Prior to joining Microsoft, I was a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for Exchange Server and was always interested in helping the Exchange community.  One of the ways that MVPs interact with the community is via the various TechNet forums at http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-US/category/exchangeserver/.  For those of you interested in all things related to Office 365, you might like to know that there are Office 365 technical forums available at http://community.office365.com/en-us/f/default.aspx.

To help the Office 365 community, I was happy to see that we have released an Office 365 Forum Assistant.  This is a free Windows desktop gadget that you can download at http://www.microsoft.com/download/en/details.aspx?id=27547

Once downloaded and installed, it appears as a desktop gadget:

 There are seven main things that you can do with this gadget. However, before we cover these, the first task for you is to enter the configuration options area where you can input your forum display name as well as choose your favourite forums:

The great thing about this gadget is that it can take you straight to the correct forum.  Click Ask Questions and you are presented with a series of links to take you to one of your favourite forums:

You can use the My Threads option to track the progress of any threads that you have been involved with. The My Forums option allows you to quickly browse the latest threads in your favourite forums as you can see in the image below; each thread is a link and clicking the relevant thread link launches your browser and takes you straight to that thread.

The Blogs & Wikis option is similar to the My Forums option but this time you can browse latest blog and wiki entries.

For example, clicking the top blog link takes you straight to that new blog entry in your browser:

Entering search criteria and clicking the search button allows you to quickly search the Office 365 forums.  Clicking the house icon takes you to the main Office 365 Community Home page, whereas clicking the envelope icon composes a new email whereby you can submit your feedback; please take the time to do this as I'm sure the team will value your comments.

 

This desktop gadget is a welcome addition to those of you interested in Office 365 and the community.