Reactivating A Dormant Office Pro Plus 2010 Subscription

If you’ve downloaded Office Pro Plus to a computer that doesn’t get used for a while, or the id used to validate the subscription is no longer valid, eventually the programs will start showing an “unlicensed” notice and stop working fully. Downloads are associated to a user but just signing in with an id that has a valid subscription may not work. This is a common enough scenario, but Microsoft doesn’t makefinding a solution that easy.The solution (as often happens) was provided by Google – but only aftera user had done several searches and wasted a considerable amount of time asking questions on the 365 community. Buried deep within the site is a kb article with a Fixit, that reverifies your subscription and even allows you to switch it to a different id.So if you want to reactivate an Office Pro Plus 2010 subscription, click the Fixit button below, install and run it and after the usual lengthy configuration process typical of Microsoft products – eventually, it will ask you to sign in to verify. I did restart the computer before signing in, but I don’t think that’s necessary. Don’t forget to check the games to have some fun once your computer is good to go.

And here’s the kb article »


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Fix Text Wrapping In Drop Down Sub Menus On Office 365 Sharepoint Sites

navwrap2One of the most important things about a public site is the navigation – that’s how people find their way around the site after all. Office 365 sites include a drop down menu that allows you to display links to as many locations as you need in a small amount of space. Unfortunately, if you have a multi word page title in a sub menu, the fixed width of the sub menu container may cause an unwanted line break.
Not only is this ugly looking, it can also make it very hard to identify a page and navigate the site. If properly designed, the container would expand to fit its contents without forcing longer titles to wrap to another line. Luckily, it’s very easy to fix.

Sign in to open the site for editing
On any page click the “site” tab
Add this to the site’s custom stylesheet:
ul.dynamic{min-width:100% !important;white-space:nowrap !important;}
If it doesn’t work for you, it may be because the rule isn’t getting applied in the stylesheet. A fix for that is covered here:
Adding Custom Styling To The Office 365 Sharepoint 2013 Public Website
Also, in some cases you may need to “supersize” the ul element so it fits behind the menu links. For that, change the min-width:
ul.dynamic{min-width:150% !important;}

That’s it!

Visit my forum » if you have any questions. For development work, you can contact me here ». And if you think this would be useful to others, feel free to share it by clicking one of the share buttons up top!

Remove a domain from Office 365

?A common complaint about O365 is the bizarre way Microsoft handles domain removal and the tenacity with which they hold onto YOUR domain. It should be as simple as clicking the “remove domain” link but the instructions tell you to first remove any association with the domain. If even after changing users and web site over to the default domain STILL doesn’t work, you’re left, like me, wondering why they make things so difficult and why after the correct way to do it has been pointed out to them so many times, they don’t fix the instructions. All they seem to offer is an arcane powershell routine that still might not work!The answer is painfully simple: DELETE ALL USERS. And I mean ALL USERS – including the original id that created the account. To do that, you will have to create an unlicensed admin user and use that to delete the original user.
Keep in mind, deleting a user trashes the associated mailbox, so you have to plan for that.

If this process can’t be made easier by improving the poorly designed ui, then at least the instructions should be corrected. There’s really no excuse for putting users through this much grief just to remove a domain. After all, your domain is owned by you, not Microsoft and they have no right to prevent you from doing what you want with it.

Access hidden Office 365 Sharepoint Online site locations with windows explorer.

When you open a site in windows explorer, you’re actually exposing the root of the site which can be useful if you need to add a file to the root or view your sitemap etc. Frustratingly though, Msft has hidden various directories from view. The _catalogs directory, for example, which contains all the critical stylesheets, master pages etc can’t be accessed this way. If you don’t want to struggle with Sharepoint Designer, here’s a trick to reveal all user accessible files in explorer:Open network places (or location or whatever your os calls it) and click “add a network place”
TIP: if you get an access denied error, make sure you’re logged in via IE.

To access the root of the site:


For a specific directory:
For a 2013 site you’ll then need to open the master page directory and select the folder for your region (eg en-us)
Once you’ve established a network place you can navigate to it and open the css files in notepad.
After making your changes, you will have to save the file locally, open 2 explorer instances and drag it over to the appropriate sharepoint directory because you can’t save directly to sp (for some reason).
Now you can work directly with critical site files without having to deal with the perennial browser glitches and slowness of the user interface.

Visit my forum » if you have any questions. For development work, you can contact me here ». And if you think this would be useful to others, feel free to share it by clicking one of the share buttons up top!

Emails Not Arriving in Office 365 Exchange? Beat The SPF Trap!

040314_0230_emailsnotar1After setting up O365 Exchange email, and either dutifully adding all the dns records MSFT requires or allowing MSFT to create them if on the Small Business plan, many people report that they stop receiving messages from web site contact forms or other 3rd party services that use their domain in the from address. The messages don’t go to junk – they just disappear. The usual support response is to whitelist the email address/domain, check with the isp and send ndr’s. That might help if the emails are actually reaching Exchange. But it’s likely they are not – and are getting blocked by an isp because the instructions MSFT provides for creating an SPF dns recordare inaccurate or at best, incomplete. The record may be specifically excluding any server but their own from sending emails. This may be an even more significant problemif you have a Small Business tenant and elect to use MSFT’s nameservers, because the provided spf record can’t be edited.What is an SPF record?
An SPF record helps isp’s and receiving email services detect “spoofed” emails. “Spoofing” is the practice of sending emails using someone else’s domain in the from address in an attempt to beat spam filters and get the recipient to trust the email. Changing a “from” address is easy, but changing the server address the email is sent from is not – so an spf record can be used to let the isp know whether or not a server or ip address is allowed to send email using a particular domain.
The Trap
That’s a good thing but it has a potential downside. An SPF record can be formatted to EXCLUDE any other email server or ip address – in which case an isp that checks your SPF record will reject emails from servers you haven’t specifically authorized to send email from your domain.
Unfortunately that’s exactly what MSFT’s recommended SPF record does.
The “~all” EXCLUDES any other server or ip so when your web site or other email sending service send emails from their own server, not, an isp may reject their messages.
A typical example would be emails generated by a WordPress site contact form. The originating server would be the site hosting server. If its address is not included in the spf record it will get sent but likely end up in a black hole and never received.

The Fix
The MSFT instructions should tell us to add “” to an existing SPF record, or make sure to add an SPF record that includes ALL the sending services that may be using a domain. So if you manage your own dns and send emails from services that use your domain, get their ip address or server name and add them to your SPF record. You can only have one SPF, so format it as follows, substituting in your own information:
v=spf1 mx ip4: ip4:
What that tells an isp is emails sent using my domain from ONLY those 5 locations are legit – which is exactly what you want.
Small Business Tenants Using MSFT’s Nameservers

If you’re not managing your own dns, you won’t be able to edit the spf record MSFT automatically created for you. You can still fix the problem but it will require switching nameservers and manually adding/editing the records MSFT provides.

Add A Site Description To Office 365 Sharepoint Online 2013 Public Sites

Yep – removing the site description was another of those 2013 public site “upgrades”…. Has MSFT ever heard of SEO?? The 2010 asp placeholder for this element doesn’t work in 2013 sites, and there probably isn’t a predefined one, so if you want to add a site description below your site title, you’ll have to hard code it in manually.For that we’ll need to:Open the site in Sharepoint Designer (2010 or 2013).
Open All Files » _catalogs » masterpage and open the html file that’s linked to the master page you’re using (eg oslo.html)
Hunt down this element: h1 id=”pageTitle” class=”ms-core-pageTitle”


AFTER its closing h1 tag, add the tag and description you want to use eg:

h2 My site description /h2

TIP: If you want to be able to style the description (and who wouldn’t?), add a class eg h2 class=”desc”
h2 class=”desc”>…….
Save the file
To publish it, go to site settings » galleries » master page and layouts and click “publish a major version” from the context menu.
The Result:


Now you can both let site visitors know what your site is about AND make it a little more relevant and appealing to search engines. If you have any questions, please ask them in my forum »

Add Additional Levels To Office 365 Sharepoint 2013 Site Navigation

If you want to add more levels to the drop down or quick launch navigation in a Sharepoint 2013 site, you can do it by making a small change to the master page in use. This technique should work for any type of site (public/private) in any tenant.
Open the site in Sharepoint Designer
Click all Files » Catalogs » Master page
Master pages can’t be edited directly anymore so open the associated HTML MASTER PAGE FILE (which will usually have the same name eg. oslo.html).
Find “MaximumDynamicDisplayLevels=”2” in the grayed out code under “SPM:<Sharepoint:SPNavigationManager”
Change the “2” to how many levels you want.


Save the file, check it in and publish a major version (if checked out) or go to site settings » galleries » master pages and page layouts and publish it from there.
The Result:


Left Navigation
If using a left hand nav (or quick launch), follow the same process only of course with the appropriate master page – Seattle or Berlin.


Ask away in my forum.

Changing the Office 365 Logo In Sharepoint Online 2013 Sites

022014_0452_changingthe1To brand the top bar navigation with your own logo and hide the Office 365 one, add this to a site stylesheet:

.o365cs-nav-leftAlign {background:#000url(YOUR_LOGO_URL_HERE) 0 0 no-repeat !important;}.wf-o365-o365logo{display:none !important;}

Change the color to match the theme you’re using.

Change The Link
To change the link, add a div to your master page with the o365cs-nav-leftAlign class. Insert your desired link in the div. Then add a position to that class:

div.o365cs-nav-leftAlign {position:absolute;top:5px; background:#000url(YOUR_LOGO_URL_HERE) 0 0 no-repeat !important;}

Change Other Top Bar Links
Use the same technique to change links like the sites links, making the appropriate adjustments to account for the different location. If you want to simply hide or adjust the style of other links, use a browser inspector tool to identify the link’s id/class and then add css code to target it.
For example, to hide the “OneDrive” link, add this to a stylesheet:
#O365_MainLink_ShellDocuments{display:none !important;)

Using Sub Domains With Office 365 Exchange Email

121013_0425_usingsubdom1If you want to set up email using a 2nd domain or sub domain (Enterprise accounts only), you may have a tough time finding instructions from MSFT. And if they exist at all, MSFT’s instructions are often questionable when it comes to dns management. The key is using the correct dns records.The example sub domain I’m using here is:
Add the domain/sub domain to your account (sub domains of already verified domains don’t need to be verified).
Domain intent can be Exchange /Lync OR Sharepoint if you want to use the domain with a public web site (it doesn’t really matter!)
Log into your registrar’s dns zone editor and add the following records (replace “365” with the “sub” part of your sub domain):


Points To


v=spf1 –all

As mentioned above, as long as the records are correct, it doesn’t seem to matter what you set “domain intent” as. So if you want to use this domain with a public site too, just choose “Sharepoint” and your Exchange email will still work fine.
To see how to set that up, look for “Use separate sub domains (or domains) for BOTH your 365 public sites! ” in this blog.

Use separate sub domains (or domains) for BOTH your 365 public sites!

When your 2010 Office 365 account is converted to 2013, you end up with 2 public web sites. Officially, you can only assign a personal domain to one of the sites but in reality it’s quite easy with an Enterprise account to use a different personal domain for each site. I specifically cover adding sub domains here, but the same process applies to domains with a few adjustments.As noted, this only works with Enterprise accounts and would be different – if even possible at all – for a P account. For small business accounts the workaround would be to url forward one of the domains to the least important site.”Look Ma, 2 web sites with 2 separate domains!”


To see what I mean click here:
For a 2013 site see:
Both sites are in the same 365 account, but use different sub domains.

Instructions – set up in Sharepoint
If the parent domain is already verified, a sub domain will automatically verify. To verify a new sub domain, in 365 go to: Admin»Domains»Add a domain.
Step 1:
Enter your full sub domain (eg
Get the TXT record
Enter it at your domain host in the dns zone record section
Wait a few minutes and then click”Verify”
NOTE:If you have 2 public sites, apparently you have to enter the prefix for the sub domain as the host for the 2nd site, not the normal @ symbol.

Once it’s verified, add any users you need

Step 3:
Select”Sharepoint” as the domain intent.

Go to the Sharepoint admin center, select the desired site and choose the sub domain from the drop down. When I did that I got a strange “Deleted” note by the default site name, but nothing was deleted and the site still worked under either the sub domain or the original default domain. MSFT couldn’t tell me what the “deleted” referred to!

Instructions – connect your domain
Next, you’ll point the sub domain at your 365 public site by adding an A record at your domain host.

Open a cmd screen and type in”ping” (without the quote marks and use the default domain, normally for 2010 sites, for 2013 sites).
Copy or note the ip address – it will be something like
Go back to your domain host’s dns zone record application.
Add an A record and enter the sub part of the sub domain as the host and the ip address as the target. For a domain, use @ in the host field.:
365 600 seconds (or 1 hr etc) For sub domains
@ 600 seconds (or 1 hr etc) For domains

Save the zone file and within 15 minutes or so, your site should start coming up under the sub domain.
Why does MSFT tell me to use a CNAME instead of an A Record?
MSFT’s instructions tell you to use a CNAME entry with the host set at “www”. A CNAME is like an alias, so requests for are going to be sent to the server hosting to look for a site called “”. That works if you only want the site to be found with a www request, or if all your sites are on the same host. If you use an A record, the request will be sent to whatever server the ip address entered represents. In other words, your site will be found with or without the www and you can use your domain with a site hosted in one place, and sub domains with your O365 site or vice versa. In my case, is a WordPress site hosted outside of 365, and the 2 sub domains point to the 2 365 public sites.
Personally, I think it’s a better arrangement.