Office 365 New Application “Bookings”

Last year, Microsoft released a product called Bookings to customers in the U.S. and Canada, introducing an easy way for small businesses to schedule and manage appointments with their customers. Microsoft have recently announced that they are beginning to roll out the service to Office 365 Business Premium subscribers worldwide. based on user feedback, they are bringing several new features to Bookings as well.

  • Add your Office 365 calendar to Bookings—Connect your Office 365 calendar to Bookings, so that the times you are busy will automatically be blocked in your public Booking page.
  • Add buffer time before and after your appointments—Do you need prep time before or after an appointment? Adding buffer time to a service automatically blocks that time in your Booking page too.
  • Bookings apps for your iOS and Android phone—Now you can book an appointment, contact a customer or check a staff member’s appointments while away from the office.
  • Customize your Booking page—We added more color customization options, so you can better personalize your Booking page.

These new capabilities will start showing up automatically in Bookings in the coming weeks. Let’s take a detailed look at what’s new.

Add your Office 365 calendar to Bookings

One of the top pieces of feedback we’ve heard is that you want to be able to add events from your Office 365 calendar to Bookings. So, we added integration between these calendars to help you avoid booking customer meetings during the time you’ve set aside for personal appointments, staff and partner meetings or other aspects of running your business.

To add Office 365 calendars to Bookings, click the Staff tab on the left navigation panel. On the Staff details page, select the Events on Office 365 calendar affect availability checkbox.

Add Office 365 calendar events to Bookings.

Once you activate this option, the system automatically blocks busy times on the Bookings calendar and on the self-service Booking page your customers see, so that you won’t get double-booked. Similarly, so your staff doesn’t get double-booked, you can also add their Office 365 calendars.

Add buffer time between appointments

Some services can be provided through back-to-back appointments. But another top piece of feedback you gave us was that many of your services require travel, prep and/or set-up time beforehand, and clean-up and travel time once the service was delivered. For customers with these needs, we added buffer times to give you more options to customize the services you deliver.

To add buffer times, click the Services tab in the left navigation column and either edit a current service or create a new one. Turn on the toggle below the Buffer time your customers can’t book and you will get buffer time selections that can be applied before and after the service appointment. These are times your customers can’t book an appointment with you before and after an appointment.

You can turn on the “buffer time” option in the Services tab.

Apps for iOS and Android

We know it’s essential for you to keep up with your business while you are away from a desk, so we built mobile apps that let you manage your bookings and staff, or access your customer list while you’re on the go.

After you download the Bookings app on iOS and Android, you can use your phone to:

  • View and manage your Bookings calendar.
  • Create and edit bookings.
  • See real-time availability and whereabouts of your staff.
  • Respond to customers with bookings quickly and easily.
  • Get directions to your next booking.
  • Access your customer list.

Customise your Booking page

Your Booking page should look and feel like an extension of your business, and it needs to positively reflect your brand.

To help you achieve this, we added options to customize it. For example, you can choose your main color for your Booking page from a color palette, and choose whether you’d like to show your business logo.

To customise your page, click Booking page in the left navigation list and select the color you want. If you don’t want your logo to be displayed, uncheck the Display your business logo on your booking page checkbox. Once you are done, simply click Save and publish.

Use the Booking page tab to customize your Booking page. Remember to click Save and publish to keep your changes.

How to get started with Bookings

Bookings is included in all Office 365 Business Premium subscriptions, and getting started is easy. To simplify the work of customer scheduling for your business, just sign in to Office 365 and click the Bookings tile on the App Launcher. If you don’t see the Bookings tile, we may still be in the process of rolling out the service in your region—so check back a bit later. If you need more help, the article “Say hello to Microsoft Bookings” provides a quick overview of how to use Bookings.

Once you are signed in to Office 365 you can find the App Launcher on the top left corner.

Bookings is designed to delight your customers, simplify scheduling and free time for you to be on top of your business wherever you are. Your feedback has been extremely useful; please keep it coming by clicking the feedback links found on the Bookings home page.

Microsoft intend to bring Bookings to E3 and E5 customers in the near future

Introduction to Microsoft Flow

My adventures within Microsoft Office 365 continue… another new feature to Microsoft Office 365 Power Apps.

Back in November 2016, Microsoft released for general availability Microsoft Flow and PowerApps. These tools will give users the power to enable the automation of workflows and the building of custom apps, and will also ease and expedite the creation of applications without the need for complex custom software development.

Microsoft Flow IconMicrosoft Flow is a new workflow automation solution that can be used to tap application and service data, making it easy to combine different services. Microsoft Flow connects more than 35 services, including SharePoint, OneDrive, Slack, and Twitter, so that users can perform actions such as sending notifications, pushing data into Excel, sending OneDrive files to SharePoint sites, automatically copying files from Dropbox to their SharePoint document library, and creating simple workflow approval tracking. Along with this, business users will be able to use Microsoft Flow to utilise pre-built templates and create their own flows in a visual designer that can work anywhere on the web.

Below is a short video detailing how Flow will be able to automate your repetitive daily tasks:

So Long iPad….Hello Surface

I simply cannot believe that I am writing this, but as the title suggests I have ditched the iPad favouring the new Surface Pro 4….

I have been a serious Apple fan for many years, in fact I still am. I own a Mac Book Pro, iPhone, Watch and Apple TV and my family also own a range of Apple products-they are superb. However, I am a technical consultant that spends many hour travelling the UK meeting customers and generally fixing stuff. Up until recently I have relied on my trusty iPad Air 2 with the Logitech keyboard and of course the superb Office 365 services.

ipad surface

So why the change?

I specialise in all things Microsoft so Windows Servers, Office 365, Azure and also have been known to dabble in Networking and I simply cannot use my iPad for everything For example, if I go and see customers that don’t have wireless networks then I have no means of connecting to the infrastructure. I cannot create Powershell scripts and run them from my iPad, the biggy for me is the Outlook app. I run a small team of engineers and not being able to have true visibility of multiple calendars and business critical applications is a real problem. Don’t get me wrong, I will continue to adore my iPad, I continue to use it regularly for media and also for the range of excellent apps. I also fly drones commercially and the iPad comes in really handy for planning and controlling my drones.

Are there any downsides to the Surface?

Well like everything, you can’t have it all. With my iPad I was used to having a lovely 4g connection pretty much everywhere I went on the Three network. Unfortunately the Microsoft Surfaces do not have the ability to add a sim card for mobile data usage. – I guess I will just have to get used to tethering my device to my iPhone…

To Finish…..

The iPad and the Surface are both superb devices, and right now I am exceptionally lucky to own both of them, but for my professional career as much as it pains me to say this, the Surface gives me just that bit more flexibility to be able to do more aspects of my job. I am looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings in the world of technology, you never know, Apple may pull something out of the bag that yet again makes the iPad the weapon of choice.

Turn on Microsoft Teams for your organisation

Originally posted on Microsoft Office Blogs

You use the Office 365 admin centre to enable and configure Microsoft Teams for your organisation.

IMPORTANT: All settings are tenant-wide and affect everyone in the organisation who has an active license for Microsoft Teams. To manage per-user licenses for Microsoft Teams, see Turn on or turn off Microsoft Teams licenses.

  1. Sign in to Office 365 with your work or school account.
  2. Choose Admin to go to the Office 365 admin centre.
  3. Go to Settings > Services & add-ins.Sign in to Office 365, go to the Office 365 admin center, go to Settings, and then choose Services & add-ins.
  4. On the Services & add-ins page, choose Microsoft Teams.Scroll down on the Services & add-ins page, and then choose Microsoft Teams.
  5. On the Microsoft Teams settings page that opens, click or tap to switch the toggle to the On position to turn on Teams for your organization, and then choose Save.On the Microsoft Teams settings page, set the toggle to On to turn on Teams for your entire organization, and then choose Save.

General tenant-level settings

On the Microsoft Teams settings page, in the General section, you can choose if you want to show an organization chart in user profiles. By default, this setting is turned on. To change this setting, click or tap to switch the toggle next to Show organization chart in personal profile to Off or On, and then choose Save.

On the Microsoft Teams settings page, under General, you can turn off or turn on organization charts in user profiles.

Teams & Channel

A team is designed to bring together a group of people who work closely to get things done. Teams can be dynamic for project-based work (for example, launching a product or creating a digital war room). Or, teams can be ongoing, to reflect the internal structure of your organization. Channels are subcategories of teams. You might create a channel for an activity or for a department. Conversations, files, and notes are specific to each channel, but all members of the team can see them.

As an administrator, you can manage team owners and members by using the Groups control panel in the Office 365 admin center portal. At this time, you cannot create teams from the Groups control panel – teams must be created by using the Microsoft Teams desktop client or web app.

Admins can create teams and manage ownership and members by using the Groups control panel in the Office 365 admin center.For more information about managing Office 365 Groups, see Create an Office 365 Group in the admin center.

Users can create teams by choosing Teams on the left side in the Microsoft Teams client (desktop or web app), and then choosing Create team at the bottom of the client, below the team list.

Users can create a new team by going to Teams in the Microsoft Teams client, and then choosing Create team.As an admin, you can control which users in your organization can create teams in Microsoft Teams. The same creation settings defined by Office 365 Groups apply to Microsoft Teams. By default, every user has the ability to create a team or group. For more information, see Manage Office 365 Group Creation.

Calls & Meetings

Microsoft Teams includes calling and meeting capabilities, with support for video and screen sharing. Some companies may want to turn off those features. On the Microsoft Teams settings page, in the Calls & Meetings section, you can choose if users can use video and screen sharing during calls and meetings.

On the Microsoft Teams settings page, under Calls & Meetings, you can turn settings off or on to prevent or allow videos and screen sharing in meetings.

Messaging

As a tenant admin, you can turn on or turn off media content such as animated images, memes, and stickers in the Messaging section of the Microsoft Teams settings page.

On the Microsoft Teams settings page, under Messaging, you can set a content rating and turn settings off or on to prevent or allow animated, Internet, and editable images.To turn on or turn off animated images, click or tap the toggle switch next to Add fun animated images to the conversations, and then choose Save.

When animated images are turned on, you can apply a content rating to restrict the type of animated images that can be displayed in conversations. You can set the Content Rating to be one of the following:

  • Strict
  • Moderate
  • No restriction

To turn on or turn off custom memes, click or tap the toggle switch next to Add customisation images from the Internet, and then choose Save.

To turn on or turn off stickers, click or tap the toggle switch next to Add editable images to the conversations, and then choose Save.

Tabs

Tabs let you customise a channel to include content and capabilities your team needs every day. They provide quick access to frequently used documents and cloud services. In the preview release, there are several built-in tabs such as Files and Notes. In the Microsoft Teams client, at the top of the channel, users can add tabs for Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, Excel spreadsheets, OneNote notebooks, Power BI reports, and plans from Planner.

In the Microsoft Teams client, at the top of the channel, users can add tabs for favorite apps and files by using the Tabs gallery.Over time, more tabs will be added, both from Microsoft and from partners. Team owners can also side-load tabs so they appear in the Tab gallery for that team. And developers who create line-of-business (LOB) applications can also use the side-load capability to test their applications in test teams that they create.

To turn on or turn off support for tabs from partners and support for side-loading of applications, in the Tabs section of the Microsoft Teams settings page, click or tap the toggle switch next to Enable extension tabs in Microsoft Teams, and then choose Save. Changing this setting does not turn off the built-in support for default tabs, including Microsoft Office files, OneNote, Microsoft Planner, and SharePoint document libraries.

On the Microsoft Teams settings page, under Tabs, you can turn the setting off or on to prevent or allow side-loaded tabs in the Tab gallery.For more information about building custom tabs or integrating an existing tool as a tab, see Getting started with tabs for Microsoft Teams (preview). Developers can also learn more from Office Dev Center – Microsoft Teams.

Bots

Microsoft Teams users can complete tasks such as querying information and performing commands by using bots. You can also integrate your existing LOB applications with Microsoft Teams by using a bot.

To turn on or turn off any built-in bots, in the Bots section of the Microsoft Teams settings page, click or tap to switch the toggle next to Enable bots in Microsoft Teams to help users complete more tasks easily, and then choose Save. Changing this setting does not turn off the availability of T-Bot, the built-in help bot.

To prevent or allow side-loading of proprietary bots, click or tap to switch the toggle next to Enable side loading of external Bots, and then choose Save.

On the Microsoft Teams settings page, under Bots, you can turn settings off or on to prevent or allow the use of built-in bots and side-loaded external bots.If you’re interested in building a bot, see Creating bots for Microsoft Teams (preview). It has step-by-step instructions for getting started with writing bots for Microsoft Teams. Developers can also learn more from Office Dev Center – Microsoft Teams.

NOTE: For developers to be able to test bots in Microsoft Teams, you must turn on bots.

Connectors

Office 365 Connectors allow your Microsoft Teams users to receive updates from popular services such as Twitter, Trello, Wunderlist, GitHub, and VSTS, within the chat stream in their team.

Connectors also provide a way for developers to integrate with Microsoft Teams by building custom connectors to generate rich cards within channels. See Getting started with Office 365 Connectors for Microsoft Teams (preview) and Connect apps to your groups for more information. Developers can also learn more from Office Dev Center – Microsoft Teams.

Client distribution

The installers for the Microsoft Teams Windows and Mac desktop clients can be downloaded from https://teams.microsoft.com/downloads. End users on desktops can install the application if they have the appropriate permissions. Admins can also download the installer and distribute it through client distribution tools.

End users who are using mobile devices can download the Microsoft Teams app from their mobile platform’s app store.Microsoft Teams is available on Windows (Windows 7 and later) and Mac desktop (Mac 10.10 and later). It is also available on iOS v9 and later (iPhone and iPad), Android 4.4 and later, and Windows Phone 10.0.10586 and later. Microsoft Teams is not available via a mobile web browser – it is available only through the mobile app.

Microsoft Teams supports the web client on Microsoft Edge 12+, Internet Explorer 11+, Firefox 47.0+, and Chrome 51.0+. Users who try to open the Microsoft Teams web client on Safari are directed to download the desktop client. Support for Safari is coming at a later date.

Turn on or turn off Microsoft Teams licenses

As an Office 365 administrator, you can manage user access to Microsoft Teams licenses in the Office 365 admin center. You must be an Office 365 global administrator or user management administrator to manage Microsoft Teams licenses.

To keep a user in your organization from accessing Microsoft Teams, remove the Microsoft Teams license for that user. After you turn off a license, that user can’t sign in to Microsoft Teams.

You assign Microsoft Teams licenses the same way you assign any other Office 365 Enterprise license. Sign in to Office 365, go to the Office 365 admin center and, on the Users > Active Users page, assign or remove the Microsoft Teams license. See Assign or remove licenses for Office 365 for business for more information.

If you’d rather use PowerShell, see Assign licenses to user accounts with Office 365 PowerShell or Remove licenses from user accounts with office 365 PowerShell.

Microsoft Teams URLs and IP address ranges

If your organization restricts computers on your network from connecting to the Internet, refer to Office 365 URLs and IP address ranges. This article lists the endpoints that you should include in your outbound allow lists and the Internet Explorer Trusted Sites Zone of client computers to make sure computers in your organization can successfully use Microsoft Teams in Office 365.

Things To Know About The New Microsoft Teams

Microsoft unveiled Microsoft Teams at an event in New York back in November 2016. This is an Office 365 component that adds a group chat tool to the pre existing office suite.

Teams is a competitor to Slack. This web-based software pulls together messaging, archived content and search capabilities.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella described it as a “chat-based workspace” – so Teams combines informal chatting and productive collaboration. The app combines the online Office applications, Skype, Exchange servers, Azure, security and more, all in one piece of software.

It’s a lot like Slack

When viewing demos or screenshots of Microsoft Teams, you could be forgiven for confusing it with a new version of Slack. The user interfaces look extremely similar, and it uses the same general “channels” and individual/small group chat design language.

It’s a free add-on for Office 365 enterprise subscribers

Teams isn’t exactly free, but if your organization is already an Office 365 subscriber it won’t cost anything additional. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’ll just pop up on your desktop the day it launches. Like any Office component, it’ll be up to your company’s IT department whether or not to deploy it to users in the organisation.

Teams brings together the following 3 components that are essential in any collaborative effort:

Chat

Microsoft Teams is, at its base, a chat-centered team workspace that’s easy to set up. Once your team is on board (and you can have multiple, different teams), you’ll have different channels within the teams for specific conversation topics. What’s more, you can even chat with members individually. Not only can you like posts, mention people, reply directly to posts, and even save posts, you can also post in rich text formats (including subject lines, bullet points, images, etc.). The addition of emoticons, gifs, and stickers make this platform a friendly, informal way for teams to chat. It makes it a much more personal and enjoyable experience than having a bland email chain.

Files

Teams is based on Office 365 Groups. Every time you make a team, it syncs and creates a group in SharePoint Team Sites. This allows Microsoft Teams to easily integrate to OneNote, Planner, Exchange Calendar, and all sorts of files to make sharing within your team the simplest it can be. Let’s say you share a file in a channel with your team. That file will automatically be uploaded to a folder specific to that channel. The folder contains all the uploaded files of that channel, and can easily be found in Teams for later use.

Meetings

With the simple click of a button, within the chat itself, you and your team can have an audio or video meeting. Not only can you schedule these meetings, you can make them happen with no preparation by clicking the button, and having whoever is available join. Since Teams is a flexible app, you can just as easily do this from your desktop or your mobile. You and your teammates can easily share notes and files during the meeting as well. Once the meeting is over, you can find a record of it saved in the chat history for future reference.

Now that you have read all of this, lets have a look in the video below:

 

Sharing files & folders in SharePoint & OneDrive

This is a first post in a while, hopefully I will be posting more content as the year goes on focusing on Office 365 and Azure.

For now, as more and more people move over to SharePoint i get asked how can I share my content with people who don’t necessarily work in my organisation, so hopefully the steps below will help answer this question.

Sharing files and folders in SharePoint Online / OneDrive Online couldn’t be easier. The process is similar in both products so from this point on, I will refer to both products as ‘OneDrive’.

Here’s a few key features of File Sharing in OneDrive;

  • Share files within your organisation and external users
  • Control who can view or edit the shared files
  • Work together in real time (also referred to as Co-Authoring)

File Sharing

  1. Go to OneDrive for Business or the site library that has the file you want to share.

  2. Right-click the file you want to share, and then select Get a link. If you don’t see Get a link, click Share, and then click Get a link.

    Screenshot of Sharing a document by using Get a link

Choose the type of link you want to create.

Screenshot of choosing a link

Links for internal sharing:

  • Edit link – account required After they sign in, people in your organization can edit, copy, or download the file.

  • View link – account required After they sign in, people in your organization can view, copy, or download the file.

Guest links:

  • Edit link – no sign-in required People outside your organization can edit the file and may also be able to copy and download the file. People may need to sign in with a Microsoft account to copy or download the file.

  • View link – no sign-in required People outside your organization can view the file and may also be able to copy and download the file. People may need to sign in with a Microsoft account to copy or download the file.

  1. If guest access is disabled, you’ll see only account required options.

  2. If you choose a no sign-in required link and you want to set the link to expire, click Set expiration, and then choose how long before the link expires, such as 30 days. Account required links don’t expire and there’s no option to set an expiration for those links.

    Screenshot of Setting an Expiration for a guest link

  3. Click Copy to copy the link to the clipboard.

  4. Paste the link into an email and send it or post it on a website for the people you want share with.

I hope this was easy enough to follow, if you have any questions please drop me a line.

Exchange 2010–Office 365 Hybrid Setup – Remote Powershell

Recently I have been getting issues with performing a hybrid configuration from an on premise Exchange 2010 Server running the latest services packs and meeting all the required pre requisites to perform a Hybrid configuration to Office 365.

One of the first steps is to connect your on Premise exchange server to Office 365 using remote PowerShell, following the how to guide it tells you to connect to the following URI in the command below:

$session = new-pssession -configurationname microsoft.exchange -connectionuri https//ps.outlook.com/powershell/ -credential $o365cred -authentication basic

When you run this command you will get the following error:

ps.outlook.com] The WinRM service cannot process the request because the request needs to be sent to a different machine. Use the redirect information to send the request to a new machine. Redirect location reported: https://ps.outlook.com/PowerShell-LiveID?PSVersion=2.0 . To automatically connect to the redirected URI, verify “MaximumConnectionRedirectionCount” property of session preference variable “PSSessionOption” and use “AllowRedirection” parameter on the cmdlet.+ CategoryInfo : OpenError: (System.Manageme….RemoteRunspace:RemoteRunspace) [], PSRemotingTransportRed
irectException + FullyQualifiedErrorId : PSSessionOpenFailed

After speaking with Microsoft I have identified the URI has changed to https://outlook.office365.com/powershell-liveid/

and the Powershell command is slightly different to include the –AllowRedirection as there are multiple servers to connect to.

The command that worked for me was the following:

$Session = New-PSSession -ConfigurationName Microsoft.Exchange -ConnectionUri https://outlook.office365.com/powershell-liveid/ -Credential $UserCredential -Authentication Basic -AllowRedirection

Office 365 Credential Issues

If you’ve ever connected a workstation to Office 365 and then been constantly prompted for your credentials you know how frustrating it can be.  Have you ever checked that box in Outlook to “Remember Password” and then screamed in frustration as yet another logon prompt came up?

Below is a collection of sites that can help you troubleshoot issues logging into your Office 365 account.

SharePoint Online, Sharing Content With External Users

The ability to invite external users to the Team site is enabled by default, so site owners and site collection administrators can share the Team site or any of its subsites with external users at any time. However, if you are the Office 365 admin, you can choose to disable the feature for all sites so that no future invitations can be sent. When this feature is deactivated, any external user currently invited to sites will no longer be able to access the sites.

Enabling external sharing is not the same thing as enabling anonymous access. When external sharing is enabled, users must be authenticated (by signing in) before they can access internal resources.

  1. Go to Admin > Service Settings > sites and document sharing.
  2. Do one of the following:
    • Turn on external sharing
    • Turn off external sharing

Image showing the on/off control for allowing external users access to your team site and documents.

SECURITY

  • When you deactivate external sharing, any external users who had access to the site at the time the feature was deactivated are denied access to the site and no future invitations can be sent. If the feature is reactivated with external user names in the SharePoint permissions groups, then those users will automatically be able to access the site again. To permanently prevent a user from accessing the SharePoint site, you can remove them from the list of external users.
  • If external sharing is turned off globally, any shared guest links will also stop working. If the feature is later reactivated, these links will resume working. It is also possible to disable individual links that have been shared if you want to permanently revoke access to a specific document.

Remove individual external users

If you need to remove external users so that they no longer have access to sites that have been shared with them, you can do so by removing them from the list of external users in Office 365 Service Settings.

  1. Go to Admin > Service Settings > sites and document sharing.
  2. Click Remove individual external users.
  3. Select the external users you want to remove, and then click Delete (the trash can icon).