Understanding More of the Free Office 365 Benefits to Students


There are different scenarios around how the new Office 365 free offering of Office 365 Pro Plus and it is important to know this if you are a council/district, college or IT Manager for your school.

Microsoft offering Office 365 Pro Plus is great but does come with different configurations to your Office 365 tenant and knowing what they are is important to supporting your schools.

First you need to know which scenario you are in but it is important that you read each of these to fully understand what is going on.  The scenarios are based around how you currently use Office 365 and you domain name registered in Office 365.

  • First User to request license and no Office 365 tenant registered with your domain name
  • All other users request license and no Office 365 tenant registered with your domain name
  • First user to request license and domain is registered in Office 365
  • Domain is registered in Office 365 but users are not created

First User to Request License and no Office 365 Tenant created

As part of the process behind the sign up process of Office 365 for teachers and students it will check that your domain is eligible to have a license.  Microsoft have a checking process but that is currently unknown but if a user passes they can they get Office 365 Pro Plus.  What this does in the background as the user requesting the license it will create a full Office 365 Education tenant with your school domain name verified in it.

Office 365 licenses are added to that tenant however not all elements are added to the user.  The new Office 365 Education for Student license includes

License include in Office 365 Education for Student Added as part of Scenario
Yammer Yes (No effect as Yammer is not provisioned as part of Office 365 tenant creation process)
Office Online for Education Yes
SharePoint Plan 1 for EDU Yes
Exchange Online (Plan 1) No
Office 365 Pro Plus Yes
Lync Online (Plan 2) No

Users are given Office Online and SharePoint as this gives them OneDrive for Business allowing them to have 1TB of storage and will be available to them when they install Office 365 Pro Plus on their device.

Note: Because this tenant now has your school domain name added, you will not be able to add it to another tenant until it is removed.  There is a process to get admin access to this tenancy which I will post about soon.

Additional Users request and no Office 365 tenant registered

As a follow on from the above, the next users requesting eligibility will have a username created in the same Office 365 tenant and the same license assigned as above.

First User to Request License and Domain is Registered in Office 365 (UK and other EU countries, not sure about about worldwide)

In this scenario, you would have created your Office 365 tenant and registered your domain in there.  By default, when a user requests eligibility it will do a check to see if the domain is verified in Office 365 and then ask the user to log in.  If they haven’t got a username they will not be able to get Office 365 Pro Plus.  If they log in and the domain passes its eligibility tests, they will be given just the Office 365 Pro Plus part of the Office 365 Education for Student license and keep what ever they currently have.

What happens is that  Office 365 Education for Students and Office 365 Education for Faculty licenses are added to your tenant.  It adds 1 million student licenses and 500,000 faculty which you can then use to assign to all your users.

Domain is registered in Office 365 but users are not created but can be.

You might think I’ve covered this in the scenario above, however there is a setting which will allow students and teachers to create users in your tenant.  This is turned off by default but can be enabled if you want it to.

Set-MsolCompanySettings -AllowAdHocSubscriptions $true

If you have got hold of your tenant from the first time following the first two scenarios, you may want to turn this setting to false.

Set-MsolCompanySettings -AllowAdHocSubscriptions $false

You will need the Azure AD PowerShall Cmdlets to do this.


Get Microsoft Office for Free: Students and Teachers


So the title is correct – you can now get Microsoft Office for free if you are Student and Teacher.

Its known as friction free but how does it work and where do you go to get it?

The solution is part of Office 365 and even if your school doesn’t have it, you can still get Office for free by registering.

So to get it, if you are a student you need to go to office.com/getoffice365 and if you are a teacher go to office.com/teachers.

What do I get?

  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel
  • Microsoft PowerPoint
  • Microsoft Outlook
  • Microsoft OneNote
  • Microsoft Publish
  • One Drive for Business (1TB of Storage)
Its important to note that the school domain has some validation against your schools Microsoft licenses that checks your school is editable.


How to get Office 365

Its important to know your school email address as you will need to know this as part of the subscription process.  Go to the correct URL above for student or teacher.

Click on Find out if you’re eligible



Enter your school email address


The website will now do a check to see if your school already has Office 365.  If it does it will ask you to log in.  If you don’t, it will ask you to create a username and password.


Agree to the terms and conditions


and then…..

You can download Office 365 Pro Plus….


It says I’m not eligible!! 

Well its not all bad news but you need to get your school domain registered with Microsoft.  Once I have more information on this, I’ll post it here

How to get Office 365 ProPlus Benefit for teacher & FAQ


In an post last night on the Microsoft in Education Blog, Anthony Salcito announced that Office 365 Pro Plus is now available to teachers as well as students.

Some time ago Student Advantage was released where schools could request from the Microsoft Licensing Reseller licenses for their students and get Office 365 Pro Plus as part of their current license agreement.  Now renamed to Office 365 ProPlus Benefit for Students, teachers and faculty staff can also request a licenses but how do we get these added to the tenant?

Office 365 ProPlus Benefit for Teachers

It’s a matter of requesting the licenses from your Microsoft Licenser Reseller in the same way as you did for Student Advantage.  So get on the phone, get your email off and request your licenses.


Q. Is this one or two licenses?

A. These are two licenses, one for students and another for teachers.  Assign the right licenses to right stake holder.

Q. What should I get from my licensing reseller?

A. You will get an email per license type (one email for teacher licenses and another email for students)

Q. We only pay Microsoft Licenses for Full Time (FTE) staff.  Can I request more to cover all faculty and teachers?

A. Yes you can, all you need to do is request the number of licenses you want from your reseller.

Q. What do I do when I have received the licenses and added them to my Office 365 Tenant?

A. You must assign the licenses to the students and teachers that you want to have this functionality

Q. What is included in the license?

A.  The following are included in the full version of Office 365 Pro Plus Benefit for teachers and students

  • Word
  • Excel
  • PowerPoint
  • OneNote
  • Outlook
  • Lync
  • Publisher

Q. Do you have anything that would help me promote this around the school?

A. Take a look at the promotional material from the Microsoft UK Education team on their slideshare.


Prevent Users from Creating Groups in Office 365


As Microsoft are starting to role out Groups to all Office 365 tenants we might have the need to disable the function of creating them.Disable-Creation-of-Office-365-Groups

Groups are a great feature but you may not be ready for them, want to create training material before giving them to user or only allow certain users to create them.

The PowerShell script to do this is based on the Outlook Web Access policy for your organisation but you can also create other and assign them to users if you want.

set-OwaMailboxPolicy -GroupCreationEnabled $false -Identity OwaMailboxPolicy-Default

What is important here is that it does not remove Groups, it only prevent users from creating them.  Here are some screenshot of the experience to the user

When Groups are added to your Office 365 Tenant


While the OWA Policy is being replicated or the user hasn’t freshed their browser


When the change has been implemented


#Office365 Pro Plus: Click to Run vs Office on Demand


Did you know there were two ways of getting Office 365 Pro Plus when you get the license in Office 365.  With E3, A3 and the individual licenses you get the ability to use Office on your local desktop using a form of streaming and caching on your machine to so you can use Word, Excel, Outlook etc when you want with and without an internet connection.


What many people don’t realise is that there is also Office On Demand built into Office 365 which you are licensed for when you get hold of the Office 365 Pro Plus license.

Office On Demand

Located as a page in the SharePoint Online feature, users can stream Office to their computer.  The version is not installed (even though a file of less than 1MB is used to make it all happen) or cached and is a pure streaming version of office.

Unlike the full Office download, it requires your internet connection to always be up and connected for you to use it but does allow you to use the latest and greatest where ever you are without having to worry about large downloads.

To access Office on Demand you have to navigate to your Office 365 OneDrive for Business where it is then located down the left and side.


With Office On Demand, there are some application not available such as Outlook.  If you are on the move, Outlook Web Access should provide you with great functionality.

Application Full Download On Demand
Word Yes Yes
Excel Yes Yes
PowerPoint Yes Yes
Access Yes Yes
Publisher Yes Yes
InfoPath Yes No
Outlook Yes No
OneNote Yes No
Lync Pro Client Yes No
Visio No Yes (with correct license)
Project No Yes (with correct license)



Here are some other details and features

Feature Download On Demand
Initial Download required Yes Yes (but Microsoft quote no install is required)
Size of download 0.9MB 0.9MB
Additional Downloads Yes No
Offline Availability Yes No
Available from Office 365 Portal OneDrive for Business

What Else with Office on Demand

There are additional features with Office on Demand over Office 365 Pro Plus which includes Visio and Project.  These are also available if you have them licensed as part of your Office 365 subscription.

When to use Office on Demand

Using Office on Demand from your OneDrive Quick Launch is a great choice when you’re:

  • On a PC that you don’t use regularly (you don’t want to use up one of your 5 permissible subscription licenses, for example).
  • On a PC where you don’t have admin rights to perform an installation (you’re using a borrowed computer, for example).
  • On a PC at home if your IT administrator has disabled your ability to manage your installations (you’d like to install Office, but this option is not available).

quoted from office.microsoft.com

Adding Yammer to your Office 365 education tenancy


Since it was first announced that Yammer was being made available to Office 365 Education customer for no additional cost, I’ve seen a fair few people and individual waiting for it to be added so they can use the enterprise solution for collaboration for groups, classes and teaching and learning.

Well we’ve had to wait a little long that we had hoped but its now available for you to start using but you first have to provision your Yammer networks under you domain name.

To point out a few things first.

  • Yammer is not yet single sign on to Azure Active Directory so users will be asked to authenticate and they could have a different password between the 2 environments.
  • If you want single sign on to your Local Active Directory.  You can do this but it is a separate ADFS and DirSync install
  • Yammer licenses are added automatically to the user but you have to provision your tenancy first

To do the provisioning of your Yammer Network log into your Office 365 Education tenancy, from the dashboard look for included services


In this section you will see Active Yammer Enterprise.  Click Yes to start the provisioning wizard


Click Activate Yammer Enterprise and you’ll be advised that the process could take some time (1 to 30 minutes)


By default all Office 365 Global Administrators will be made administrators in your Yammer environment.


Each user now has to be signed up for Yammer.

How to Implement Student Advantage in Office 365 Education


There are currently two ways of implementing Student Advantage licenses to your Office 365 Education tenancy.  Both of these are descripted below depend on the code you get from the Microsoft licensing site.

Implementation 1

Log into your Office 365 Education Tenancy



Select purchase services from the left navigation and navigate down until you see Office 365 Pro Plus for Students


Click add and add the same number of licenses you have from your EES provider and also in your Microsoft Licensing Portal


Then click on add to cart and Check Out.

On the “Review your order” page you will see Enter Promo Code.  Enter the code you have been given.



You can now complete the process without entering an card information and start assigning licenses to your students.

Depending on your code, the above process may fail so you need to add it in a different way.

Implementation 2

What is important here is that you are already logged into your Office 365 tenancy you want these added to or when asked to sign in, you log into the correct area.

Navigate to http://www.office.com/setup365


At this point you may be asked to log into the tenancy.  Remember to log into the correct one if you have any test environments.  You will now need to enter your 25 digit Product Key


You will be asked to confirm the number of licenses with a final redeem button.


When logging into your tenancy and selecting billing you will now see the licenses added.


#SPSUK Slide deck: Understanding the Office 365 Architecture


It has been a great pleasure since 2010 when the UK hosted its first SharePoint Saturday to be able to present at this community event.

This year I was able to present in the new Cloud track and started the day of sessions of talking about the Office 365 Architecture.  Thank you to the 40+ people who attending my session and I hope you found the time relevant and it helps with your deployment of Office 365.

10 things you should know about Office 365 before signing up



1: It’s 4 products not 3

Many people look at Office 365 and think its 3 products; Exchange Online, Lync Online and SharePoint Online and approach it as 3 products.  Its better to look at it as 4 with the 4th being the identity process also known as Windows Azure Active Directory.

It is important that you approach these as 4 different products with Azure AD as the first of these.  If you ensure your Azure AD and if you implement it, DirSync and ADFS are perfectly configured, you will have far less issues in Exchange Online and SharePoint Online.  You can also sign up to Azure AD without Office 365 if you want to get that process started now.

2. ADFS and the sts.domain.com

Who said that your ADFS authentication website has to be sts.contoso.com?  You only follow the instructions from Microsoft and TechNet and they show it has to be sts.domain.com in their example.  Why not have something a little more user friendly like login.contoso.com or cloudlogin.contoso.com?  Do you know what sts stands for? Winking smile

3. You data is about to be deleted!

Well its not and the email is confusing.  When you sign up for a 30 day trial you are given 25 E3/A3 licenses but you may want a different plan such as A1, E2 or A4.  At the end of the 30 days you will purchase licenses and if you don’t purchase the 25 trail licenses they will be removed.  The email says your trial data will be deleted.   The data is only the licenses nothing to do with SharePoint or Exchange content.  Just make sure you have purchased licenses and no one is using the 25 trail licenses.


4. Being clever with licenses

Lets say you have 100 staff and one of your requirements is Visio Services in SharePoint Online.  Do some research in your organisation to find out if everyone needs access to Visio?  Having done your research you find that only 10 people need Visio while the others just need standard SharePoint.

When your SharePoint Online is created, you are given all the tools to develop the enterprise features such as Visio Services and they don’t go away if you only go for A2/E2.  The enterprise features will only work for those who are licensed.  If only 10 of the 100  need enterprise features, only buy the licenses you need and assign them to the right people.

5.  Office Pro Plus Licenses

If you are buying A3/E3 licenses because you get Office Pro Plus check the price difference between the yearly cost in O365 to the annual cost of your Microsoft agreement.  You may find that it is cheaper to buy them through your school agreement/Microsoft partner rather than through Office 365.  For those who are education, you are most likely going to find it is cheaper through an EES agreement rather than purchasing E3 licenses in Office 365.

6. Office 365 doesn’t mean SharePoint Online

As pointed out in number 1, Office 365 is 4 products.  If you just want Azure AD, just get Azure AD, you don’t need Office 365.  If you have pressure to move to Office 365 from your CTO, just do Exchange Online, or just Exchange and Lync.  Going with Office 365 doesn’t mean you have to implement all of the service and then pay for them.  Only need Exchange, only buy Exchange Online licenses.

7. Internet Connectivity

You need to ensure you have a robust internet connectivity and if it’s that important, a decent back up as well.  Moving to the cloud mean you are going to use internet service more.  Can your internet cope with additional traffic outbound and inbound?  What if the water engineer outside accidently cuts the fibre internet into your building.  How long can you business cope without Email, Lync and SharePoint?

One of the responses I heard to this was, we’ll send them all home and they can work from there and just use their own internet connection, that’s why they have laptops.  It wasn’t until I pointed out that their ADFS server used the same internet line to authenticate all their users from outside of the network they decided something had to change

8. Upgrades – THING CHANGE!

Having managed a few tenancies through the process of the 2010 to 2013 tenancy upgrade process, Microsoft will do changes and they will let you know when these are through the planned maintenance through the Office 365 Admin portal.  But be careful, Microsoft might change something without letting you know.  Be prepared just in case you need to send out a quick SharePoint Online fix.  If you want to know my experience, give me a call and I’ll happily tell you the stories.

9. Email Notifications from SharePoint

They all come from the same email address.  It doesn’t matter what farm you are on, your location in the world or data centre, it will come from no-reply@sharepointonline.com.  You can’t change it

10. External Contact and accessing content throughout your site

The external contact feature is great to invite individuals to share documents and sites but what if your site has content that is cross referenced to other sub-sites?  You need to make sure that when you are sharing content to an external contact, they also have access to anything else that links from that site (if you want to see it).  If you have heavily customised the look and feel of SharePoint and the external contact doesn’t have access to the company logo stored in the root site collection, it won’t show.

Google Drive vs Office Web Apps: Presentations


In this final post of this series we take a quick look at the differences between Google Drive and Office Web Apps, we are looking at Presentations.


The presentation is taken from Andrew Woodward’s @andrewwoody  session from the SharePoint Evolution conference in 2010 which has 1 slide that is heavily customised with animations.  We will take a look at how this runs in both versions and creating a new presentation as well.

Tests were preformed in Google Chrome on Windows 8, Google Drive and the Office Web Apps in SkyDrive Pro in Office 365.