Office 365 themes

As the classic Month Python film says:

“We’re all individuals”

and now Office 365 allows you to express this individuality in a number of ways.


Firstly as an Office 365 administrator login to the Office 365 web portal. Then in the top right select your company name.


Then select Custom theming from the menu on the left.

Now on the right you will see the options you can change.


You’ll see you get a fair amount of granular control.


You should also see that you can add a logo in the top left.


If a user now logs in they see that them, however they can change that if they want.


To do this they select the COG in the upper right and then Office 365 Settings from the menu that appears.


If they then select Theme from the menu choices on the left they will be presented with a number of pre-defined themes.

Simple select one to apply.


They will see that new theme replace the default one set by the administrator previously (don’t forget to press the Save button at the bottom of the page). This theme only applies for this user.

You can read more details about these theme updates and changes in this blog post:

Office 365 and Azure training in Brisbane

After plenty of recent interest in Azure and Office 365 I have decided to potentially offer 1 full days training on each in Brisbane on 7th and 8th of November in Brisbane.

In order for any training to take place I need financial commitments from at least 15 people for their attendance. Once the that number is reached the course will run but additional places in the course will increase.

So, if you are interested in attending training in Brisbane on the 7th and 8th of November on Office 365 and Azure, especially aimed at SMB then visit the following page:

and sign up. The initial cost is $250 ex GST per day (thus $550 ex GST for both). This includes all meals, notes, etc.

If the numbers reach the minimum of 15 people before the 7th of October, the courses will run but the entry price will increase to #375 ex GST per day.

If the numbers are not reached I will refund anyone who has signed up initially (less any processing cost occurred via the payment site).

At this stage, numbers are about 50% of the required 15 so if you are interested in Azure and Office 365 in sunny Brisbane come November, please express your interest now.

Enabling Office 365 first release

You not be aware that Delve is now rolling out to office 365 early adopters and then to every one.

First what is Delve? I think this video covers everything nicely;

Now that you know what it is you want it for your Office 365 tenant right? So how can you get on the earlier adopters, known as First Release program? Easy.


Login into your Office 365 web portal as an administrator. In the Office 365 admin center expand the Service Settings option. Then select the Updates option.


Now on the right ensure that the First Release option is set to on. Sooner rather than later you’ll get all the latest stuff for Office 365 including Delve which I’ll be covering in future posts so stay tuned.

OneDrive consumer max file size increased

Microsoft has announced that the consumer version of OneDrive now supports files up to 10GB (up from 2GB). There are also many other improvements outlined in this blog post:

The hopes is that we will see the same very soon for OneDrive for Business as well as improvements to the sync client as well.

Roll on OneDrive updates.

Installing Office 365 Pro Plus on an RDS Server–updated

**** Updated 1 October 2014 Please see:


Until 1 September 2014 the only way you were licenced to run Office from Office 365 on an RDS server was if you purchased it via Open licensing. Also, the only way that you could actually install it was making an additional purchase of Office Volume License Media and a Volume License key.

I detailed all of that in a previous blog post:

Post 1 September 2014 it is a brand new world.

Firstly, you no longer need to purchase additional Volume License media and keys to do the install on an RDS machine. You can use the Office Deployment toolkit.The way that you do that is well covered by fellow MVP Boon Tee here:

The lingering question was whether you still needed to purchase Office 365 via Open licensing to have this RDS facility.

In order to investigate this I returned to the links in my original blog post:

The primary source of truth is always the Office 365 Service Descriptions. if we now examine the Enterprise Value description at: 

we see:



So a couple of things to note here:

1. RDS is not permitted for Small Business premium

2. RDS IS permitted for M, E3 and E4

3. There are no caveats or foot notes as there used to be


If you click the Desktop Viirtualization link you see the above. again no mention of only being available via Open or not.

So it now seemed as though M, E3 and E4 from anywhere were now licensed for RDS. However, I wanted to be sure this was the case because a lot of people have purchased via Syndication (read T-Suite and the Microsoft portal), so I finally went to the source for the answer – Jeremy Chapman from Microsoft and here’s what he said:

Q. What you are saying is yes to for RDS via any method (expect for Business Premium)

A. Yes. Shared Computer Activation was actually built for this scenario primarily. It is also intended to solve for/replace the temporary exception in the PUR permitting volume license customers to use Office Professional Plus 2013 . The latter is actually the document update I’m referring to, as PUR applies to VL customers only. The rest of the base is allowed to use Office 365 ProPlus in on premises RDS as of September 1.

So there you have it, if you have an Office 365 M, E3 or E4 SKU, no matter where you bought it from, you can use it on an RDS server and now directly via Office 365 without needing VL media and keys. Jeremy also tole me additional information on this will become available in October.

I’m sure if I have missed something someone at Microsoft will tell me and I’m happy to update this information so please let me know if I have made a mistake here.

However, that all said, can I say here WELL DONE Microsoft for the change in RDS requirements with Office 365. These recent changes are significant for the SMB market and really show to me that Microsoft is listening and improving the Office 365 product in line with what people are asking for. It may not happen fast enough for some, but kudos on Microsoft for making it happen.

So there you have it. Office (M, E3 and E4) from Office 365 on RDS now equals YES YOU CAN.

Setting your start page in Office 365

When you visit the Office 365 portal you are normally greeted by your inbox via Outlook Web Access as you can see above. What you might not appreciate is that you can now customise that.
To change the page which you first see when you login to Office 365 login to the portal.
Select the COG in the top right (near your picture). From the menu that appears select Office 365 settings.
From the menu that appears on the left select Start page.
If you then pull down the option on the right (Set you start page) you will see that you can select from range of options shown above.
Make you selection and press the Save button to complete.

Next time you login to the portal you will be taken to the page you selected (here Sites).
Each user can customise their own Start page at any point using this method.

Are you coming to Office365 Nation?


From September 26 to 28 I’ll be in Redmond Washington, USA speaking at the Office 365 Nation conference. What will I will I be talking about? Here’s a list of my sessions:

T106: Coming to Grips with SharePoint Online

SharePoint is the heart and soul of Office 365 and major differentiator from the competition. It is a business that allows solutions to just about any business pain point, but how does it achieve this? Without a solid foundation in the fundamentals of SharePoint you are not going to be able to explain to customers how it solves their business needs. This course will help you understand everything in SharePoint Online, including OneDrive for Business, from the ground up, then how to demo it to clients and build solutions to help their business. If you want to stand out from the crowd then you need to know SharePoint and you need to attend this course.

T107: The Business of Yammer

Social is changing the way that business works today. It is fast becoming the de facto method of working for employees entering the workplace and it is something that is now part of Office 365 via Yammer. However, what is Yammer? What can it do? How do you make the best use of it even for small businesses. This course will take you through the basics and help you firstly understand why implanting social into a business is so important and then how to use the tools and abilities of Yammer via Office 365 to achieve this for clients. Collaborating is key for smart business in the future and this course will arm you with the knowledge to take advantage of this and be an expert in the field.

T108: Level up with PowerShell for Office 365

PowerShell is the THE tool for IT Professionals to administer and a mange Office 365. It provides access to many settings that are not available in the GUI. It provides faster deployment and management of just about all aspect of Office 365, from Exchange to Lync and SharePoint. To truly be a skilled Office 365 professional, you need to know and user PowerShell. This course will provide you exactly this skills. You’ll learn not only how to set up a PowerShell environment to connect to Office 365 but you’ll also learn some of the handy scripts you can use to make administration so much easier. If you want to manage Office 365 better and faster then this is course for you.

T109: Lync: The Red Headed Stepchild

Too often Lync is overlooked when it comes to Office 365. However it is a very powerful service that provides key benefits in Office 365. This course will firstly help you understand what Lync is and why it is so important to businesses large and small. You’ll learn how it is the easiest tool to pitch to decision makers and therefore the key service you should be using to leverage the complete Office 365 suite. If you want to convert more Office 365 stakeholders you must know Lync.

I’m luckily to be speaking at an event with many distinguished and experienced presenters who are aiming to provide IT professionals and business leader key information about how Office 365 and Microsoft cloud products are changing the way that business is conducted and opening unprecedented opportunities.

You can of course still register for the event at:

and to learn more about the conference visit:

so if you are interested in what I believe is some fantastic content I encourage you to register today.

If you are attending the in the area during these dates I always love to catch up with people and understand how they are taking advantage of products like Office 365 and Azure, so feel free to reach out to me and organise a time to meet. It’ll be a packed few days but I’m sure we can squeeze something in.

Hope to see you there.

Delve now rolling out

Microsoft has announced that Delve and Officegraph have started rolling out to people. You can read more here:

Take a look at this short video to understand what Delve and Officegraph are and how they can help you.

I’m still waiting for Delve appear on my Office 365 tenants (fingers crossed) but if you want to ensure you opt in to the Preview Features make sure you go to your SharePoint Online Admin Center and select Settings.


From there ensure you have the Preview Features set to Enabled as shown above.

I’ll post a review of my experiences as soon at Delve appears on my tenant. In he meantime, if you have Office 365 check you tenant NOW!