Month: May 2011

Took beta exam 77-886 Microsoft Office Specialist: SharePoint

Today, I took the beta exam for the upcoming Microsoft certification for Information Workers. A blog post at Born to Learn gives more details if you want to do so as well (but only until end of May, few days left!):
http://borntolearn.mslearn.net/btl/b/weblog/archive/2011/05/12/calling-all-sharepoint-aficionados-take-the-mos-beta-exam.aspx

I prepared myself by first looking at the list of topics on the official exam page:
http://www.microsoft.com/learning/en/us/exam.aspx?ID=77-886

To track my progress, keep learning resources in location, but ultimately also to help others, I created a spreadsheet that contains links to relevant learning sites for the individual topics:
Excel-Icon/1_moderynet_–_share-manage-govern/resources/77-886%20Learning%20Plan.xlsx.html
(Learning Plan / Study Guide)

What helped me most, however, were my years of experience working with SharePoint, also in a “site owner” role. Most of the things that this exam covers have been done by me multiple times, if not more often (add an announcement..hah, easy points!).

When I did a last minute search before the exam today, I found another blog entry by Wes Hackett with links as well (mostly the same):
http://weshackett.com/2011/05/microsoft-office-specialist-mos-77-886-study-guide/

How did the exam go? I don’t want to share too much detailed information as I’m under a NDA, but I hope that the following points will still be useful for others:

  • The format of the exam is a lot better than the format of the SharePoint 2007 exams, it is a much more realistic exam
  • The best way to prepare is to go through all points in the list of topics at least once. Nothing beats hands-on experience! I could answer a lot of questions simply from relying on nearly four years of experience (mostly with 2007)
  • I experienced a bug towards the end of the exam where I encountered a few questions from either the 70-667 or the 70-668 exam. I was presented with Central Admin, and had the pleasure of working with service apps and the search. I tried to answer them to my best knowledge, but as my final score in that section was lower than the others, I either answered partially wrong, or maybe the answers weren’t even counted. Of course this is something that can be expected in a beta, it surely won’t happen in the final exam

I also saw another blog post today about this exam by Marc Molenaar, he managed to get a score of 793 (mine was "only" 747, though I don’t quite know what I did wrong, except for the above mentioned bug during the exam):
http://www.information-worker.nl/2011/05/23/score-sp2010-beta-exam-77-886

Would I recommend this exam to others? In my opinion, this is a very good step by Microsoft. It allows people who are "only" managing sites to get an official certification, and the exam I took today seemed to ask the right questions (at least I would expect a site owner to be able to answer the majority of those questions). So yes, I would recommend it to others.

Providing multiple email addresses for a user in Office 365 (P1)

There are many situations where you want to provide multiple email addresses for one user. For example, you might want to assign the email address jobs@contoso.com to your HR manager Maggie, who also uses her default address maggie@contoso.com. Or your CEO may want to have the "vanity address" ceo@contoso.com. Additionally, you may want to add addresses in the format firstname.lastname@contoso.com. so that Maggie also receives email send to maggie.chan@contoso.com.

To set up additional email addresses for an account (which does not require any additional licenses, as these are not accounts, but "normal" email addresses only).

Log in as the administrator, and go to the administration site. On the Overview page, click on General settings under Outlook
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You get to see a list of all accounts. Select the account for which you want to provide an additional email address and click on Details

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A new window pops up with several sections related to the account’s details. Scroll down until you see E-Mail Options and expand it. The account’s primary email address (which is the user’s login) will be displayed as well as any other already existing email addresses. Click on Add… to add a new address.
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Yet another window opens, where you can enter the desired prefix for the address as well as the domain.
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As the P1 plan only allows you to add one domain to your Office 365 account, you will only get to see a list of three options for the domain here: your microsoft domain (@xyz.onmicrosoft.com), your own domain (@contoso.com) as well as your own domain with www in front of it (@www.contoso.com)

If you select an email address that is already in use, an error will be shown:
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Please note that your primary email address is still the address used for sending and receiving email. Any other email accounts will forward their incoming mails to this account, but cannot be used for sending.

Synchronising Office 365 Email with your iPhone

If you are like me, you check your email every 5 minutes, from everywhere. Being an iPhone user, I check my private as well as my corporate emails on it from the time I leave the house (or while I have breakfast) until I go to bed (just to make sure that I didn’t miss any important email! Though I rarely get one that I would classify as this important…).

Checking my Office 365 based email account on it is a fairly easy process, setting it up requires less than 5 minutes.

First, go to the iPhone’s settings. Click on Mail, Contacts, Calendars8

Next, select Add Account…
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As Office 365 uses Microsoft Exchange (naturally…), click on Microsoft Exchange
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You now need to enter your account information. Under both Email and Username, enter your email address. Leave Domain blank and enter your Password. Enter a descriptive name (for example again your email address) under Description
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The iPhone will then try to establish a connection to the server. If it was successful, you can see a bit more information, a field called Server will show up and be filled with the relevant server URL.
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If the server URL is missing, you can actually find it out by going to your web based Outlook, and select About under the help link:
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A new window will pop up, and you can find the correct server URL under External POP setting:
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After you confirm, as a final step you can then select what you want to synchronise. Choose a combination of Mail,Contacts, and Calendars.
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If you need further help setting up your Email client, visit the official site: http://help.outlook.com/en-US/140/cc875966.aspx, or the specific article for the iPhone: http://help.outlook.com/en-us/beta/dd125429.aspx

Adding a domain to your Office 365 P1 plan (SME)

Now that Office 365 has been in Public Beta for a month, it’s finally time for me to publish my first blog entry on it.

I’m going to briefly show how you can add your own domain to your Office 365 P1 plan, which is the simplest plan available and suitable for small businesses up to 50 users. The drawback of this plan when it comes to domains is that you can add one domain only, multiple domains isn’t possible.
Please note that this guide is not valid for Enterprise plans, which are more flexible and thus also more complicated to set up.

Adding your own domain to your account is a 3-step process:

  1. Specify the domain (simply enter the URL)
  2. Verify the domain (you need to verify that you are the owner of the domain by adding a CNAME record. Microsoft does a good job at providing one with all the relevant information if you’re hosting your domain with GoDaddy, possibly also for other hosters.
  3. Once the domain is verified successfully, you need to modify its name server records so that any incoming request will be handled by the Microsoft name servers, and thus your Office 365 site is accessible through the domain.

To get started, log in to your account. On the overview page, click on Admin at the top:

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When you’re on the Admin Overview page, click on Add an verify your domain in the main content area, alternatively you can also reach it through the Domains link to the left.

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You’re now using the Add a domain wizard. As said before, the first step is to specify your domain. Enter it in the textfield and click Check domain

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Microsoft will then query the Domain registrar and registrant name information and display it. If this is correct (and it is in fact your domain), click Next.

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The next step now is to verify your domain. The screenshot below lists the information provided if you use GoDaddy.

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Once you have added the correct information as a CNAME record for your domain and click Next, the verification process will take place. If it is successful (so, if it is indeed your domain and you entered the exact information as provided), you need to move on to the last step.

The final task for you is to edit the name server records, so that any queries (emails, opening the site in the browser, etc.) don’t go to your original hoster’s name servers, but to Microsoft’s. Please note that this update can take up to 72 hours.

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Congratulations! You’ve just added your own domain name to your Office 365 in three (more or less) simple steps.

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Opening your domain in the browser, you will be able to see your site within 72 hours:

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The official help page for adding domains to your SharePoint Online / Office 365 public website can be found at http://onlinehelp.microsoft.com/en-us/office365-smallbusinesses/gg549209.aspx

Adding SharePoint 2010's Document ID to a Word document

One of the new features of SharePoint 2010 is Document IDs, which give each document in a site collection its own unique ID. It is possible to have this Document ID added to a Word document stored inside a SharePoint library, making it extremely useful if you need to have a unique identifier printed on each of your Word documents.

It is very easy to do so, follow these simple steps:

  1. Ensure that Document IDs are activated in your site collection: http://office.microsoft.com/en-ca/sharepoint-server-help/enable-and-configure-unique-document-ids-HA101790471.aspx
  2. To add the Document ID to a Word document in your library, first open the document in Word
  3. Go to where you want to add the Document ID (header, footer, content), and click on Insert on the ribbon
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  4. Under Quick Parts, Select Document Property, and you get to see a list of possible values. Select Document ID Value
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  5. That’s it! Save the document, and from now onwards it will always contain its Document ID
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Short Update: Please remember that Document IDs are assigned by a timer job. That means that they may not be assigned immediately, but that some time may pass until the timer job gets active.