Free O365 Developer Tenant in 30 min

It is a great idea to setup your own Office 365 tenant to experiment with the available capabilities.  If you’re a developer working with O365 this should have been set up yesterday.  However, the content of this article is useful for anybody interested in the O365 environment, even if you don’t currently use O365 and just want to see what it’s all about.

Benefits to having your own O365 tenant

Explore the options available to you and your organization.

Large companies tend to segregate administrator privileges for certain services to modular groups of employees.  The same happens for the end user access levels to these services.  This tends to give people technical tunnel vision.  It’s important to understand how the O365 ecosystem works in order to better communicate and integrate technical solutions.

In addition to the separation of church and state, many organizations don’t roll out every new and shiny piece of tech that comes to O365.  There are many possible reasons for this.  For example, a lot of companies want to have a strong understanding of security, governance, applicability and business value before making a feature available to everyone.

Get ahead of the game.  You can set yourself up to hit the ground running if you become familiar with the functionality that hasn’t yet become available to your colleagues.  This means less time spent trying to figure out the new tech and subsequently falling behind on your daily duties.  You can front-load the learning curve for a seamless transition.

Damage Control

Extend the O365 environment and test different things without worrying about blowing up a production tenant.  This is very important especially if you work somewhere in which a mistake could be catastrophic.  Secondly, you don’t want to waste the time of your colleagues in order to “try something out” that may eventually fall on it’s face.  Ideally, you want to know that your code works like a charm before getting approval and bugging Steve to deploy everything.

There’s nothing to lose

This is a no-risk, high-reward 30 minute investment.  The worst thing that happens is that you don’t spend any time in your personal tenant which leaves you no worse off than you are now.  On the other hand, your tenant is a great learning opportunity and can be used to motivate yourself to be excited about the work you do.  Work on whatever interests you and have fun!

As promised

Follow the steps below to set up your own tenant in 30 minutes.

  1. Navigate to this page, click “Join Now” and fill out the form.
  2. Continue by selecting the free 30 day trial option.  However, you can apply for a 1 year trial (not immediate but recommended in addition to the shorter trial).
  3. Fill out the Office 365 Enterprise E3 Developer Trial form
    • Note: the user ID and password you create here will be the credentials you need to login to your tenant.
  4. Welcome to your admin portal!  Be sure to complete the setup by clicking the “Go to setup” button shown on the admin homepage.O365 Setup
  5. At this point you’ll be prompted to install the O365 client applications on your computer.
  6. While this is happening your O365 services are automatically being provisioned behind the scenes.  You may see “Setting up (This app is still being set up)” when trying to access a service.

Once that’s complete you’re done!  Head over to https://www.office.com whenever you want to log in to your tenant from any device.  Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.

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