Microsoft details new Office 365 upgrade options

Microsoft details new Office 365 upgrade options

Summary: Microsoft is rolling out its promised Office 365 switching capability, allowing users to upgrade to new plans more easily and quickly.


In early July at its Worldwide Partner Conference, Microsoft announced plans to make it possible for IT users to upgrade their Office 365 plans more quickly and easily. On August 1, officials shared specifics about that capability via a post on the "Office 365 Technology" blog.


Users can switch to more feature-rich plans (but seemingly cannot back track to less-costly/powerful ones) by clicking on the Switch Plans link on the Office 365 admin center. Once admins select and purchase new plans, their users will be automatically reassigned to the plans' new subscriptions. Customers will receive credits for the unusued portions of their previous subscriptions.

Not all plans can benefit from this automatic switching, but Microsoft is commiting to expand the switching capability "in the future," according to the blog post. Also: Only those with plans covering 300 users or fewer can use the automatic switching wizard at this time.

Here's a list of the plans which are supported currently as part of the new switching option:


Before Microsoft introduced this swtiching capability, customers had to manually reassign user licenses and call Office 365 support to cancel their old subscriptions. But with the new Switch plans wizard, "many plan changes can be done without calling support or manually reassigning licenses," the Softies said.

Here's Microsoft's Frequently Asked Questions document with answers on many of the nitty-gritty Office 365 switching questions users may have.

Microsoft also announced this week the addition of a new Message Center for Office 365 admins. The Message Center is meant to inform Office 365 admins about new features and actions that require administrator action.

The Message Center is available as a new link on the left side of the admin portal. Unfortunately, at least at this time, it doesn't appear that the Message Center will shed any new light on when users who still haven't been upgraded to the latest Office 365 bits can expect to be moved....

Topics: Cloud, Collaboration, Microsoft


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • Access

    One of the things that kinda bitting us in the butt is MS Access. Typically if you open a older document, say Excel, in a newer Excel, when you saved it gave you the option of what version to save in. With Access that is not the case (at least not with 2010) as soon as you open a .mdb file with Access it starts changing that file and can make it inaccessible to older versions of Access.

    On a shared machines we deployed volume licensed Access due to the licensing restrictions with 365 on generic user machines. We plan to keep a mixed version environment. But with the deployment of Office 2013 365, you cannot "transform" the install to include/exclude aspects of the install. It updates and installs everything (as far as our understanding). This is a bit of a pain with these shared .mdb files.
    Rann Xeroxx
    • That's exactly why...

      in almost any place i worked we would not allow MS Access files on the network - different version on Access opening same file and changing it. It's desktop database, it should stay on the desktop.
      • There are ways around that

        If I need an Access database on the network I create a front end and a back end. The front end stays on the desktop and the back end stays on the network. That way if the front end gets changed or upgraded, the data on the back end stays the same and it doesn't really matter what version it is in.
        Michael Kelly
      • Buyers remorse?

        Most of our access DBs are being used on the production floor and we bought these smaller companies while they were using these DBs.
        Rann Xeroxx
    • You are incorrect

      Opening an Access file in a newer version does not change the Access file automatically. I work with Access Apps everyday that are opened in different versions with no problems. I assume what you are referring to is a Reference issue. If you open an Access App in a newer version of Office, and that App uses other MS Office libraries, then the references (links) to the other libraries are updated. This will prevent you from using it in the previous version of Office unless you manually reset the references (not hard to do).
      If you had a professionally designed application it would use late binding, eliminating this issue. So it's not Access per se, it's poorly designed Access Apps.
    • Upgrade Access 97 Databases

      The reason the upgrade prompt for your Access databases occurs is the database is in Access 97 format or earlier. If you are using Access 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2010, or 2013, it will want to upgrade it to the newer Jet 4.0 format which was introduced with Access/Office 2000, 13 years and six versions ago.

      Jet 4.0 introduced many new features that made Access/Jet databases much better than the prior Jet 3.5 version. This really shouldn't be a problem with Access databases unless you are still using Access 97. Windows ships with Jet 4.0, so it shouldn't be an issue for non-Access applications like VB6 which may use Jet/DAO to get to MDB files. This should only be an issue if you need to run Access 97 which is seven versions and 16 years old.
      FMS, Inc.

    MS again make it harder to maintain versions and backward compatibility harder than necessary.

    An Microsoft wonder WHY they are bleeding customers.

    It might be bye bye time Microsoft.
  • Work from home?

    If they don't tell you what it is that you will be doing to make $x an hour then beware!
  • Microsoft details new Office 365 upgrade options

    Move to full featured Open Office or full featured Libre Office and dunp Office 365 all the haug wash of worring about backward this or forward this.........

    Microsoft want you to keep you jumping through hoops which in the long only gives them more money and you don't get a complete full featured product.

    So don't get stuck on the 365 tread mill switch Open Office or Libre Office today and breath the fresh air today.

    End Of Story
    Over and Out
    • There is one thing I worry about

      When it comes to those two.

      How long will it be until they're dropped? Oracle had Open Office, now they don't. How long nail the next company gets tired of it as well? How long until the same happens to Libre?
      Michael Alan Goff
  • Dumped M$ office years ago

    LibreOffice (Libre == Free) or OpenOffice ( Both work great. Cross platform support. Free upgrades. No ribbon bar (still hate that stupid thing) and broad compatibility. Tell me again why I need to pay for MS Office?
    • If it works for you

      Have at it, I wish you the best.
      Michael Alan Goff