Office 365 Small Business Premium: Anywhere access

Author: Jon Orton_MSFT Originally published to the Office 365 Preview blog. Our tour of Office 365 Small Business Premium begins with a look at how you can work from nearly anywhere using familiar Office applications. You probably already know that a key benefit of Office 365 is the ability to access important documents and data even when you are out of the office. What’s new in Office 365 Small Business Premium is that you get the power of Office desktop applications as well. It’s the best of both worlds: anywhere access to your email, calendar, contacts and documents, plus the most up-to-date versions of rich and familiar applications like Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook.  Let’s take a look at how these capabilities show up in the Office 365 Preview.  Wherever you are logged in to your Preview account, you’ll notice a blue navigation header at the top of the page: The links here give you web-based access to your Outlook inbox, calendar, and contacts; your personal newsfeed; your SkyDrive Pro document storage; your internal team site, and your public web site. You’ll also notice a gear-shaped icon, which takes you to your settings page.   From this page, you can update your profile information, connect a phone or tablet to Office 365, and download software for your computer. Clicking “Install software…” takes you to the Office installation page.      From this page, you can install the latest version of Office on up to five of your PCs (for example, on your desktop machine as well as your laptop). If you are running an older version of Office, that’s not a problem. The new Office runs side by side with older versions, so you don’t need to uninstall anything to try it out. After you install Office, be sure to sign in with your Office 365 account. Once you are signed in, your Office settings and preferences will roam with you and you can store documents in the cloud. Your Office 365 Small Business Premium account gives you two places to store documents: – SkyDrive Pro: A personal storage area for documents that don’t need to be shared with everyone in your business. – Team site: A group storage area for documents that multiple people share and edit. Documents that you store in SkyDrive Pro or your team site can be accessed remotely from any computer that has a web browser and an Internet connection.  Here’s what the web page view of SkyDrive Pro looks like: If you are on a computer that does not have Office installed (for example, a library kiosk) you can  edit Office documents using a web browser with the new and improved Office Web Apps . Or, if the computer is a Windows 7 or Windows 8 PC, you can use Office on Demand to stream a full version of Word, Excel, or PowerPoint to that computer in seconds. When you are done, both the application and the files you were working on are removed from the local computer. The documents that you store in SkyDrive Pro or your team site can be accessed even when you are offline. By clicking “Sync” on the upper right corner of the page shown above, you can create a folder on your PC that constantly synchronizes changes to and from your cloud storage. This way, you have local copies of all the documents, so that you can access them on your computer even when you don’t have an Internet connection. A key requirement for working on the go is the ability to stay in control of your email and calendar. Web-based access to your email, calendar, and contacts gets even better in the Office 365 Preview, with a new version of Outlook Web App that is optimized for phones and tablets.   It also is easier than ever to send instant messages and participate in meetings when you are away from your computer. Lync mobile lets you use your phone to send an IM or join a meeting with just one touch. The new Lync Web App lets you join a meeting from a web browser and enjoy multiparty HD video, instant messaging, and desktop sharing. That’s a brief summary of what’s new in anywhere access. The bottom line is that you get the flexibility to work at the office, at home or on the go; you can respond to customer questions faster; and you can act on your business wherever you are. Next time we’ll take a tour of the features in Office 365 Small Business Premium that help you work together with others .

Office 365 ProPlus Administrator Series: Configuring Office 365 ProPlus Applications and Experiences

Author: Jeremy_MSFT Originally published to the Office 365 Preview blog. Office 365 ProPlus was designed to enable administrators to control the configuration, installation and updating experience using familiar processes and tools. Because Office 365 ProPlus is rooted in application virtualization, a number of new tools have been developed to enable configuration management using enterprise software distribution and script-based processes. Some organizations may allow users to log in to and install their own Office programs directly from the Internet, however, this requires that users are comfortable performing this task and they have the rights to install applications on their computer. In most cases, this will be a normal case for Office 365 users who install on their personal devices or home PCs, but may not meet the requirement of a locked-down and managed environment where users are provisioned as Standard Users in Windows. In cases where users do not or cannot self-install, Office 365 ProPlus has been built to allow IT administrators to install Office on behalf of their users. This applies both to Windows image-based installations as well as standalone installs from the network, software distribution, local media or the Office 365 service. By default Office 365 ProPlus receives automatic updates, but IT can elect to disable automatic updating of Office programs and deploy only tested and approved Office builds. The Click-to-Run installation technology and toolset provides flexibility and control to manage how Office 365 ProPlus is installed and updated as well as where installation media is stored. Click-to-Run Components and Tools for the Administrator As I mentioned above, if you come from a systems management background, the first question many will ask is, “where are the bits?” The design of Office 365 ProPlus is to store installation files online via a publicly-accessible service. This allows people to perform self-installation and managed deployments to point to online installation source for initial installs and ongoing software updates. The installation files are also accessible to be downloaded and imported into enterprise software distribution tools or operating system deployment tools. The  Office Deployment Tool enables automated deployment of Office 365 ProPlus. There are three primary components needed to enable managed or “push” deployments of Office 365 ProPlus: Office 365 ProPlus installation files setup.exe bootstrapper to initiate the installation process configuration XML file to govern how and from where Office is downloaded and installed   Contents of the Office Deployment Tool The Setup and configuration XML tools are packaged together as the Office Deployment Tool and available on the Microsoft Download Center . Setup.exe in this case performs two primary tasks – it downloads Office 365 ProPlus, Visio and Project programs to a local file location using the /download command and it controls how Office programs are installed using the /configure command. Both commands point to a configuration file to govern what is downloaded and how Office is configured. The configuration XML file governs both what is downloaded and how Office Click-to-Run is applied to the target computer. The controls relevant to downloading installation source from the site are the following. Note: all controls are CaSe SeNsItIvE. Option Description Sample Syntax Add Parent control to determine source, architecture, product and languages to download. From CDN:               From local network:                Product The targeted products to download within the command. Multiple products may be nested under the control and multiple languages may be nested under the control. Office 365 ProPlus      SourcePath Location where the Office is downloaded to. If unspecified, the downloaded content will be saved to the folder where the setup.exe is located. OfficeClientEdition Determines the architecture of the product to download, 32 or 64 bit. Note: 32-bit is still the recommended architecture for new Office versions. Cross-architecture installations are not permitted; if a 32-bit Office version is already installed on a system, the 64-bit Click-to-Run package will not install and vice versa.   Or: OfficeClientEdition=”32″ OfficeClientEdition=”64″ Language Language determines the language DAT files to be downloaded with the Click-to-Run package. Version Version is used as part of the control and specifies the version to be downloaded. If version is not specified, setup.exe will download the latest build. Available version numbers will be posted to KB article in the future.     Downloading Click-to-Run Installation Source Click-to-Run builds are available for download from the Office 365 service. Administrators can use the configuration XML file to determine the architecture (x86 or x64), language and version number to download. The following screenshots show the process to download Office 365 ProPlus installation files from the service.   Setup tool and command line usage You can create XML files with commands specific to downloading, installing or uninstalling Office. Here is a sample of an XML I called download.xml to download the latest Click-to-Run builds of Office 365 ProPlus Preview and Visio Pro Preview.                               Progress after executing ‘setup.exe /download download.xml’ command   Office folder is downloaded and applied to the Office Deployment Tool folder   Office 365 ProPlus build is stored as DAT and CAB files in the ..dataversionnumber folder within the directory of setup.exe or SourcePath location In a managed IT environment, the IT administrator can execute an automated scheduled task every two weeks or so to download the most recent Office 365 ProPlus builds. The great thing is that new builds always contain the latest software updates and you don’t need to add them to the updates folder as with the MSI package, they are already slipstreamed into the build and installation times for the first release build will be comparable to future builds. It is good news if you build lots of PCs with task sequence-based setup or just wish that installs when the product is in the middle of the release cycle were as fast as they were with RTM builds. As someone with a Windows imaging background, I wish I had this sooner and that other components I install in my task sequences were updated similarly, because once you start layering in a service pack and more than ten additional software updates, MSI-based installs start to get very slow. Alternatively, the administrator can manually download the exact build desired by specifying the build number in the configuration XML file. If left unspecified, the download command will download the newest available x86 build of Office 365 ProPlus. Using Active Directory Group Policy to Deploy and Enforce Configuration Templates Let’s take a small detour from setup for a minute and discuss post-installation configuration. Ideally, Group Policy configuration is decided and implemented prior to rolling out any version of Office and in the case with Click-to-Run, we need Group Policy if we want to make configuration changes to how Office is set up. Office 365 ProPlus is designed to work with Active Directory Group Policy configuration management. Aside from the handful of controls available in the configuration XML file to govern Office 365 ProPlus setup, Group Policy is required for fine-tuned configuration management of Click-to-Run installation and run time. Group Policy adds unique settings for the Office 365 ProPlus service to manage how roaming settings are accessed, control software update behavior and determine which online services are allowed for storing files among thousands of other settings.   Local Group Policy Editor in Windows Group Policy is also used to configure security settings and how new telemetry features in Office 365 ProPlus and Office Professional Plus 2013 capture and report data for client performance. New telemetry
features also utilize Group Policy to block or enable Office Add-ins from running.  The Office 2013 Preview Administrative Template (ADMX/ADML) files can be downloaded now from the Microsoft Download Center and these apply to both the Office Professional Plus 2013 and Office 365 ProPlus packages.

New Office 365 launch webcast & Yammer video

In case you have missed the launch webcast last week on February 27th to mark the general availability of the new Office 365, here is the link . In particular I’d like to highlight the Yammer demo that starts at 16:30 and ends at 19:00. Also check out this video released on YouTube that provides and overview of Yammer: Yammer: Transforming the Way We Work

Yammer Momentum – February 2013

Exciting press release published yesterday as well as a set or articles on Yammer’s momentum, also please check Yammer’s newly designed customer success page:   Yammer Accelerates Momentum Following Microsoft Acquisition Sample of articles published on February 20th: Yammer tops 7M users, sales spike after Microsoft deal – GeekWire, Todd Bishop Microsoft: Yammer Generates Big Business After Buy – eWeek, Pedro Hernandez Yammer has 7 million users as SharePoint integration continues – CITEworld, Matt Rosoff Yammer Touts Record Year – Seattle Times, Janet Tu  

We're making changes to the Office 365 Community

For the last several months, we’ve been busily designing and building improvements to make it easier for all of us to use our Office 365 community. We’ll start rolling out these changes in the next few weeks. Watch this blog for news about these changes a week or so before they’re released. Here’s a list of the first changes you’ll see. Click the links below for more details. Consolidate our blogs Make it easier to use and manage our forums Match forums and wikis Consolidate our blogs We use our blogs like billboards along the highway, to drive attention to new features, events, and what’s happening with Office 365. Our blog audience is Office 365 customers, partners, and anyone interested in what’s going on with Office 365. We currently have three blogs: Office 365 Technical Blog Archived Microsoft Office 365 Blog The Grid blog The Office 365 Technical Blog is the one place in our community that you can view to find out what’s going on with Office 365. Our audience is Office 365 customers, and those who support and develop for it. We’re focusing our blog publishing work on this blog. We encourage you to subscribe to this blog to stay up-to-date with Office 365. The Archived Microsoft Office 365 Blog contains posts that were moved to the Office 365 blog. We have not published to it for a year, so we’re going to turn it off. The Grid blog is where we publish contributions from our Grid members. We’ve decided to close this blog and publish all of our Grid member posts on the Office 365 Technical blog. Make it easier to use and manage our forums The Office 365 forums are where customers post questions and where we and our customers engage in discussions. The forums are monitored by Office 365 Support, MVPs, and members of the Office 365 product teams. The Office 365 forums are currently organized into categories, with several forums in each category, for a total of 37 forums. Your feedback told us that it’s hard to decide where to post, and to know where to look for information. In response, we’re flattening our forum structure by removing categories, and we’re reducing the number of forums to 15. There will be one forum for each major service or area of interest. All existing forum posts will be moved into the new forum structure, so we won’t lose any information. The Office 365 forums are available in all the languages in which we offer forum support, and we’re constantly adding new languages. Match forums and wikis We use wikis to post information by Microsoft contributors very quickly and to publish information that will appear in the Office 365 portal. We’ve added new wikis to support some of our new services, and we’ve paired wikis with forums where possible, so it’s easy for you to find information related to specific services. This will also make it easier for the service teams to engage in discussions and manage the information they present. We want to hear from you Sign in to post a comment below and let us know what you think. Feel free to share any ideas about how we can continue to improve this community.

Office 365 Home Premium, Project Professional 2013 and Yammer

It’s been a busy past few weeks in the Enterprise Social Networking #esn world, but I wanted to take a quick pause to celebrate the consumer release of Office, more information below, in the meantime please find below a picture from my desk with some of my favorite products! Microsoft Releases Office 365 Home Premium Office 365: The Next Bold Step  

What’s new with Microsoft Remote Connectivity Analyzer? A lot!

Have you ever gotten a call from someone you know whose Outlook client is having trouble connecting to their email server?  Don’t you just wish you had a tool that you could send to them that would walk them through a connectivity test and provide a simple way for them to send the results back to you? Or perhaps you’re an administrator that has been using the Remote Connectivity Analyzer for years to verify email configuration, but wish you had a way to verify the same tests from within your organization, that provided the same diagnostic details as the RCA website?   We’ve heard these requests, and we have some big news. For full details, see our blog post on the Exchange Team Blog . 

Skype is Replacing Messenger for Instant Messaging and Presence

Have you seen the good news?  Skype and Messenger are coming together.  Soon millions of Messenger users will be able to reach their Messenger friends on Skype.  By updating to Skype, Messenger users can instant message and video call their Messenger friends plus a whole lot more.  Skype will become the preferred choice for all of our users’  communication needs.  We will retire Messenger in all countries worldwide in the first quarter of 2013, with the exception of mainland China.   Learn more about this exciting change . …( read more )

Microsoft Project Professional 2013, and SharePoint 2013 are available for download on MSDN

Following the RTM announcement: The New Microsoft Project reaches RTM! the on-premise products are becoming available in different distribution channels starting with MSDN and TechNet subscribes as show below (and yes Project Server 2013 will also be available very soon…). Please check the Office RTM post for overall timeline for other channels: Office Reaches RTM! As a reminder there are plenty of Project 2013 resources available today: Product TechNet MSDN https:// Blog Forums https://

Microsoft Project Online on Xbox

Following Xbox’s announcement today: Introducing the New Entertainment Experience from Xbox and the fact that Internet Explorer is now an app on my favorite gaming console, and while waiting for Microsoft Surface to be ready , I went ahead and looked at a few sites but quickly decided to test my favorite site these days: Microsoft Project Online on Xbox… After entering my Office 365 Preview credentials I was able to navigate PWA and access the usual: Project Center, Portfolio Analysis, BI Center and Excel Services Center, Newsfeed & my tasks etc. as shown below (yes it’s hard to take high quality pics of my TV!). Almost 2 years ago I when Kinect came out I wrote this: Microsoft Project 2010 Kinect Edition: You Are the Controller! and guess what, it’s getting closer to reality thanks to Project Online… You are the controller! Don’t wait any longer and try Project Online on your favorite device!!!