Setting text language in Office Online

Some people don’t wish to use the default English (U.S.) as their preferred language for Office Online when they create new documents there. Interestingly, you can change the option but it doesn’t seem to work for all languages. Here’s how to change the setting, but it has limitations.

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In my case, my production tenant is set up in Australia. The language I use everywhere is English (Australia). You would think that this applies to any new document created using Office Online. Not so, it seems. If I create a new Word document using the web interface as shown above, I get:

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but if you look in the lower left you see:

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If you click on the language text you get:

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Here I can select English (Australia) as my language. Now my document reports:

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All good right? Sure, until you create a new document using Office Online. You are then back to original language. In my case  English (U.S.) not English (Australia)! I don’t want to be changing the language manually for every new document I create with Office Online. How do I therefore make my preferred language ‘stick’ with Office Online?

As far I can tell, to make a different language ‘stick’ for a user when they use Office Online they will need to do the following:

1. Login to the Microsoft 365 portal (https://portal.office.com) with their own credentials.

2.  Select their Account Manager icon in the top right of the portal window like so:

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3. From the menu that appears select My Office profile like so:

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4. Select the Update profile button the Delve page like so:

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5. On the Update your profile page, locate and select How can I change language and region settings? as shown:

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6. This reveal a new line that includes a hyperlink on the word “here” as shown below, which you need to select. Note the additional instructions it also gives you – click the ellipse (…) and then choose Language and Region.

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7. As the previous instructions detailed, on the Edit Details page select the ellipse (…) like so:

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8. From the items that are displayed, select Language and Region as previously directed:

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9. Select the option to Show Advanced Language Settings as shown:

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10. Select the Pick a new language for both of the selection boxes displayed like so:

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11. It is at this point that not all options are accepted it turns out. In my case if I select English (Australia), the Office Online documents continue to open with English (U.S.). As it turns out, the best I can do in my case is set the language to English (United Kingdom) and then select the Add button like so:

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If you want another language, you’ll probably have to try a few to see whether they ‘stick’.

12.  My end result looks like:

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You’ll also need to either remove the existing language (as I have done, so English (U.S.) no longer appears) or change the priority of the language added, via the up/down arrows on the right of the language, and place it at the top of list to make it the default.

13. Scroll to the bottom of the page and make sure you select Save all and close to update your preferences:

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14. Lastly, you’ll need to wait about 15 minutes or so it seems for this to take effect.

If you now open a new Office Online document, you should now see the selected language as default like so:

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Phew, that’s a lot of work isn’t it? It may not be English (Australia) but it is now much closer to that than what it used to be. Remember, that each individual who wants their language changed for Office Online will need to complete these steps.

Next challenge, how to script it with PowerShell for bulk deployment? Not sure I want to go down that rabbit hole. We’ll see. Let me know if you’d find value in a script to make these changes across your tenant.

Microsoft 365 Automation presentation

These are the slides from my recent presentation on the automation options available in Microsoft 365.

The most important take away I believe is that we live in a world dominated by software. This fact is highlighted that:

Software is eating the world

There are plenty of reasons not to focus on software as a success path but that major reason to is simply the opportunity it provides, especially if most others believe it is all too hard.

It is important remember that software is a skill not a talent. This means it is something that can learned and improved continually over time. There is no such thing as a born developer. Some may have a higher aptitude to software development than others but that doesn’t means it isn’t something you can develop and learn.

As you ponder the worth of automation, have a look at all the simple processes you repeat continually throughout your day. Why is that? Why are these not automated? We live in a world of abundant technology. Most people carry a computer with them that is more powerful that the one that landed on the moon, yet it seems we all have less time to do the things we really enjoy. Why is that? We have allowed technology to master us, rather than using software to make it do our bidding.

The place to start with Microsoft 365 automation is on the desktop. Applications like Word, Excel, and so on contain the ability to record processes via macros and replay these quickly and easily. In fact it will actually convert these actions into code that can be further modified. Every Office application has a huge set of tools to assist with automating processes.

Although tools like SharePoint Designer have now been depreciated they are still available to use. If you are doing work with SharePoint, especially migration, it is important that you have some idea about the workflows SharePoint Designer creates and how they can be maintained.

Third party services like IFTTT and Zapier provide the ability to connect to Microsoft 365 services. One place that I use IFTTT is to save a backup of each of my blog articles directly to a OneNote file I have saved in OneDrive. I use Zapier to automate my free SharePoint email course offering.

The important consideration here is that the automation does not have to be purely focused on a technical outcome. It can be used in many places inside a business, including marketing.

The Microsoft equivalent of tools like IFTTT is known as Microsoft Flow. It allows to connect to both Microsoft 365 and third party services and map a process around these. The great thing about Flow is that it can integrated to includes on premises resources as well as be extended. More power is also available with tools like Azure Logic App and Azure Functions, which can be easily integrated into Microsoft 365.

Introduction to Microsoft Flow

Automation is also available in Microsoft Teams by utilising either the built in bots or even going far as to build your own. You will also find that Teams has a Flow bot that you can incorporated. This shows you the power of the power of the Microsoft solution via the integration of tools throughout the stack. Delivering automation for a business through a services like Teams makes a lot of sense as many of your users are already here most of the time.

The automation tool that most IT Professionals should be focusing on without doubt is PowerShell. Unfortunately, this seems to be the one that garners the most resistance and there is no doubt that getting started with PowerShell can be challenging. However, there are options like Azure Cloud Shell that make this much easier and also allow you to access PowerShell through a browser or even a mobile app.

The way forward with PowerShell is to use it’s ability to integrate and take advantage of the Microsoft Graph. This avoids the need to load multiple cumbersome service modules. If you are looking to invest your time in PowerShell with Microsoft 365 then you should be investigating how to take advantage of the Microsoft Graph using it.

As a final point to consider, I’d recommend you take a look at the following video from Daniel Pink, especially at this point (from about 29 minutes in):

https://youtu.be/CUDqN7MNsRw?t=1662

Microsoft 365 Business adds shared computer activation (SCA) rights

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The above from is from the message center of a Microsoft 365 Business tenants confirming that Shared Computer Access (SCA) will very soon to be available in Microsoft 365 Business SKUs. This will allow those SKUs to install Office desktop software on things such as on premises servers with a Remote Desktop Services (RDS) role (aka on a Terminal Server).

To do so previous required an Enterprise (E) license. This is big news for Microsoft 365 Business and further improves the value of this SKU!

My OneNote daybook template

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A while back I detailed how I use OneNote to replace my paper diary. You can read about that here:

One of the ways I use OneNote

The main benefits of a “daybook” for me are:

1. It is searchable

2. It is backed up

3. It is available on all my devices

This concept of a “daybook” is something that I use in my Office 365 adoption process. I have users create their very own “daybook” as part of learning how to use OneNote and OneDrive.

Creating a whole OneNote diary can be time consuming and many people simply want a completed “daybook” template that they can start using immediately. If you do, then I have uploaded to my GitHub repository for you here:

https://github.com/directorcia/general/blob/master/Daybook.onepkg

Simply download the file and open it with your favourite version of OneNote.

Go forth, save the trees and OneNote.

OneDrive Office sync conflicts

I recently wrote an article about

Offline file conflicts with SharePoint Online

that ran through the process of what happens when users go offline when working on shared files.

After doing some more poking around in the latest OneDrive for Business sync client I found this under the Office tab in Settings:

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You can find more information on the first option here:

Use Office 2016 to sync Office files that I open

which notes:

If you turn off this setting, Office will no longer be able to automatically merge changes from different versions of documents. You’ll also be prompted to upload a new copy of a file before you can share it directly from an Office desktop app.

You can also elect how to handle Sync conflicts, which by default is set to Let me choose to merge changes or keep both copies.

The defaults options are going to suit most people but you can go in a customise these if you wish to improve how conflicts are handled in your environment.

Deploying Office on the desktop with Microsoft 365

Microsoft 365 has handy functionality to help administrators roll out software to Windows 10 machines that are connected directly to Office 365. One of these tools is the ability to roll out Office desktop software automatically. Here’s how you make it happen.

You’ll firstly need to have licensed Microsoft 365 in your tenant. Next, you’ll need to have user Windows 10 machines directly joined to Office 365.

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You’ll then need to login to the Office 365 portal as an administrator and navigate to the Admin center as shown above.

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In the Admin center you’ll find a Device actions tile as shown above.

In that tile you’ll see an option Manage Office Deployment. Select that.

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If this is the first time you have configured these deployment options you’ll need to select the + Add a group at the top of the page.

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In this case, the All Users group will be selected but you could certainly target the deployment at specific groups of users.

Click the Select button at the bottom of the page to continue.

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Next you want to install or uninstall Office for the selected group of users. Here, we’ll select Install Office as soon as possible.

Click Next to continue.

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Check that the configuration is correct and select the Confirm button at the bottom of the page.

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Select Close on the next dialog to continue.

If you now move to the user’s Windows 10 machines that is connected to Office 365 and launch the Task Manager you’ll be able to see how the process is executed on the desktop.

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After a short time you’ll see an Office Deployment process kick off.

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A short time later you’ll see a Microsoft Office Click-to-Run (SxS) process commence.

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You may see multiple versions of this process running throughout.

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Next, you’ll see the Microsoft Office Click-to-Run Integrator process kick off.

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If you continue to monitor the running processes you’ll see installation processes for Office applications like OneDrive and Skype for Business run.

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When the user runs an Office application for the first time they will prompted to Accept some terms and conditions then continue as shown above.

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When the Office software launches it will automatically be logged in as the user so there is nothing more for the user to do.

The whole deployment process is completely silent and user receives no prompts until they run an Office application for the first time. If you want to see what’s happening you’ll need to look in the Windows Task Manager as shown here.

So, if you use Windows AutoPilot you can also deploy Windows 10 automatically to a desktop. Thus, with Microsoft 365, an administrator can automatically deploy both Windows 10 and Office software to an Office 365 user’s desktop without the need to even see the desktop or the user!

This is just the beginning of what you can do with Microsoft 365 so stay tuned for more articles on how using Microsoft 365 makes it easier for IT Administrators.

Changes for Findtime

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One of the best Outlook add-ins and a great service from Microsoft was Findtime. It basically allowed you to easily schedule meetings amongst multiple people, within and outside Office 365.

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If you however visit Findtime today and try and sign up you’ll be greeted with the above message.

Basically, if you are a new user you can no longer sign up to Findtime. However, if you are an existing user of the service you’ll still be supported.

Although it says that FindTime will continue to be supported and that there will be some exciting news soon, I hope it won’t be too long, otherwise FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) will start to creep in about the future of FindTime.