What's the difference between Office Online and Office 365?

Feb 20, 2015
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Using my work Office 365 account, I can go to two different sites - portal.office.com/Home and office.live.com - and though I'm signed in to both on different tabs using the same credentials, it's almost like the two accounts are completely separate.

I understand that Office Online is more of a personal, home user thing, while Office 365 is for enterprise... but I'm accessing the two sites with the same credentials, same account, and they're so similar, but with many differences as well.

The Gist

Here's my question: why is there so much ambiguous crossover between these two seemingly independent sites? What are the roles these two sites have in relation to each other? Am I supposed to use them in conjunction? Why can I not access my personal OneDrive from Office 365 - only my OneDrive for Business?

I love all these changes, but there seems to be a lot of confusion as to what role these sites explicitly serve. I'd love for someone to clear some of it up for me. Thanks.

Office 365


Office Online



Mar 4, 2016
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Answering this question so that it would be helpful for others as well.

1. The two site are totally different place. One is for business, and other is for personal usage.

2. The Portal.office.com is provided by Office 365 server which works with Office 365 work or school account ((e-mail address removed) or domain.com). However, the Office.live.com is provided by Microsoft server which works with live account such as outlook.com and Hotmail.com.

3. Within the site - portal.office.com/Home, besides we can work the documents Online, there are multiple services we can use for business, including SharePoint Online, Exchange Online and Lync Online. However, all usage within the office.live.com is for personal.

4. Due to the scenario that you have the same account for those two websites, the possibility reason is that you have used your Office 365 work or school account when signing up the Microsoft account: https://signup.live.com/signup.aspx?lic=1 . In this scenario, what account it belongs to depends on which site you access.

5. The personal OneDrive and OneDrive for Business are totally different.

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