As a Cambridge student you will be given an institutional email account. It is usually a CRSid (your initials, followed by a number) [at] cam.ac.uk. You can find out more about it here. You might have the option to choose between the University-wide email system, Hermes, or Outlook 365.
If you haven't yet received your email address, you can learn more about how it all works with this brilliant resource from the University Information Services.
You should check your email each day as it is the principal mode by which you will be contacted about all kinds of university business.
I always make sure I read all of my emails!
- MPhil Economics and Finance student, 2017-18
As a University of Cambridge student, you are entitled to download Office 365 for free to all your devices. This package includes Microsoft Word, Excel, Powerpoint, OneNote, Access and Publisher - the whole suite.
Once you have your Cambridge credentials you can download this for free from the link on the UIS website. There is a comprehensive YouTube channel for the various bits of this package and plenty of other tutorials online, and Cambridge also has access to the Microsoft Academy online learning courses if you'd prefer to take an 'official course'.
If you are taking a subject that requires you to produce scientific documents, you will probably want to use LaTeX, a document preparation system for high-quality typesetting. LaTeX is free to download from its website.
There is plenty of support available for learning LaTeX once you arrive in Cambridge; contact your Department library staff to find out what is available. There are also countless tutorials available online, suitable for complete beginners and those with some experience, including:
You have several options available to you in terms of cloud storage.
You can use your Cambridge credentials to gain access for free to Microsoft OneDrive, a cloud storage service which will give you up to 1TB in cloud storage. More information about it is available on the UIS website. Note that your access to Microsoft software will end as your course finishes; it may be worth identifying alternatives for cloud storage if your course is short.
A good alternative is Dropbox, and as a Cambridge student you can receive Dropbox Business at a discounted rate. As a regular Dropbox user, with a personal account, you can access 2 GB of space (though you can increase this); if you upgrade to Dropbox Business, you'll get 2 TB of space. When you leave the university, you can downgrade your account to a free personal version.
Other alternatives include, among many others:
Your decision may well depend on a variety of factors outside of space available: how easily the cloud storage syncs across several devices, ease of access to your files if you're using the university's computer facilities, and the security of your data. Note, too, that cloud storage may not be suitable if you intend to store sensitive data - the Office of Scholarly Communication provides advice on how best to store this.
Unless otherwise stated, this work is licenced under a Creative Commons CC-BY-NC 4.0 licence by Cambridge University Libraries.