Set up your organization for Office 365 Enterprise

As the admin for your organization, you’ve signed up for Office 365 Enterprise. You’ve signed in to your Office 365 account, and explored the Office 365 admin center.

Now what? 

As the admin, there are a few important setup tasks you need to do before the people in your organization can use Office 365. This guide leads you through those tasks. The goal is to help you get your organization up and running quickly. For more information on setting up Office 365, see the Office 365 Deployment Center.

Let’s get started.

Watch: Introducing Office 365 Enterprise

Note SkyDrive is now OneDrive, and SkyDrive Pro is now OneDrive for Business. Read more about this change at From SkyDrive to OneDrive.

 Note    Office Online was formerly known as Office Web Apps.

Step 1: Add your domain

Watch the video (4:48)

You probably want your email addresses to use the name of your organization like or These are examples of custom domains. Most organizations want a custom domain.

  1. Decide if you want your email to use your custom domain:
  • For a custom domain, you’ll need a registered domain name. If you don’t already own one, learn how to buy one.
  • If you don’t want to use a custom domain, you can continue to use the domain you created when you signed up for Office 365; for example,
  1. Set up your custom domain. We’ll show you how to get it working with Office 365.

Step 2: Add users and set up email

You can create users directly in the Office 365 admin portal, or you can add them in bulk with a .csv file.

Watch the demo (2:54)

Office 365 comes with Exchange Online (which provides your email, calendar, contacts, and more) and Outlook Web App (which you can use to read all that information).

  1. Create user accounts.    There are two ways to create users:

After you add users to your organization, you can then assign admin roles and change the services that are available to each user by managing licenses.

  1. Set up email.    When you license a user account for Exchange Online, a mailbox is automatically created for that user in the cloud. For more information, see Manage Exchange Online.

Step 3: Set up SharePoint Online and Lync Online

SharePoint Online includes team sites. One SharePoint Online site has already been created for your organization, and you can create additional sites as needed for specific teams and projects. A team site provides a central place to access your organization’s documents and business information from almost anywhere.

You’ll need to give people permission to access team sites. Once you set up the sites and assign owners, each team site owner can customize their sites with shared lists, calendars, pages, a site mailbox for storing team or project email, and more. For more information, see Get started with SharePoint and Plan for using site mailboxes in Office 365.

In addition to team sites for groups and projects, each person in your organization can use OneDrive for Business to upload documents. They can then access these documents with a variety of devices, even when they’re away from the office.

With Lync Online, you can see if your coworkers are online. You can also communicate with them through instant messaging (IM), audio calls, or video calls. You can even conduct online presentations that include audio, video, screen-sharing, and a virtual whiteboard. See Set up Lync Online.

Step 4: Set up user access

Your users can access Office 365 by using a PC or Mac desktop computer, mobile phones, tablets, or web browsers.

For the best client experience, subscribe to Office 365 ProPlus. It provides access to Office applications and documents. It’s optimized to give you the best experience across all your devices—from PCs to smartphones to tablets. Office 365 ProPlus includes Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, OneNote, Access, Publisher, and Lync. To learn more, see Overview of Office 365 ProPlus.

Office 365 ProPlus can be installed on the same computer that has an earlier version of Office. See Install Office on your PC or Mac with Office 365.

Other client access methods are described in the following articles:

Step 5: Configure DNS for email delivery

 Important    If you are trying out Office 365 and you’re using a production domain to trial Office 365, do not perform this step.

Watch the demo (3:29)

When you configure DNS for email delivery, all email sent to your domain will begin going to your new Exchange Online service in the cloud. Think of this step as “throwing the switch” to send email to the cloud.

To set up email to come to Office 365, you configure a mail exchange record (MX record) where your domain’s DNS records are hosted. We provide detailed steps for adding and updating DNS records for Office 365 services for many popular domain registrars and DNS hosting providers.

If your organization has existing mailbox data on an IMAP-compliant server, consider importing the mail to the cloud before you configure your MX record. IMAP is supported by most email servers and cloud-based services. For details, see Migrate Email from an IMAP Server to Exchange Online Mailboxes.

You can import the mail data at any time. However, it’s less disruptive to users if you do so before they have started using their Office 365 accounts.

Another approach is to ask each user to move their own email and contacts to their Office 365 account after they have signed in. To learn more, see Video: Use email and more in Office 365 and Move email and contacts into a new Office 365 account.

Step 6: Inform your users

Your users are now ready to sign in and start sending and receiving email, accessing team sites, and collaborating online.

  1. Tell your organization what to expect. Send an email message to the people in your organization, telling them that they will soon be using Office 365.
  2. Send instructions to each user. All users should have a user ID and temporary password, which were sent to them by Office 365 when you created their user accounts. When you’re ready to roll out Office 365, send each person an email message that contains the information they need to get started:
  • The URL to access the Office 365 portal page:
  • The URL to access Outlook Web App directly:
  • A link to Get started with Office 365, which includes instructions for the common tasks that users need to do first
  • Information about who to contact for help (probably you)

As the admin at your organization, you’re probably the person everyone goes to for help. That will probably also be true for Office 365. If you get asked a question that you don’t know the answer to, here are resources specifically for admins like you:

Other setup tasks

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Applies to:
Office 365 Enterprise admin