Office 365 Groups - dummies

By Rosemarie Withee, Ken Withee, Jennifer Reed

You can use Office 365 Groups, or simply Groups, to quickly band together with co-workers to collaborate without the administration responsibilities that come with a SharePoint site. Groups isn’t part of SharePoint Online. It’s actually a feature in Exchange Online, but it uses SharePoint Online capabilities, such as OneDrive for Business for storing group files and the OneNote notebook.

When you create a group, you automatically get a place for a conversation, a calendar, a location to store shared files, and a OneNote notebook.

Groups can be either public or private:

  • In a public group, anyone in your Office 365 organization can participate in conversations, share files, and view the calendar.
  • In a private group, only members of the group can access conversations, files, and calendar.

To create a group, you start from Exchange Online, not SharePoint Online. Here’s how:

  1. Log on to the Office 365 portal.
  2. Click the app launcher from the Office 365 navigation bar.
  3. Click the Mail tile.
  4. From the left pane, in the Groups group, click the + sign to create a new Group (as shown).
  5. Enter the required information then click Create.
  6. Add members to your group by name and then click Add.
18_1_Groups
Creating a Group from Exchange Online.

Your Group will be created and the members will receive a welcome email.

Yammer and Groups address similar needs for a feed-like communication platform. Groups has some advantages over Yammer: a shared mailbox, calendar, and a place to share files. Groups also integrates with Planner, a visual task management tool recently added to Office 365. However, there are plans for Groups and Yammer integration in the future.