David Overton's Blog and Discussion Site
This site is my way to share my views and general business and IT information with you about Microsoft, IT solutions for ISVs, technologists and businesses, large and small.  

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  • How to Use Office Conditional Formatting to put in icon sets comparing a range of cells, or relative references as Office calls it

    So it has been a while since I last dropped out a blog, but this one was useful to me at work, so I thought I would share. Office 2016 (or 2013 and 365) has some lovely functions, one of them being conditional formatting. I use this quite a lot, but one thing stumped me. Below is what I wanted to get to: When I wanted to compare to tables of data and put in place icons to show if the data had moved up or down, I could not do it. Excel would politely tell me that “This type of reference cannot be used in a Conditional Formatting formula” Now, not being one to like these limitations, I realised that I could do it cell by cell, but that would be an awful lots of mouse clicks, so I’ve written this short piece of VBA to do it for you. To open the VBA environment, press-Alt-F11 then right click your VBAProject and select Insert Module. You can then paste the code from below into that window and modify the CompareIcons sub to match your needs. The “CompareIcons” sub makes a call GenericIconsComparison...
  • Fixing my Office 365 Lync Voice (P1) and PGi world wide phone integration problems–error ID 3110 (source ID 243)

    I use Office 365.  Probably no surprise for many, but I like the world wide access and simplicity.  However, since leaving Microsoft I found having to Skype people a little frustrating if I wanted to host a multi-party conference call, especially if some people need to dial in using a phone, rather than Lync from a PC.  To this end I ended up purchasing a certified solution from PGi. PGi charge me per minute per person and I have dial in and out capability, so I can dial people to join the call and people can dial in with numbers for most countries around the world.  Perfect, just like the solution I had when I worked at Microsoft. Except it didn’t work.  People could dial the conference number and hear each other and others could be connected via VoIP, but the two groups could not hear each other. Not the solution I wanted.  I ran the DNS tests that Microsoft asks for and did test calls with the nice people from PGi, but nothing was showing up as the error.  Searching the internet...
  • Diagnosing connectivity problems to Exchange and Office 365

    I was asked today about an Outlook synchronisation of the address book over the web (RPC over http) and did some digging and found this excellent diagnosis tool - https://www.testexchangeconnectivity.com .  The nice thing is that it tests many products – Exchange, ActiveSync and Office 365 . Once you start the tool you have to choose what diagnosis you want: or After you have completed your sign-in details, you get the results.  In the example below it shows that my certificate is not publically signed and a number of other issues that I could address if they were the cause of connectivity issues (but I don’t need to as I get the functionality I want with the current setup)   ttfn David
  • Comparing a Word document on Office Web Apps on SkyDrive or Office 365 to Google Apps

    Hi, I’ve been asked this before, so I thought I would share this today.  I don’t use Google Apps, so I don’t have personal experience of the services, however I work with companies who employee’s choose to use the services – often because they can’t access the corporate environment from home or have file size limits that stop them.  Anyway, I do use Word, Excel and PowerPoint and I use quite a lot of the features in my documents (e.g. the book and reports in Word, my personal finance spread sheet in Excel and numerous presentations in PowerPoint).  I’m fussy, I like my documents to render the same, no matter what device I’m accessing them from and especially when I’m presenting.  I’ve always seen the differences when they are shared with products other than Office and have been known to spend a couple of hours fixing them up once they come out of the “other” services.  People ask me why I stick to Microsoft, this is one of the reasons. Today I saw this - http://bit.ly/tSedOC – it has a...
  • Microsoft Cloud Services Get Major Service Updates, New Customers: New features in Microsoft Office 365 and updates to sharing in Microsoft SkyDrive make it easier for people to work together.

    I saw this and just had to blog it.. The graphic on the left has amazing information – 41 of Interband Top 100 run on Microsoft’s cloud productivity services. 90% of Office 365 customers (not the seats, but the customer count) are SMEs with less than 50 employees.  You can guess the big customers from the stats. The PR can be found at Microsoft Cloud Services Get Major Service Updates, New Customers: New features in Microsoft Office 365 and updates to sharing in Microsoft SkyDrive make it easier for people to work together. One last thing I like, since I’ve been hearing people say “SharePoint is hard for file sharing” – SkyDrive works with Office 365 too.  This is simple, drag and drop and works natively with Office! Snippets from the PR statement: Small Businesses and Big Brands Bet on Office 365 More and more large global companies are choosing Office 365 to enable their employees and customers to work together in the cloud. In fact, more than 40 per cent of the global Interbrand list of the 100 top...
  • How to find out about service disruption for Office 365, BPOS, Windows Azure and Windows Intune

    Hi, I got this e-mail from Microsoft, but wanted to share with all should you ever need to get this information.  The key elements are:       1. Today: Educate Yourself 2. During the Event: Stay Informed 3. After the Event: Understand the Situation 1. View service status via the Service Health Dashboards BPOS: Americas: https://health.noam.microsoftonline.com Europe: https://health.emea.microsoftonline.com Asia/Pacific: https://health.apac.microsoftonline.com Windows Azure Service Health Dashboard Windows Intune Service Service Status 2. Office 365 Within the Dashboard, Click on "Service Health" in the left column of the Admin Overview under Support 3. Sign up for Windows Azure and BPOS-S RSS Feeds via the Service Health Dashboards 1. Track customer updates on the service dashboards 2. Subscribe to Twitter Handles: @MSOnline @Office365 @Windows Intune @Windows Azure The Microsoft Online Services Team will convey the latest updates via the above Twitter Accounts. 1. Request the Post...
  • Office 365 integration module beta for Windows SBS 2011 Essentials

    Hi, I just saw this on the wires and wanted to share it, although please note that this build is for evaluation purposes only. You should not install this in a production environment. Microsoft does not license you for, nor support installing in these environments. You can download the preview package from by navigating to it in the download section of the connect site or by using this link . Please refer to Release Documentation for installation and uninstallation instructions. Feedback is very important to Microsoft. In order for Microsoft to gather feedback on any issues encountered while using this build, please submit all bug reports for this release using the bug reporting form on MS Connect , via the http://connect.microsoft.com/SBS web site. It goes without saying that in order to participate in the Beta Program you need to be signed up on the connect site. Thanks David Technorati Tags: SBS 2011 , Office 365 , Cloud , Microsoft , SBSC
  • How does a SBS partner win / lose with Windows Intune–discuss

    Hi, I don’t run my own business offering support to customers, but I thought I would put out a suggestion, since some partners have asked me “how do I make money from the cloud?” Before I start I really do have to stress that this is NOT MY DAY JOB and that my opinions here are MINE and not those of Microsoft.  They may align, they may not, but I have been thinking about this and wanted to share MY thoughts and then see what others had to say about it. There are so many answers and depending on the customer, the answer may well be “you can’t, not yet.”  However, I’ve tried to draw 3 comparison graphs on how I see things changing.  I mean, the number of times I’ve heard SBSC partners say “I want the management functionality of SBS, but I don’t want Exchange”, well, we have that with SBS Essentials now.  There are other times when customers don’t visit the office often enough and while Direct Access can solve some problems, only if the customer has the infrastructure for it. If not, unless a...
  • New role–Enablement Partner strategy

    I thought I would share some details of my new role at Microsoft, which is still as a Partner Account Manager, but also responsible for the Enablement Partner strategy.  Obviously this is my day job with my author and blogging work still being a personal project for the evenings and weekends. So what are Enablement Partners you may ask?  Well they are partners who provide technology or services that help a customer (or another partner) deploy their chosen Microsoft technology, but do not deliver the project itself.  This may sound complex, so let me give you some examples: AppSense provide a host of technology, but it is around managing the user so they have a great experience no matter which device they log into and their profile flows between these devices, regardless of which version of Windows they are using (XP, Vista, 7, Server, 64-bit, 32-bit).  The direction is forwards and backwards.  They also offer many other benefits such as locking down licenses to specific devices which is...
  • Office 365 for small businesses

    I got this e-mail and thought I would share as I love Office 365.  I'm moving my e-mail there as £4 per user per month is just amazing! Are you ready to embrace the cloud computing revolution? It could cost much less than you think. Microsoft Office 365 gives growing businesses access to Microsoft's most advanced collaboration and communication technology – just the thing if you want to become more productive and competitive. It lets you: • Deal with email, work on documents and stay in touch almost anywhere • Share diaries, contacts and tasks with colleagues • Store company documents in a central, secure online filing cabinet • Communicate via online chat, web conferences and email Big capability, small price Microsoft Office 365 costs from £4 per user per month with no upfront costs or capital expenditure. Just pay as you go. It's a surprisingly small amount of money considering the benefits it offers. Just think of how little you get for the same amount: • A gallon of petrol 1 • A single edition...

(c)David Overton 2006-18