In the last post you saw the ease with which users could be added to the Essentials Dashboard and have a large range of Microsoft Online Service offerings exposed for ease of integration. This post covers other Office 365 services that are exposed within the dashboard, primarily SharePoint Online and Exchange Online, but excluding the Mobile Device Management Capabilities as I will cover them in more detail in the next post.

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The first screen is the Office 365 view in the dashboard, which contains some important information about your subscriptions and mailbox usage, and also gives the option of integrating with different domain names that you may own.

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When it comes to the Dashboard’s ability to expose some of SharePoint Online’s functionality, the important thing to note is that this is an incredibly small subset of what SharePoint Online delivers, and is just for performing some very basic tasks, such as creating new document libraries.

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Team Site Properties show the top level permissions, which can then be inherited by additional libraries, or overridden if different access requirements need to be met.

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The two check box options for the document library we can see are the ability to save multiple revisions of the same document, which is generally a good thing, and the ability to require that documents be checked out for editing. If documents are checked out for editing, then you do lose the ability for multiple users to work on the same document simultaneously, so I would generally leave that unchecked.

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The second tab shows site permissions which we can adjust easily, and this highlights what I mentioned above about the ability to inherit permissions if appropriate.

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I can create new libraries by selecting Add A Library in the task pane on the right, and you can see that we don’t have an overwhelming number of choices.

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From the library types we can select document, picture or wiki page library.

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I’ve chose picture library, as I needed somewhere to upload some screenshots to share with others.

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Again we see the familiar permissions page.

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Once library creation is completed, we can click the link at be taken to our Office 365 tenant.

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A picture library without pictures isn’t very interesting, so let’s just add a few in.

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The add a picture screen appears.

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Now I can select one or many images to upload.

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We confirm the details, and then the images start uploading.

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Once the upload begins, we get placeholder graphics in the library.

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These are then replaced by thumbnails of the real images at completion.

The reality is that once you are familiar with SharePoint Online, you probably won’t spend much time in the Dashboard to provision and manage it, but it’s a great way to begin and you can explore further as your SharePoint requirements expand.

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The Exchange Online integration shows up in the mailbox usage stats we saw in the first image in this post, but we can also add Distribution Groups within the Dashboard. The only real configuration option we have here is whether or not we want that to be a publically accessible email address.

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Adding users to the group is simple.

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And that’s it. Of course we can go back in and manage the distribution groups we have created, but for anything else we need to go to the Office 365 portal or fire up PowerShell.

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The properties pages are effectively showing us what we configured in the wizard, with no additional options.

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Adding users to the distribution groups after creation is also very easy to do.

This post has been a whirlwind tour of the Exchange Online and SharePoint Online integration within the dashboard, the next post will cover Mobile Device Management within the Essentials dashboard, which is an often underutilised feature that would benefit many SMB customers.