We believe every business should have a professional email address, ideally one using Office 365 or G-Suite. In additional to having your own personal, private email address, you may want to have a centralized email address that gets sent to multiple people.

Email Aliases, Shared Mailboxes, Groups and Lists

Creating multiple email accounts (when you only need one) not only wastes money on unnecessary software licenses, but it also creates “login credential” confusion.  Many business professionals aren’t aware that you can create shared mailboxes and distribution groups, and the tradeoffs of each type of setup. We aim to clear that up.

Using an Email Alias

Your primary business email may look like this:

What if you want to have different email addresses?

Do you need to pay for separate accounts and manage separate email inboxes?


An email account is one entity. You need one Office 365 license.

Just like if your name was Robert, people may call you Bob, Rob, Bobby, Robby – or even Buddy, but there’s only one you. Your nicknames are called “aliases” in the IT world. They don’t cost anything extra to setup or maintain.

email alias

Shared Mailboxes

What if you want one email to go out to multiple people, like for sales, customer service or hiring? You can choose between having a shared mailbox or having a distribution group.

With a shared mailbox, you’d setup an email address like

Just like email aliases, an Office 365 shared mailbox is FREE, but everyone with access to the shared mailbox must be an Office 365 licensed user.

  • A shared mailbox is accessed through the user’s normal Office 365 credentials, there is no separate login and password. Once logged in, the user with permissions can open the shared mailbox.
  • Incoming and outgoing messages can be read, stored and archived in the shared mailbox.
  • Shared mailboxes are lacking some of the privileges of a regular Office 365 account, like Unified Messaging and software downloads.

Benefits of a shared mailbox

  • Multiple people can monitor email activity.
  • Emails, contacts, and calendars are centralized and visible amongst the group.
  • Emails look like they are coming from the group email, rather than from the individual user.
  • The company can easily monitor and track activities.

Email Distribution Lists

A distribution list allows an email to be distributed to multiple people at once. List members can be both internal or external contacts in your organization. Unlike a shared mailbox, emails are not centrally stored and accessed. Each recipient receives their own copy of the email.

Office 365 Groups

Office 365 groups are a newer feature, created to enhance what was possible with distribution lists.

An Office 365 group:

  • Automatically has a shared calendar
  • Automatically shares documents in SharePoint
  • Integrates with Yammer, Teams, Planner, OneNote, Power BI, etc.
  • Can be restored if deleted (for up to 30 days)
  • Can be public (open to everyone in your organization) or private (restricted to a team).
  • External users can be invited as guests. Guests interact with the group exclusively via email. They can open links to shared documents, but lack other permissions, like viewing the group site.
  • Unlike a shared mailbox, users participate as individuals, sending and replying from their own email account.

How many email inboxes can you eliminate?

Simple is better. If you’ve read this and now know that you are paying for too many email accounts, we can help you archive and/or migrate the email history to consolidate into fewer accounts. We can do this for both Office 365 email accounts and G-Suite accounts.

If you’re not yet on either Office 365 or G-Suite, we can move you there!

SharePoint and OneDrive for Business

If you’re having difficulty understanding the differences between SharePoint and OneDrive for Business, you are NOT alone.

To add to the confusion:

  • OneDrive is different than OneDrive for Business. OneDrive (personal) is available for FREE to anyone by creating a Microsoft account. OneDrive for Business comes with your Office 365 Business license. In this article, we’ll only cover OneDrive for Business.
  • SharePoint on-premise is different than SharePoint on the Office 365 Cloud Platform, called SharePoint Online. In this article, SharePoint refers to the Office 365 SharePoint Online

 Office 365 Applications for File Storage and File Sharing

Both SharePoint and OneDrive are used for file storage and file sharing. When you’re prompted to save a Word or Excel document, you’ll see both choices.

OneDrive Save File








File Storage Capacity Limits


SharePoint Online Limits

1 TB per organization, plus 10 GB per license purchased

OneDrive for Business Limits

5 TB per user, which can be increased to 25 TB per user


Where Should You Save Your Document?

SharePoint Online
Enables Collaboration

SharePoint (and later SharePoint Online) were created to be collaboration portals, where companies, departments, and teams could easily and securely find and share records and resources.

SharePoint Online gives you the ability to create:

  • Team Sites
  • Intranet Sites
  • Mobile Apps

The tool puts a lot of emphasis on data security, work automation, and enforcement of data governance policies, especially around record retention and content deletion.

OneDrive for Business
Enables File Sharing

Perhaps realizing that not every business wants to have a slew of SharePoint collaboration sites, but is still interested in securely sharing file(s) with internal and external resources, Microsoft created OneDrive for Business. OneDrive allows you to put all your files in a centralized location that you can access from any device. You can easily and securely share with both internal and external users.

When you open OneDrive from the Web or Mobile application, it’s a list of files and folders, each that have their own permission levels.

SharePoint File Storage


Setting up a SharePoint Site

Setting up SharePoint site is more like designing a website. You can share much more than files. You can:

  • Embed calendars
  • Create a site newsfeed
  • Share a synced Project Plan (using Planner)
  • Share a synched OneDrive Notebook
  • Customize the branding to match the project

Sharepoint site

For a full list of features, visit the Microsoft SharePoint Online site.

File Syncing Between OneDrive and SharePoint

One point of confusion is that files can be shared between OneDrive, SharePoint, and even Microsoft Teams (which we’ll cover in a future post). When you save a file to OneDrive, you may notice that it has a SharePoint location, because it’s embedded under the company’s directory under a “PERSONAL” folder. The sync settings between the two applications are defined by your Office 365 Administrator or your Microsoft Office 365 Partner.

SharePoint and OneDrive Sync


With SharePoint, the Office 365 Administrator sets up the sites and folders with sharing permissions.

With OneDrive, the user decides which folders/files are shared (within the security limitations setup by the administrator.)

Sharing Files Without Attachments

If you want to reduce the size of your mailbox or send a large file, you can now easily send a link instead of attaching the file to an email. Another advantage of this is that multiple parties can simultaneously edit the same file. You can share to one particular email address, to anyone with the link, or to a SharePoint team site / OneDrive shared directory.

Send File Link


Data Retention

Both OneDrive for Business and SharePoint have built-in compliance features including:

  1. Activity Auditing – Shows you accessed, deleted or shared files
  2. Data Loss Prevention – Protects sensitive data
  3. Retention Policy – Can auto-retain or auto-delete content after a set timeframe
  4. eDiscovery Case Management – Allow you identify and hold content that can be used as evidence in legal cases.
  5. Alerts – Administrators and Manager can get notified when users perform certain activities

Where Should You Save Your Files?


OneDrive for Business Versus SharePoint Team Site


Crafted by: Sharegate The SIMPLEST SharePoint and Office 365 Management Tool


If you want to change where you are saving files, Microsoft has a great article on moving documents between SharePoint and OneDrive for Business. And of course, if you need help migrating your data to Office 365, give us a call!

Your Microsoft Office 365 subscription comes with lots of hidden perks. One of these gems is Office Lens, a document scanner you can use from your phone.

Ways to Use the Office Lens Document Scanning App

  • Scan signed contracts and store in the client’s OneDrive folder
  • Scan business cards to add to Outlook / Customer Relationship Management system
  • Scan whiteboards to save our brainstorming sessions
  • Scan old photos to preserve a digital copy
  • Scan paper documents to turn them into editable Word documents

12 Steps to Getting Started with Office Lens

  1. Download Office Lens from the App Store / Google Play Store.
  2. Launch the app on your phone.
  3. Give One Lens access to your device’s camera.
  4. Login with your Microsoft Office 365 account. You can use a free version of Office Lens without an Office 365 subscription, but you lose some of the great features like saving to OneDrive and exporting as an editable Microsoft Word file.
  5.  Select the type of document you’re scanning.  Use the slider at the bottom to select the type of document you’re scanning. Your choices are:
    • Whiteboard
    • Document
    • Business card
    • Photo
      Office lens document scanner
  6. Take a photo of the document. The document will automatically remove the background and frame the document to only include the paper portion of the image captured.
  7. Make any adjustments to color or cropping.
    Office Lens Phone Scanner
  8. Add pages. To add another page to this same document, click the Camera + icon in the lower right corner.
  9. When finished, click the red checkmark.
  10. Name your document.
  11. Choose where and how to store your document. Your options are:
    • Photo Library
    • PDF
    • OneNote
    • OneDrive
    • Word
    • PowerPoint
  12. Choose where to share this document. Your options are:
    • Outlook
    • Mail
    • Any other apps with permission on your phone.

Office lens export


Office Lens Recommendations

Start using Office Lens. You’ll soon be hooked! Our whole team uses it inside and outside of the office. If you are using Office Lens in business environment, setup some IT policies and procedures around document retention.

  • How should documents be named?
  • Where should they be stored?
  • Which contacts should be added to the company database?

Request a Tech Check

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