With Microsoft Office 365, you need to know there are annual costs involved because it’s a subscription to a cloud-based suite of productivity web apps. Think of it as a blend of “old meets new.” Choosing not to renew your Microsoft Office 365 license means you won’t be able to edit your documents, spreadsheets, etc. (You can still view them in “read-only” mode, however) If you have Office 365, or you’re planning on buying it, I’m going to offer some tips to you today on how to minimize headaches.
First things first
After you buy Office 365, to help prevent confusion about your Office 365 expiration date, go to commerce.microsoft.com, log in with your Outlook, SkyDrive, Live, Hotmail or any Microsoft account, then click on subscriptions (or purchases). Confirm that the subscription end date (and all free bonus gigabytes, if any) is correct, then write it down somewhere safe. If you’re doing a free 30-day trial, it should say that. If you entered a special extended promo code, the data should show you that. If you see wrong data, take a deep breath and prepare for battle. I’ll get to that in a moment. If you’re not seeing wrong data, great. Here’s more advice for you: Going to skydrive.live.com can also provide you with buttons to help manage your subscription to Office 365 Home Premium. Because I personally found it more helpful, I prefer it slightly over commerce.microsoft.com but both are good. Ironically, the site that provided the least help was Office.com, but it’s not completely worthless. In fact, it’s probably the best place to renew your paid subscription – but I can’t say for sure because that’s a situation I haven’t found myself in because I received special permission from Microsoft to use Office 365 for free for one full year via a promo code they gave. Before I digress too much, I’ll restate my opinion that the most helpful site in terms of subscription management in my personal experience, especially after the free trial period, was skydrive.live.com. During your 30-day trial period, perhaps try Office.com (Actually, just visit all 3 and go with your instinct as to which one you feel is best. You can log into all 3 with any Microsoft login and password.) The SkyDrive app in Windows 8 (tile UI) normally does not provide subscription management buttons from what I remember, so do yourself a favor, skip the tile UI of SkyDrive. Just use the web by going to skydrive.live.com – either on IE or Chrome or whatever browser you prefer. Why frustrate yourself? Just stick to what works.
Seeing wrong data? Then you’ve got more steps to take
If you are seeing wrong data, of course you can always seek help from Microsoft directly using their toll-free number or their online customer chat. If you have persistent technical problems with Office 365, I hate to say it, but it’s best to open a support ticket with the Windows team, even if your issue isn’t a Windows issue per se. You might be wondering if I’m crazy and why on Earth I’d give this advice. Well, here are my true feelings on that: Other departments within Microsoft such as the Office.com team generally are reluctant to open a support ticket for you, even if the issue is strongly tied to their product or service such as Office 365. It’s unfortunate but perhaps this is because Office 365 is a new service; so this pattern of “no help” might change, or it might stay the same. It’s hard to know what really goes on inside Microsoft’s internal culture. If you’re told by the Windows team that your Office 365 issue is not a Windows issue, explain that nobody from Office 365 or elsewhere was willing to open a ticket for you (And when you state this, make sure it’s all true, don’t just make stuff up), then beg them to open a support ticket for you. My other laptop came with Windows 8 preinstalled and included an Office 2010 bundle, so I think my system got very very confused. Poor laptop. LOL. I remember the words of my former co-worker Jim who said computers aren’t very smart – Just a bunch of 1’s and 0’s. Ultimately I got a Windows support ticket opened for me. The techs remotely accessed my computer while I watched. This was all done via LogMeIn (the site is: www.support.me) and in real time I saw them fix the “renewal” issue. The tech used skydrive.live.com. My “expiration date” problem was the biggest fish on my ticket due to the special promo code (the other part of my ticket was the bonus free SkyDrive gigabytes didn’t activate, but the support guy fixed that too), and everything got resolved in less than 3 days by the Windows support techs. A big thank you to the Windows troubleshooting techs. So hopefully you won’t need to go through this kind of headache but if you do, at least now you’ll have some info to help you. I found an article by Cindy Grigg and it’s worth bookmarking. It has a useful article on everything current (and confusing) about Microsoft Office http://office.about.com/od/Office365/a/Office-365-And-Office-2013-What-S-The-Difference.htm