Plan your setup of Office 365

There are a few things you need to decide, and info you need to have on hand, before you move your business to Office 365.

  • If you have fewer than 50 employees:

    • Call Office 365 for Business Support with your questions. We're here to help!

    • Consider hiring a Microsoft partner. If you're short on time, or have advanced requirements (like moving thousands of files to Office 365 cloud storage or integrating with other software), an experienced partner can be a big help.

  • If you have more than 50 employees, the FastTrack Onboarding Center is available to help you with your deployment.

Each person in your business can install the Office 2016 suite of apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and so on) on up to 5 PCs and Macs. See the operating system and computer requirements for installing Office 2016 suites for business.

Office 365 mobile apps can be installed on iOS, Android, and Windows devices. You can find information on mobile device and browser support in System requirements for Office.

If you're planning to move from an existing email provider to Office 365, it usually takes 2 days to make the switch.

Plan for email downtime

If you're going to use Office 365 for your email:

  • To move your business email address (such as from another email service to Office 365, you need to direct your mail to be delivered to your new Office 365 mailbox. You do this using the Office 365 setup wizard, where we guide you through the updates you need to make at your domain host, step by step.

  • After you update your domain host, the changes typically take effect in just an hour or two. But be aware that it can sometimes take up to 72 hours for the changes update across the Internet.

  • Because you might have email downtime, we recommend you plan to switch to Office 365 email during an evening or weekend when you receive fewer emails.

Plan to move your existing email, contacts, and calendar

If you're going to use Office 365 for your email account, you can bring your existing email, contacts, and calendar with you. The Office 365 setup wizard helps you move your existing email and contacts for most scenarios. We also have step-by-step guides to move one or many mailboxes.

How many mailboxes?


Just a few

If you don't want to use the setup wizard to migrate the mailboxes, you can let mailbox owners migrate their own email and contacts. See Migrate email and contacts to Office 365 for business.


If you are migrating from Gmail, see Migrate Google Apps mailboxes to Office 365.

If you are migrating from another email provider, including Exchange, see Ways to migrate multiple email accounts to Office 365.

Office 365 provides cloud storage for individuals, small businesses, and enterprises. For guidance about what to store where, see Where you can store documents in Office 365.

You can move hundreds files to OneDrive or to an Office 365 team site. You can upload 100 files at a time. Avoid uploading files larger than 2GB, which is the maximum file size by default.

If you want to move several thousand files to Office 365 storage, review the OneDrive and team site limits. We recommend that you use a migration tool or consider hiring a partner to help you with the migration. For information about how to migrate a large number of files, see SharePoint Online and OneDrive Migration User Guide.

Do you want to integrate with your on-premises Active Directory? You can integrate your on-premises Active Directory with Office 365 by using Azure Active Directory Connect. For instructions, see Set up directory synchronization in Office 365.

Do you want to integrate Office 365 with other software? If you need to integrate Office 365 with other software in your business, we recommend you consider hiring a partner to help you with your deployment.

When you're ready to run the Office 365 setup wizard and move your domain to Office 365, here's the info you'll need to have on hand:

  1. List of people you want to add to Office 365. Even if you've already added them to Office 365, if you're updating your domain information, you need to enter their names here.

  2. How you're going to notify your employees of their Office 365 user ID and password so they can sign in. Are you going to call them with the info? Or send it to their personal email address? They won't have access to their Office 365 email, so you can't use that.

  3. If you have a domain name for your business (such as and you plan on using Office 365 email, you'll need to know where your domain is registered and have sign-on information. See this list of info to collect for domains setup.

See Also

Set up Office 365 for business

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