Microsoft Office 365 Administration Cookbook

By Nate Chamberlain
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  1. Chapter 1: Office 365 Setup and Basic Administration

About this book

Organizations across the world have switched to Office 365 to boost workplace productivity. However, to maximize investment in Office 365, you need to know how to efficiently administer Office 365 solutions.

Microsoft Office 365 Administration Cookbook is packed with recipes to guide you through common and not-so-common administrative tasks throughout Office 365. Whether you’re administering a single app such as SharePoint or organization-wide Security & Compliance across Office 365, this cookbook offers a variety of recipes that you’ll want to have to hand. The book begins by covering essential setup and administration tasks. You’ll learn how to manage permissions for users and user groups along with automating routine admin tasks using PowerShell. You’ll then progress through to managing core Office 365 services such as Exchange Online, OneDrive, SharePoint Online, and Azure Active Directory (AD). This book also features recipes that’ll help you to manage newer services such as Microsoft Search, Power Platform, and Microsoft Teams. In the final chapters, you’ll delve into monitoring, reporting, and securing your Office 365 services.

By the end of this book, you’ll have learned about managing individual Office 365 services along with monitoring, securing, and optimizing your entire Office 365 deployment efficiently.

Publication date:
September 2020
Publisher
Packt
Pages
442
ISBN
9781838551230

 

Chapter 1: Office 365 Setup and Basic Administration

Welcome to the Microsoft Office 365 Administration Cookbook. This book will share step-by-step instructions for completing basic to advanced administration tasks throughout the Office 365 ecosystem and is geared toward newer Office 365 administrators.

Many of the basic administration and tenant setup tasks are simple, but they require making decisions that are difficult to reverse or adjust later. In this first chapter, we'll cover important topics such as connecting a domain to your tenant, enabling PowerShell abilities, and migrating data to your new tenant. We'll also go over basic navigation and ongoing tasks administrators should commit to a routine.

We will cover the following recipes in this chapter:

  • Accessing the admin centers
  • Setting up the PowerShell environment
  • Viewing and filtering the roadmap
  • Discovering upcoming changes
  • Opening a service request
  • Monitoring service request status
  • Adding a domain
  • Changing the domain for users
  • Assigning a license to a user
  • Assigning a license to a group
  • Customizing navigation of the admin center
  • Personalizing your admin center home page
 

Technical requirements

This chapter requires users to have administrative privileges in Office 365. Those with a global administrator role will be able to perform every task in each recipe. Specific app and functional administrators will be able to do many of the recipes. Throughout the book, we'll cover recipes requiring certain admin roles. All of these can be assigned by a current global administrator via the Microsoft 365 admin center's Users blade if they're not already.

For the second recipe, Setting up the PowerShell environment, you will need to download the Microsoft Services Online Sign-in Assistant, but this is covered in the recipe. For all other recipes, no downloads/installations are required.

 

Accessing the admin centers

Admin centers provide an interface through which you'll configure global settings, restrictions, and allowances for each app and service in Office 365. In this recipe, you'll learn how to find the admin centers for all apps and services used for configuration, management, and reporting of Office 365 apps and services.

Getting ready

You must be a user assigned as a global administrator or have a specific app administrator role to be able to access the corresponding app's admin center.

How to do it…

  1. Go to the Microsoft 365 admin center at http://admin.microsoft.com.
  2. Select Show all from the left navigation menu:
    Figure 1.1 – The left navigation pane of the Microsoft 365 admin center

    Figure 1.1 – The left navigation pane of the Microsoft 365 admin center

  3. Select the admin center you wish to access from those that appear by default, or select All admin centers to view a complete list. The All admin centers view is seen here:

Figure 1.2 – All admin centers available to a user displayed in the Microsoft 365 admin center

Figure 1.2 – All admin centers available to a user displayed in the Microsoft 365 admin center

How it works…

By default, admin centers are "hidden" behind a Show all menu node in the Microsoft 365 Admin Center. Depending on your assigned role(s), you may be unable to access certain admin centers. In this recipe, you've discovered where they're listed and which of them are available to you.

Tip

Check out the last two recipes in this chapter, Customizing navigation of the admin center and Personalizing your admin center home page to make your admin experience simpler and more specific to your role.

Also, as you become more familiar with the various admin centers, you'll notice other Uniform Resource Locators (URLs) that will save you a couple of clicks, such as security.microsoft.com, compliance.microsoft.com, TenantName-admin.sharepoint.com, admin.powerplatform.microsoft.com, and so on.

See also

 

Setting up the PowerShell environment

PowerShell is an ever-growing scripting language that allows network and system admins to interact with Microsoft products in an elevated manner. Admins can use PowerShell to create new users, make changes to users, interact with MS-SQL tables, move and manipulate files, and much more. PowerShell cmdlets are single-purpose functions with specific rules and syntax, but there are hundreds of these cmdlets, giving admins a flexible and extensible toolset with which to customize, administer, and run their tenant.

As there are so many possible uses of PowerShell, Chapter 3, Administering Office 365 with PowerShell, is dedicated to the topic. However, every admin must start somewhere, and that is why the basic steps to setting up your PowerShell environment are presented here in the following recipe—steps for connecting your desktop or laptop to your Office 365 tenant.

Getting ready

To start, an admin must have PowerShell installed, either the command-line, black screen version or an Integrated Scripting Environment (ISE). You must have valid credentials and have an appropriate admin role (such as Global Admin).

As PowerShell for Office 365 has advanced, additional tools have become available to minimize previously known obstacles when making a connection to your tenant. For this, you must download the Microsoft Online Services Sign-In Assistant (the link for this appears in the See also section of this recipe). Download the files and install it on your PC.

The first time you connect to your Office 365 tenant, you'll want to set the Execution Policy to RemoteSigned. This is done by opening a PowerShell window with elevated rights (Run as administrator) and executing the following code:

Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned

Once prompted, press Y and hit Enter.

Additionally, you will need to execute and install the following PowerShell modules:

Install-Module MSOnline

You may be prompted that the NuGet provider is required in order to continue. Press Y and press Enter to continue. As it downloads, you may see an additional warning regarding an untrusted repository. The repository is Microsoft and is trusted, so press Y and press Enter to continue:

Figure 1.3 – Screenshot of PowerShell commands when installing the MSOnline module

Figure 1.3 – Screenshot of PowerShell commands when installing the MSOnline module

How to do it…

  1. Open Windows PowerShell or the PowerShell ISE as an administrator by searching for PowerShell in your applications, right-click, and select Run as administrator:

    Figure 1.4 – Right-clicking PowerShell from Start menu provides Run as administrator option

    Figure 1.4 – Right-clicking PowerShell from Start menu provides Run as administrator option

  2. Assuming a standard login (see There's more… section for information about multi-factor authentication (MFA)), you'll create a Windows PowerShell credentials object by executing the following command:
    $credential = Get-Credential

    Once executed, the PowerShell window will prompt you for your credentials. Click OK to proceed:

    Figure 1.5 – PowerShell prompts for credentials when using Get-Credential

    Figure 1.5 – PowerShell prompts for credentials when using Get-Credential

  3. With the credentials saved to the $credential variable, you can connect to Office 365 by executing the following command:
    Connect-MsolService –Credential $credential

    This is shown in the following screenshot:

    Figure 1.6 – PowerShell screen showing use of stored credential variable to connect to MsolService

    Figure 1.6 – PowerShell screen showing use of stored credential variable to connect to MsolService

  4. As the preceding screenshot shows, it is not clear if the system is connected. At this point, you can test to see if you are connected by executing the following command:
    Get-MsolDomain

    The Get-MsolDomain cmdlet shows you all domains associated with the connected tenant and proves you are ready to start using PowerShell as an admin tool on your tenant:

Figure 1.7 – PowerShell screen showing domains found using Get-MsolDomain

Figure 1.7 – PowerShell screen showing domains found using Get-MsolDomain

How it works…

You've just configured the essentials needed to complete most PowerShell cmdlets you'll need as an Office 365 admin.

PowerShell has been around for many years but historically has not required setup. On-prem network admins are expected to log in to a server and start executing commands. Interacting from your PC with an online tenant is technically a remote session (something PowerShell experts will recognize). Connecting in this way requires passing credentials to gain access to the tenant.

This recipe focused on getting you ready to use PowerShell in your tenant. Chapter 3, Administering Office 365 with PowerShell will cover many of the options available to an admin.

There's more…

If using MFA (not standard login), you'd authenticate by skipping Step 2 and removing the credential parameter from Step 3. Step 3 would instead resemble the following:

Connect-MsolService

This brings up the modern Office 365/Azure login screen that supports MFA.

See also

 

Viewing and filtering the roadmap

Microsoft 365 Roadmap lets you know what's in development and being released in Office 365 for all subscription types. You can filter the roadmap to identify only the changes and releases relevant to your environment and purchased licenses, then use that news to coordinate change management and communicate with your organization's leaders and users. In this recipe, we will explore the roadmap and learn how to maximize its usage.

Getting ready

The roadmap is publicly available and only requires internet access.

How to do it…

  1. Go to the Microsoft 365 Roadmap site at http://roadmap.office.com.
  2. Under Filters > Products, select Office 365:

    Figure 1.8 – The Microsoft 365 Roadmap filter pane's Products section

    Figure 1.8 – The Microsoft 365 Roadmap filter pane's Products section

  3. If you know your organization's chosen release phase, select it from under Release Phase to narrow down the results to only those relevant to your schedule:

    Figure 1.9 – The Microsoft 365 Roadmap filter pane's Release Phase section

    Figure 1.9 – The Microsoft 365 Roadmap filter pane's Release Phase section

  4. Lastly, choose your organization's subscription type (Education, GCC, Standard, and so on) from under Cloud Instance as they each have different schedules and available features.

Now, you can view and download (as a comma-separated values (CSV) file) the relevant releases and developments that affect your organization's tenant:

Figure 1.10 – A view of the Microsoft 365 roadmap when filtered to show O365 
Targeted Release for GCC

Figure 1.10 – A view of the Microsoft 365 roadmap when filtered to show O365 Targeted Release for GCC

How it works…

After accessing the roadmap online, you can filter, search, download, and share its contents that pertain to your environment and needs.

The roadmap is constantly updated and contains much more information than is relevant to any single organization. Using the filters in the filter pane to narrow down results first makes sure you're only consuming and sharing the updates that apply to your available apps and services included in your specific subscription and release phase. For example, GCC (Microsoft 365 Government) customers may never see certain features released to standard customers. This is because GCC tenants involve strict government data compliance, which may disallow utilization or potential risk of using certain features, connectors, and tools.

There's more…

You can use the Roadmap's Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feed to be alerted when new items are added, just as you might use to subscribe to a blog.

Also, utilize the search bar to find updates related to a specific app or service (such as SharePoint):

Figure 1.11 – The Microsoft 365 Roadmap's search function

Figure 1.11 – The Microsoft 365 Roadmap's search function

See also

 

Discovering upcoming changes

The Microsoft 365 Message center, found within the Microsoft 365 admin center, is a place to keep track of all upcoming changes, new features, and planned maintenance relevant to your environment. Official announcements from Microsoft are released through the Message center, giving a high-level overview and links to additional information. In this recipe, you'll access upcoming changes via the Message center.

Getting ready

You must have been assigned to an appropriate admin role in Office 365 or assigned the Message center reader role.

How to do it…

  1. Go to the Microsoft admin center for your tenant at https://admin.microsoft.com/.
  2. Under Health, select Message center.
  3. Now, you can see a list of active messages, messages filtered as being of high importance, or a filtered view of unread or archived messages:
    Figure 1.12 – The Office 365 Message center All active messages view

    Figure 1.12 – The Office 365 Message center All active messages view

  4. Click on any message title, and a right-side pane will open with the message details:
Figure 1.13 – An example message provided in the Office 365 Message center

Figure 1.13 – An example message provided in the Office 365 Message center

How it works…

Accessing the Message center will give you the information you need to stay on top of changes and enhancements and provide you with other information that may impact your business and its processes. In this recipe, we discovered available messages in the Message center and opened a message as an example.

Once each message loads, you are given several options. You can share the message (click the blue Share button or the Copy link button). Click the Mark unread button to leave the message as active/unread, which keeps it bold on the main Message center page.

Additionally, you can like/dislike announcements, mark for archive, or click on various information links for additional details.

There's more…

Using the Message center reader role is a smart way of keeping superusers or technology champions in the know about what is coming and how to prepare for it.

And for mobile-centric admins, the Microsoft Admin app for your mobile device will give you access to the Message center, on the go: https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?linkid=627216.

See also

 

Opening a service request

Service requests are how you ask Microsoft for assistance in resolving an issue in Office 365. By submitting a service request, you're asking to be contacted to elaborate on and discuss an issue further in pursuit of a resolution. In this recipe, we'll create a new service request.

Getting ready

You must be an Office 365 administrator to create service requests.

How to do it…

  1. Go to the Microsoft 365 admin center at http://admin.microsoft.com.
  2. Hover over the teal question mark icon in the lower right of the screen and select Need help? once it appears:

    Figure 1.14 – The Need help? button appears in the lower right-hand corner 
of the admin center

    Figure 1.14 – The Need help? button appears in the lower right-hand corner of the admin center

    OR from the left navigation menu, select Show all > Support > New service request:

    Figure 1.15 – The Microsoft 365 admin center's left-hand navigation menu's Support section

    Figure 1.15 – The Microsoft 365 admin center's left-hand navigation menu's Support section

  3. A panel opens on the right hand of the screen and, by default, you're able to chat with the automated Support Assistant to identify (and hopefully resolve) your issue. You can, instead, choose to toggle the automated assistant off and use Search instead:

    Figure 1.16 – The Support Assistant is selected instead of Search when creating a new service request

    Figure 1.16 – The Support Assistant is selected instead of Search when creating a new service request

  4. For this recipe, we'll utilize the automated assistant. Type in your question or issue and click the send icon.
  5. The automated assistant will respond, attempting to resolve your issue without the need to open a service request. Check the suggested resources or options to see if your issue can be resolved without a request or choose None of the above or No when prompted, to be given the option to contact support. Select Contact support:

    Figure 1.17 – Contact support appears as an option when the assistant cannot help

    Figure 1.17 – Contact support appears as an option when the assistant cannot help

  6. Enter the details of your request, including any relevant screenshots or attachments, and choose Contact me:

Figure 1.18 – Service request fields and options

Figure 1.18 – Service request fields and options

How it works…

In this recipe, we created a service request in which we indicated our preference to be contacted as soon as possible via phone to discuss changing our subscription.

Microsoft has a wealth of resources out there to help you through most problems. By requiring you to search for a potential existing solution before allowing the creation of a new service request, they're making sure they use their time most efficiently (contributing to their prompt response time estimates) while being respectful of yours in hoping you don't have to wait for a response to get back to work.

Depending on your selected preferred contact method, a Microsoft support representative will be in touch to gather information and work with you until the request can be closed.

There's more…

The Search function (rather than the automated assistant) is similar in requiring you to first search for a potential solution before Contact support becomes an option:

Figure 1.19 – When searching instead of using the assistant, Contact support appears at the bottom

Figure 1.19 – When searching instead of using the assistant, Contact support appears at the bottom

See also

  • Check out the next recipe, Monitoring service request status, to learn how to track your service request once submitted.
 

Monitoring service request status

Once your service request is submitted, you receive an email confirmation with its details. But as you get more requests in simultaneously, this can become difficult to manage. This recipe will share how you can monitor all service requests and their statuses in the Microsoft 365 admin center.

Getting ready

You must be an Office 365 administrator to monitor and manage service requests.

How to do it…

  1. Go to the Microsoft 365 admin center at http://admin.microsoft.com.
  2. Select Show all > Support > View service requests.
  3. From here, you can export, search, or filter your service requests and see current statuses:

    Figure 1.20 – View of service request history in the Microsoft 365 admin center

    Figure 1.20 – View of service request history in the Microsoft 365 admin center

  4. Select a service request to see its case notes and history:
Figure 1.21 – An active service request's details screen

Figure 1.21 – An active service request's details screen

How it works…

The service request history screen in the Microsoft 365 admin center displays all of your tickets in an exportable, searchable, and filterable screen, making it easy to find previous issues that may have arisen again or to aid in reporting issue resolution to your users and leadership. In this recipe, you accessed the Service request history screen to monitor the status of existing service requests and any case notes added to them.

There's more…

If you need to edit a request:

  1. Find it by selecting New service request > history icon > Test service request:

    Figure 1.22 – Service request history is available from the New service request pane as well

    Figure 1.22 – Service request history is available from the New service request pane as well

  2. Select Edit from the bottom of the service request:

    Figure 1.23 – The Edit button appears on existing service requests

    Figure 1.23 – The Edit button appears on existing service requests

  3. Enter any additional notes or modify your contact info, then click Save:

Figure 1.24 – Additional attachments and notes can be added when editing an existing service request

Figure 1.24 – Additional attachments and notes can be added when editing an existing service request

See also

 

Adding a domain

By default, new tenants' users are given addresses with their tenant name followed by onmicrosoft.com, such as [email protected]. Adding your own domain, such as contoso.com, means you can change that user format to [email protected] and have Outlook for Office 365 handle mail for that domain. In this recipe, we'll add the natechamberlain.com domain to our tenant.

Getting ready

You must be a Global Administrator to add a domain. You do not need to have already purchased a domain, as that can be done through this process.

How to do it…

  1. Go to the Microsoft 365 admin center at http://admin.microsoft.com.
  2. Select Show all > Setup > Domains to add or buy an existing or new domain.
  3. For this recipe, we will choose Add domain, but note the option to also purchase your domain if you don't already have one or would just like an additional domain. Select Add domain.
  4. Enter your Domain name, then select Use this domain.
  5. In order to use email and instant messaging with your domain, you'll need to add Domain Name System (DNS) records for it at the registrar or hosting provider. Some registrars can connect directly to Office 365 to have this done automatically (WordPress, 1&1, and GoDaddy). Otherwise, you can manually add records by entering a provided list of DNS records via your host's administrative portal. Make your choice and select Continue:
    Figure 1.25 – The Activate records screen of adding a domain

    Figure 1.25 – The Activate records screen of adding a domain

  6. Once the records have been added, your domain can now be used with Exchange, Teams, Skype, Intune, and so on. Follow the prompts to complete the wizard and click Done when finished:
Figure 1.26 – The domain setup confirmation screen when adding a domain

Figure 1.26 – The domain setup confirmation screen when adding a domain

How it works…

You've added your own domain to Office 365. By configuring your domain within Office 365, you're telling your domain to direct all mail to Microsoft 365 so that users on your domain can access mail via Outlook/Exchange and log in to services such as Teams using your customized domain ([email protected]) versus the default domain ([email protected]). We'll cover changing the domain for users from the default (onmicrosoft) domain to your custom domain in the next recipe, Changing the domain for users.

Important note

If you have multiple domains, users could have secondary email addresses and administrators could apply policies and licenses per domain by utilizing dynamic security groups. Multiple domains are common in situations such as when companies acquire other companies that already have their own domains, which may or may not be converted to your primary domain. You could also have multiple subdomains, such as staff.contoso.com and faculty.contoso.com.

See also

 

Changing the domain for users

Once you've added a custom domain, or if you've acquired multiple domains and need to move existing users between domains, you can use the Change domains option. This changes users' email addresses and login credentials and can affect any scheduled meetings, so be sure to communicate this important fact prior to performing the steps in this recipe. In this recipe, you'll change selected users' domains.

Getting ready

You must be an Office 365 administrator to be able to change a user's domain.

How to do it…

  1. Go to the Microsoft 365 admin center at http://admin.microsoft.com.
  2. Select Users > Active users.
  3. Select all users for whom you're making the domain change and select Change domains:

    Figure 1.27 – Two users selected and the ellipsis menu showing the Change domains option

    Figure 1.27 – Two users selected and the ellipsis menu showing the Change domains option

  4. Select the new domain from the drop-down list and read the disclaimer:
    Figure 1.28 – The warning provided when changing users' domains

    Figure 1.28 – The warning provided when changing users' domains

  5. Click Save changes.

How it works…

In this recipe, we changed users' domains. Changing domains isn't common. Typically, you buy an Office 365 subscription, set up your custom domain as the default, then add your users, and they have the correct domain from the start.

However, you could change domains after your users have already been established. This could be done during acquisitions, company rebranding, or moving an employee to a new position that falls under a different domain owned by the company.

Once you select Save changes, the change is immediate, and the affected users will need to know the change has been made so that they log in with the correct credentials and share the correct email address with others.

Important note

The old domain (the onmicrosoft domain, in this example) can still be used as an email alias for the user, meaning mail sent to the old address will be forwarded to the new/primary address.

See also

 

Assigning a license to a user

Users are restricted on what they can do within your environment based on the license(s) that have been assigned. Even basic functions—such as navigation through the tenant, the ability to email, and using various applications—all require some form of license.

This recipe demonstrates how to assign a product license to individual users or even all members of a group via the Microsoft 365 admin center.

Getting ready

Only a user with an appropriate admin role (such as Global Admin, License Admin, and so on) can assign a user license. Also, the tenant must have licenses of the appropriate type free/available to be assigned. This requires the correct number of licenses to have been purchased for your tenant.

How to do it…

  1. Go to the Microsoft 365 admin center at http://admin.microsoft.com.
  2. Select Users > Active users.
  3. Select the user(s) for whom you're making the license change and select Manage product licenses:

    Figure 1.29 – A user selected and the ellipsis menu showing the Manage product licenses option

    Figure 1.29 – A user selected and the ellipsis menu showing the Manage product licenses option

  4. Review the user's current licensing, which appears in a right-side window. This may require scrolling through all the available product licenses and clicking the collapse/expand arrows on the right side of the window:
    Figure 1.30 – A user's Licenses and Apps screen

    Figure 1.30 – A user's Licenses and Apps screen

  5. The Select location dropdown should reflect the tenant default, but can be switched to access product licenses based on other locations/regions/countries:

    Figure 1.31 – Location dropdown in a user's Licenses and Apps screen

    Figure 1.31 – Location dropdown in a user's Licenses and Apps screen

  6. Locate the product you wish to license to the user and check the box or toggle the button, then click the Save changes button to commit your selections:
    Figure 1.32 – Selected products to license for a user and the Save changes button

Figure 1.32 – Selected products to license for a user and the Save changes button

How it works…

You've assigned a product license to a user via the Microsoft 365 admin center's Users blade.

By accessing an active user's profile within Office 365, you can review, add, or remove licenses. Selecting some product licensing (such as Enterprise licenses) will automatically give a user access to a host of licenses/products. Lower-level licenses (such as Kiosk or unlicensed users) can be given ad hoc or à-la-carte access to various applications within the Licenses and Apps section.

There's more…

Managing users one at a time can become tedious. There are several ways to update product licensing in bulk. This can be accomplished by selecting multiple users at once in Step 3 of this recipe, or by using a CSV upload process or through PowerShell commands. These processes are covered by recipes in the Office 365 Identify and Roles and Administering Office 365 with PowerShell chapters, found later in this book.

 

Assigning a license to a group

Assigning licenses to individual users can become a pain point for large organizations, or even smaller organizations that hire infrequently. The ability to quickly assign licenses based on groups of users is an efficient method of managing user licensing, especially if changes need to be made to all users within a group. In this recipe we'll do just that—assign a license to a group.

Getting ready

Only a user with an appropriate admin role (such as Global Admin, License Admin, and so on) can assign a user license. Also, the tenant must have licenses of the appropriate type free/available to be assigned. This requires the correct number of licenses to have been purchased for your tenant.

Finally, user locations play an active role in the assigning of licenses to a group process. Microsoft licenses are not available in all locations. A user's location property must be set before a license from a specific location can be assigned. When making a group license assignment, companies with multiple locations may need to be reviewed so that users are not given services in locations where that service is not allowed or available.

How to do it…

  1. Go to the Azure Active Directory (AD) admin center at https://aad.portal.azure.com.
  2. Click on Azure Active Directory and then Licenses.
  3. Click on All products to see the available licenses in your tenant:

    Figure 1.33 – Azure AD's All products screen

    Figure 1.33 – Azure AD's All products screen

  4. Check the box next to the license type you wish to assign, then click Assign:

    Figure 1.34 – Assign option in Azure AD when assigning an Office 365 license

    Figure 1.34 – Assign option in Azure AD when assigning an Office 365 license

  5. On the Assign license page, select the group(s) you wish to assign the license to by clicking Users and groups, searching for the correct group and clicking on the group to add it as a selection, and, finally, clicking Select:
    Figure 1.35 – Users and groups pane in Azure AD when assigning licenses

    Figure 1.35 – Users and groups pane in Azure AD when assigning licenses

  6. Next, review the assignment options by clicking the Assignment options section, toggling the various options based on your need, then clicking OK:
    Figure 1.36 – License-specific options selected for a group in Azure AD

    Figure 1.36 – License-specific options selected for a group in Azure AD

  7. Complete the process by clicking Assign.

How it works…

In this recipe, you saved time by assigning a license to an entire group by utilizing Azure AD.

Azure AD processes all the members of the group, one at a time, but behind the scenes. This can take time, depending on the size of the group.

As the assignments are systematically added, a notification will display, stating the status and outcome of the process. If an error occurs—such as an assignment that could not be applied due to pre-existing licenses in the group—you may click the notification to review the details.

See also

 

Customizing navigation of the admin center

If you use certain admin centers frequently, you can adjust the navigation menu of the Microsoft 365 admin center so that those admin center links are always visible and not hidden beneath the Show all link. In this recipe, we'll make sure Azure AD, Exchange, and SharePoint admin centers are always visible on our menu.

Getting ready

A user must be an admin with the appropriate role (such as Global Admin). These steps are based on the "new" admin center (released for preview in 2018-2019).

How to do it…

  1. Go to the Microsoft 365 admin center at http://admin.microsoft.com.
  2. On the left-hand navigation panel, click Customize navigation. The Customize your navigation pane panel will open on the right side of the screen:

    Figure 1.37 – The configuration pane for choosing what appears in the left-hand navigation pane

    Figure 1.37 – The configuration pane for choosing what appears in the left-hand navigation pane

  3. Check the box next to the various links and admin centers you want to appear above the Show all section (such as Azure Active Directory, Exchange, and SharePoint), and click Save.
  4. The links will group into basic admin navigation and admin centers, with the Show all link still available to expand the list to see all navigation choices:

Figure 1.38 – A customized left-hand navigation pane

Figure 1.38 – A customized left-hand navigation pane

How it works…

In this recipe we added Azure AD, Exchange, and SharePoint admin centers as permanent links on our Microsoft 365 admin center left navigation pane by selecting Customize navigation.

As the Microsoft admin center ecosystem grows, the list of functions and admin centers continues to grow. Custom navigation allows your admins to target the items they need instant access to, based on how your tenant is used, but does not restrict a quick view of the other available links.

 

Personalizing your admin center home page

As with any application, the number of options, selections, and settings grows over time, having quick and ready access to information and common tasks. For example, the User management card allows an admin single-click access to add, delete, edit, or reset the password of a user. This kind of flexibility goes beyond simply changing colors and themes and helps improve the overall user experience. Let's personalize what appears on our home page.

Getting ready

A user must be an admin with the appropriate role (such as Global Admin). These steps are based on the "new" admin center (released for preview in 2018-2019).

How to do it…

  1. Go to the Microsoft 365 admin center at http://admin.microsoft.com.
  2. To the right of the main panel, click Add card:
    Figure 1.39 – The Microsoft 365 admin center landing page with the Add card button in the upper right

    Figure 1.39 – The Microsoft 365 admin center landing page with the Add card button in the upper right

    A variety of preconfigured cards are made available:

    Figure 1.40 – Some of the available card options to choose for the Microsoft 365 admin center

    Figure 1.40 – Some of the available card options to choose for the Microsoft 365 admin center

  3. Drag and drop the selected card or click the plus sign (+) (which appears when hovering over the card) to add it to your admin center.

How it works…

In this recipe, we added data cards of interest to our Microsoft 365 admin center's home page. This allowed us to have easy access to relevant, interesting data without having to dig for it elsewhere.

While the ability to customize your admin center is limited to the preconfigured options, the options span most of the major admin functions/centers, consolidating data and allowing you to build a powerful dashboard.

Tip

Admins can customize the theme for an entire tenant and toggle between Light mode and Dark mode.

About the Author

  • Nate Chamberlain

    Nate Chamberlain is a Microsoft 365 Enterprise Administrator Expert, Microsoft Certified Trainer (MCT), and Microsoft MVP in Office apps and services. He has 6 years of experience helping organizations deploy Microsoft 365 apps and services and promoting their usage, governance, and adoption. His work has included administrative, analyst, and trainer roles in the higher education, healthcare, corporate, and finance sectors. Nate is the author of several other books, including an MS-101 exam guide, an MS-500 exam guide, an O365 administration cookbook, and a handful of smaller publications on SharePoint, OneNote, and leading advocate groups. Nate speaks at user groups and conferences both in person and virtually throughout the year.

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