun 2015 13:36

xls across network slow

That's because of the (broken) Office file validation. Turn it off in the registry and your xls will open as fast your xlsx. Search web for turn off office file validation.

Excel 2013 seems to have lost a few useful features compared with 2010 and, on personal tests, is slower than 2003, but that's what we have to put up with.

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By JC
08th Jun 2015 08:13

So many Cloud naysayers …

It is interesting that so many Cloud doubters are actually quite prepared to use these products – especially when everyone must by now be aware that Google uses every opportunity to harvest data for advertising purposes (from Gmail etc.)

Also do you have any idea of the document security involved with these products and if there were any questions about about client data being compromised – would you know the answer

The general principle of 'nowt for nowt' exists - and the trade-off for using free products is that the provider monetises your data!

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By KevSteel
08th Jun 2015 11:19

Used both

Worked in a practice that was fully Google Apps and many others which were O365 based.

O365 is better for accountants hands down.

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AS
By AS
08th Jun 2015 12:03

OneDrive

Please note that OneDrive from Microsoft is a brilliant product like Dropbox. The OneDrive that you get with Office 365 Business subscriptions is not the same. It is called OneDrive for Business and is a completely different product. It is adequate for my use but Dropbox is better. I understand Microsoft is in the process of completely overhauling OneDrive for Business o hopefully it will become much better product.

Office 365 is actually made up of 3 products:

1.  Office software. If you do not need to upgrade regularly, then you are better off buying a one off licence instead of going on to a subscription model.

2.  OneDrive. Office 365 subscription becomes better value if you are going to use the cloud storage facility. If you are already using Dropbox, Box, etc. happily then you do not need OneDrive.

3.  Exchange email. This can be purchased without a full Office 365 subscription. I would recommend this for anyone that is not already running their own Exchange server or similar.

Therefore, in my opinion, Office 365 is very good value if you want to have the latest versions of the software and are making use of the OneDrive cloud storage.

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Replying to tom123:
Stewie
By Stewie Griffin
08th Jun 2015 13:41

One Drive file restrictions

AS wrote:

Please note that OneDrive from Microsoft is a brilliant product like Dropbox. The OneDrive that you get with Office 365 Business subscriptions is not the same. It is called OneDrive for Business and is a completely different product. It is adequate for my use but Dropbox is better. I understand Microsoft is in the process of completely overhauling OneDrive for Business o hopefully it will become much better product

 

The only problem with OneDrive is that you can only upload a maximum of 20,000 files.  Sounds a lot, but I only got to our clients beginning with B before I ran out of file allowance.  Still had most of the storage space left though, which was very frustrating

Currently looking at Google Drive

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Replying to Truthsayer:
AS
By AS
08th Jun 2015 17:30

OneDrive file limit

Stewie Griffin wrote:

AS wrote:

Please note that OneDrive from Microsoft is a brilliant product like Dropbox. The OneDrive that you get with Office 365 Business subscriptions is not the same. It is called OneDrive for Business and is a completely different product. It is adequate for my use but Dropbox is better. I understand Microsoft is in the process of completely overhauling OneDrive for Business o hopefully it will become much better product

 

The only problem with OneDrive is that you can only upload a maximum of 20,000 files.  Sounds a lot, but I only got to our clients beginning with B before I ran out of file allowance.  Still had most of the storage space left though, which was very frustrating

Currently looking at Google Drive

 

Thanks. I did not know about the limit of 20,000 files.

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By paulwakefield1
08th Jun 2015 15:20

@kjevans

Thanks for the tip re Office file validation. It is only a problem at one particular client and I will follow that up next time I am down there.

Re Excel 2013 - I am interested about the missing features (apart from the fact that it looks flat and boring compared with XL2010 :-) ). Do you have a list as it is always useful to have a reference in case it is relevant in a particular circumstance? I know that Save a Workspace is no longer there but I personally never used it anyway.

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Replying to Cheshire:
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By kjevans
09th Jun 2015 13:48

@paul wakefield - Excel 2013

Search the web for "Discontinued features and changed functionality in Excel 2013" - the URL at support.office.com is very long. Might not annoy you at all, but not having split bars is a pain, as is having to change the entire chart type if you want a line laid over a column chart (instead of just adding the data and formatting as line). No Save as Workspace. No Exit command is weird. But it's not a bad as Word.

 

 

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By paulwakefield1
08th Jun 2015 16:32

Speed tests

As promised I have just conducted some speed tests for loading files into Excel 2003, 2010 and 2013. This is not completely scientific but should be a good indication of what the real world experience should be.

The computer is 5 years old and was medium spec at the time. 8Gb memory and running Windows 7.1 Professional 64 bit.

Each version was tested without any add-ins loaded and with no other versions running at the same time. Each file was tested twice (but not consecutively i.e. one or more different files would be loaded between each test of a file). Timings are to the nearest second (Instant is <1 second).

4 file sizes were tested. These were all .xls files. They were then saved as .xlsx files (or .xlsm where they contained vba). The .xlsx files were not tested in Excel 2003.

Results are below. The load speeds for each of the two tests on a file were to all intents and purposes identical in all cases.

The five measurements below are for 2003, 2010 .xls, 2010 .xlsx, 2013 .xls and 2013.xlsx respectively.

30k file: Instant, Instant, Instant, 1s, Instant

285k file: Instant, Instant, Instant, 1s, 1s

3Mb file: 3s, 3s, 3s, 3s, 3s

32Mb file: 8s, 5s, 7s, 6s, 8s

There is not a huge difference between any of them. Excel 2003 is marginally faster on small files, Excel 2010 is probably the fastest on bigger files. But if you're getting seriously different load speeds on the same machine, it would seem that something is not right.

 

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Steve Edwards
By stevo5678
08th Jun 2015 17:22

@ AS - I know it's one drive for business, whatever you wish to call it (actually it is also heavily reliant on sharepoint to get all the features!), it is no where near as flexible and intuitive as dropbox. I can say this from experience. It's not actually that different of product either (from personal one drive) as I've used both...

I used dropbox to sync all my local files daily for months and had no issues. Moved to one drive (for business) and spent hours speaking to the tech help line who could not even solve my issue. Then it would work, then it would stop. Then it decided not to sync my PDF docs and so on.

Back to the world of drop and no issues at all...

Onedrive (for business) does not like deep file storage patterns (vertical) as it likes them wide with very few sub folders. That's just not living in the real world to expect the end user to conform to your technical restrictions, especially since dropbox has no issues with this.

Such a shame to see 1TB go to waste. I'm now using it as an archive folder for back ups etc.

@ charliecarne - I never realised you can set up additional email addresses within O365 without paying for extra licences as I have two users and two subscriptions. my email address starts off as info but I would really like one with [email protected] so this may be an option. However not being able to easily send from [email protected] if I set up a group (and make info a member) is going to be an issue. I hope it's not hard to get around.

 

 

 

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Steve Edwards
By stevo5678
08th Jun 2015 17:46

@charliecarne - no problem I've sorted the additional email address. I found it easier to do this as a shared email address (just created a new one).

Shared mailbox

 

 

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By merlyn
08th Jun 2015 18:00

Email addresses

Using Exchange you can assign an email address to a mailbox, group or public folder.

Any of the above can have multiple addresses (aka aliases) and you only pay a licence fee based on the number of actual mailboxes you have, so you can have 2 mailboxes and a million email addresses but only pay for 2 licences.

You can also setup the system to have a sales email group with [email protected] assigned to it and then anyone in the group will get a copy of any emails sent in, they can also reply from [email protected] rather than their normal address.

Any emails sent though will go into the users sent items so a public folder may be a better option and then have a rule on all mailboxes which copy any emails sent from [email protected] into the folder so all users can see whats been replied to.

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By paulwakefield1
09th Jun 2015 14:12

Many thanks for the link

I agree about the chart changes. I actually rather like the new split facility for some reason the old one used to bug me for reasons I could never put my finger on. I hadn't noticed that Exit had gone. :-) I suppose the changes do make it more necessary to tailor the QAT.

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