Partner Technical Services Blog

A worldwide group of consultants who focus on helping Microsoft Partners succeed throughout the business cycle.

March, 2012

  • Integrating Remote Desktop Services with SharePoint Server 2010

    Post courtesy of Yashkumar Tolia

    One of the first things that an IT administrator (and even an end user) dreams for is “Integration”. For an administrator, integration of multiple technologies in your environment, consolidation of various products, management of everything from one single place, provision of data in a secured manner; are a few reasons. While for an end user, single point of access, anytime consumption of data and Single Sign-On pops up to one’s mind.

    Remote Desktop Services

    One of the prime technologies used by IT administrators for virtualization is Remote Desktop Services, previously known as Terminal Services. The TechNet article, Remote Desktop Services Overview, gives a great beginning to understanding this technology. As the link mentions, the major advantages of adopting this technology are:

    • Application deployment: You can quickly deploy Windows-based programs to computing devices across an enterprise. Remote Desktop Services is especially useful when you have programs that are frequently updated, infrequently used, or difficult to manage.
    • Application consolidation: Programs are installed and run from an RD Session Host server, eliminating the need for updating programs on client computers. This also reduces the amount of network bandwidth that is required to access programs.
    • Remote access: Users can access programs that are running on an RD Session Host server from devices such as home computers, kiosks, low-powered hardware, and operating systems other than Windows.
    • Branch office access: Remote Desktop Services provides better program performance for branch office workers who need access to centralized data stores. Data-intensive programs sometimes do not have client/server protocols that are optimized for low-speed connections. Programs of this kind frequently perform better over a Remote Desktop Services connection than over a typical wide area network.

    SharePoint Server 2010

    SharePoint Server 2010 is not just viewed as a content sharing and accessing product any more, but as a Business Collaboration Platform for the Enterprise and the Internet. With features like content management, workflows, search, SharePoint Server 2010 helps you to connect with colleagues and information; manage and govern enterprise content; balance user experience with policy and process; and help users find the content, information, and people. A great guide for understanding SharePoint Server 2010 is found in TechNet, SharePoint Server 2010.

    Integration of Remote Desktop Services with SharePoint Server 2010

    Integration of these 2 technologies opens up great avenues for consolidation. The Remote Desktop Web Access server role can be taken over by the already present SharePoint Server 2010 in the environment. This provides the possibility such as:

    • Single Website: As the SharePoint website is already present; this can be leveraged to publish the RemoteApps that are hosted on the Remote Desktop Session Host server. This reduces the URLs that the end user has to remember to access company data and applications.
    • Customization: The SharePoint Website, unlike the Remote Desktop Web Access default web portal, can be customized as per company needs. This gives the company freedom to brand, color code, provide additional links or shortcuts as required.
    • Accessing content through RemoteApps: If the content in SharePoint needs a particular RemoteApp to run, you can make a connection to the RemoteApp and then open the doc in it. This gives you the capability of accessing this data over the internet as well, without having to worry about security.

    Steps to integrate Remote Desktop Services with SharePoint Server 2010

    The integration of SharePoint Server 2010 (from now on, we will call it SPS) with Remote Desktop Services (from now on, we will call it RDS), is divided into 5 steps:

    1. Installation of RDS Session host server role
    2. Installation of SPS
    3. Installation of RDS Web Access server role on SPS
    4. Configuration of the Terminal Services Web Part
    5. Publishing of RemoteApps

    1. Installation of RDS Session host server

    Perform these steps on the RDS Session Host server:

    a. Go to Server Manager -> Roles -> Add Roles. This will take you to the Add Roles Wizard. Click Next.

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    Figure 1: Add Roles Wizard

    b. Select Remote Desktop Services. Click Next.

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    Figure 2: Role Selection

    c. Click Next.

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    Figure 3: Introduction to Remote Desktop Services

    d. Select Remote Desktop Services Session Host role. Click Next.

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    Figure 4: Role Service Selection

    e. Click Next.

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    Figure 5: Uninstall and Reinstall Application for compatibility warning

    f. Select Require Network Level Authentication. Click Next.

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    Figure 6: Network Level Authentication Selection

    g. Select the appropriate licensing scheme. Click Next.

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    Figure 7: Licensing Mode Selection

    h. Select the appropriate users you want to give access to the RDSH server. Click Next.

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    Figure 8: User Group Definition

    i. Select any of the features that you want to include in the Desktop Experience. Click Next.

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    Figure 9: Enabling Desktop Experience

    j. Click Install. Reboot the server.

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    Figure 10: Installation summary

    2. Installation of SPS 2010

    Perform these steps on the SPS server:

    a. Install SPS 2010.

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    Figure 1: SharePoint Installation

    b. Check mark Run the SharePoint Products Configuration Wizard now. Click Close.

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    Figure 2: SharePoint Installation completion and Run Configuration Wizard

    c. Click Next.

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    Figure 3: Configuration Wizard

    d. Click Yes to restart the services.

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    Figure 4: Restarting of Services

    e. Go to the SPS website by typing the following URL: http://<servername>/, to check if the SharePoint site is working fine or not.

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    Figure 5: SharePoint Website Home Page


    3. Installation of RDS Web Access server role on SPS

    Perform these steps on the SPS server:

    a. Go to Server Manager -> Roles -> Add Roles. This will take you to the Add Roles Wizard. Click Next.

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    Figure 1: Add Roles Wizard


    b. Select Remote Desktop Services. Click Next.

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    Figure 2: Selection of Role Services


    c. Click Next.

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    Figure 3: Introduction to Remote Desktop Services


    d. Click on Add required role services.

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    Figure 4: Add required Role Services


    e. Click on Next.

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    Figure 5: Introduction to IIS


    f. Click Next.

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    Figure 6: Add role services

    g. Click Finish to finish installation.

    4. Configuration of the Terminal Services Web Part

    Perform these steps on SPS server:

    a. Go to %SystemDrive%:\inetpub\wwwroot\VirtualDirectories\80. Right click Web.config and edit it in wordpad.

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    Figure 1: Editing web.config file

    b. In the <SafeControls> section, add the following line under the other SafeControl Assembly entries (as a single line):

    <SafeControl Assembly="TSPortalWebPart, Version=6.1.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35" Namespace="Microsoft.TerminalServices.Publishing.Portal" TypeName="*" Safe="True" AllowRemoteDesigner="True" />

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    Figure 2: Adding SafeControl Assembly

    c. Open an elevated command prompt. To do this, click Start, right-click Command Prompt, and then click Run as administrator:

    · Type mkdir "%SystemDrive%\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\wpresources\TSPortalWebPart\6.1.0.0__31bf3856ad364e35\images" and then press ENTER.

    · Type mkdir "%SystemDrive%\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\wpresources\TSPortalWebPart\6.1.0.0__31bf3856ad364e35\rdp" and then press ENTER.

    · Type cacls "%SystemDrive%\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\wpresources\TSPortalWebPart\6.1.0.0__31bf3856ad364e35\images” /T /E /P NetworkService:F and then press ENTER.

    · Type cacls "%SystemDrive%\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\wpresources\TSPortalWebPart\6.1.0.0__31bf3856ad364e35\rdp” /T /E /P NetworkService:F and then press ENTER.

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    Figure 3: Adding files to the Web Parts

     

    d. Go to the SharePoint website as an administrator. In the upper-right corner, on the Site Actions tab, click Site Settings.

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    Figure 4: Editing the Site Settings

     

    e. Under Galleries, click Web Parts.

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    Figure 5: Adding Web Part to the Gallery

     

    f. Under the Web Part Gallery heading, click New.

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    Figure 6: Adding the TSPortalWebPart to the list

     

    g. Select the check box next to Microsoft.TerminalServices.Publishing.Portal.TSPortalWebPart, and then click Populate Gallery.

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    Figure 7: Adding the new Web Part

    5. Publishing of RemoteApps

    Perform these steps on the SPS server:

    a. On the Site Actions tab, click Edit Page.

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    Figure 1: Edit Web Page

    b. Choose the location on the website where you want to add the Web Part, and then click Add a Web Part.

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    Figure 2: Adding the Web Part to the site


    c. In the Add Web Parts -- Webpage Dialog dialog box, under the All Web Parts heading, select the TSPortalWebPart check box, and then click Add. The TSPortalWebPart Web Part will appear on the page.

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    Figure 3: Select the TSPortal Web Part

     d. To configure the Web Part, click edit in the upper-right corner of the Web Part, and then click Modify Shared Web Part.

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    Figure 4: Editing the Web Part

    e. In the RD Session Host server(s) or RemoteApp and Desktop Connection Management server name box, type <RDSservername> and then click OK.

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    Figure 5: Adding the RDS Session Host Server


    f. Click Save icon in the top left corner of the website.

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    Figure 6: Saving the Web Part to the site

     

    g. Test the application by running a RemoteApp.

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    Figure 7: Selecting the RemoteApp

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    Figure 8: Connecting to the RemoteApp

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    Figure 9: Providing credentials

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    Figure 10: Using the RemoteApp

    In this way, you can leverage your already existing environment and integrate it for a single website for the users to log into and get their RemoteApps. This combined with the search and content sharing capabilities gives the user a seamless experience.

    Additional Information

    To learn more, check out the following articles:

    Customizing Remote Desktop Web Access by Using Windows SharePoint Services Step-by-Step Guide

  • GPS at Microsoft Management Summit 2012

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    This is the time of the year when anybody who works on Microsoft Virtualization and System Center technologies gets excited about Microsoft Management Summit which happens every year where thousands of IT PROs joins to share knowledge, exchange ideas, indulge in networking and get to do some deep dive technical learning on new technologies and make themselves aware about new innovations that are happening around Microsoft Virtualization and System Center Technologies.

    Historically MMS has gained its reputation of a platform for major product announcements and launches, Last year at MMS 2011, we announced the availability of System Center 2012 Beta and discussed through our keynotes and sessions how it enables Microsoft Private Cloud Platform. It was really nice speaking and meeting lot of you last year at Mandalay Bay.

    I am really excited about our upcoming MMS 2012 which is scheduled to be held from April 16 – 20, 2012 at The Venetian, Last Vegas for so many reasons.

    We published the following abstract of Brad Anderson’s Keynote Speech to give you an insight what is stored for you in MMS 2012.

    Day 1: Microsoft Private Cloud. Built for the Future. Ready Now.
    Cloud computing and the delivery of true IT as a Service is one of the most profound industry shifts in decades. Join Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President of Microsoft’s Management and Security Division, as he shares Microsoft’s vision for cloud computing and shows how System ...Center 2012, as part of the Microsoft private cloud, will enable you to deliver the promise of cloud computing in your organization today.

    Day 2: A World of Connected Devices
    Clouds and cloud-connected devices are changing the world of work and our daily interactions. Tech-savvy and always-connected, people want faster, more intuitive technology, uninterrupted services, and the freedom to work anywhere, anytime, on a variety of devices. Join Brad Anderson, Corporate Vice President of the Management and Security Division at Microsoft to learn how System Center 2012 and Windows Intune can help IT embrace this new reality today, and in the future, by making the right intelligent infrastructure investments.

    I am also excited to present this year about all new capabilities of System Center 2012- Virtual Machine Manager with following objectives in mind.

    • To provide you a Technical Overview of new Virtualization and cloud management capabilities in VMM 2012 and how it solves todays administrator's pain points.
    • Make you aware about the things you can now do with VMM 2012 which you couldn’t do earlier with VMM 2008 R2
    • Empower you to deploy or upgrade to VMM 2012 with minimum effort.

    You can get more information about the session below and if you are a registered attendee you should be able to add it to your Session builder.

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    In addition to the speaking opportunities, I would also be available to meet you all during "Speaker Q&A" session at the end of the day of the session and also at Microsoft Pavilion.

    Since I work very closely with Microsoft partners, I would like to meet few of you and discuss how we can enable you to drive, develop and design System Center and Microsoft Private Cloud solutions for our customers.

    Please use the Email Author link to drop me an email if you would like to meet, please mention your partner id so that I can get more information about your organization.

    And if you are a twitter enthusiast like me and would like to keep up with the event,  follow me at www.twitter.com/iftekharh

    See you at Las Vegas.

    Cheers,

  • OWA Cross-Site Silent Redirection in Exchange 2010 SP2

    (Post courtesy of Krishan Kant Mehta)

    It wasn’t too long ago when we were celebrating the release of Exchange Server 2010 SP1. Now, high on the hog, we have Exchange Server 2010 SP2, with pretty interesting set of new features and enhancements including the much awaited Address Book Policies feature that provides a simpler mechanism to accomplish GAL separation for the on-premises organization that needs to run disparate GALs.

    In this blog, I am going to talk about the Cross-site silent redirection feature that did not make it into SP1. To get an overview of important new features and functionality in Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 2, please refer to this link.

    Before Service Pack 2, with Client Access Servers in two different internet-facing AD sites, an OWA user would be presented with a link to click on to log-in to his mailbox in the site where his mailbox resided.

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    And after clicking the link, the user would also have to login a second time… isn’t life complicated enough?

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    Thanks to the Cross-site silent redirection feature, the user will not get a link but will be silently redirected to his own Client Access Server without having to log in again.

    As can be seen above, an OWA user is notified that he is using the wrong URL and he is required to enter his credentials twice which leads to sub-optimal experience with manual redirection. To improve the user experience, a new parameter ‘CrossSiteRedirectType’ has been introduced with Set-OWAVirtualDirectory cmdlet in Exchange Server 2010 SP2. As the name implies, this redirection performs silent redirection to CAS located in another Active Directory site that have an OWA ExternalURL specified, within the same Exchange Organization.

    This parameter supports two values, Manual and Silent. Cross-Site Silent Redirection is disabled by default which means Manual setting is enabled which would continuously perform manual redirection between CAS in different Active Directory sites, after you deploy Exchange Server 2010 SP2.

    Cross-Site Silent Redirection can be enabled by setting the CrossSiteRedirectType to Silent on the Internet-facing CAS OWA virtual directories:

     Set-OWAVirtualDirectory –Identity “companyname\owa (Default Web Site)” – CrossSiteRedirectType Silent

    When you configure the CrossSiteRedirectType parameter to Silent for a CAS OWA virtual directory, you will get a warning that the cross site silent redirection will work if the corresponding virtual directories in the target Active Directory Sites have the ExternalURL Specified that leverages HTTP SSL protocol (Fig 1).

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    (Fig 1)

    The output of the command Get-OwaVirtualDirectory shows that the silent redirection is enabled on the Exchange 2010 CAS server in an AD site (Fig 2).

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    (Fig 2)

    Cross-site silent redirection prevents users from having to learn a secondary Outlook Web App URL. This silent redirection also provides a single sign-on (SSO) experience when forms-based authentication is enabled on each Client Access server i.e. if the authentication method for the Outlook Web App virtual directory on both the source and target Client Access servers is set to forms-based authentication, the user will only have to enter their credentials once. If the authentication methods differ on the source and target Client Access servers, the users may have to enter their credentials two times. Bear in mind when using forms-based authentication, you should have SSL on both the source and target Outlook Web App virtual directories.

    Click here to download Exchange Server 2010 Service Pack 2, and let your fingers do the walking!!

    Let’s Exchange – KK Mehta (Krishan Kant Mehta)

    Partner Technical Consultant

    Microsoft Partner Technical Services

  • CRM 2011 and SharePoint 2010 Integration - Part 2

    (Post courtesy of Anand Nigam)

    Hi SharePoint Folks,

    This post comes after a long time after the Part 1. But as the saying goes – better late than never. Here I am back with Part 2, this time we will focus on Reporting CRM information into SharePoint Using Excel services.

    1. Part 1: Introduction and CRM 2011 - Document management Integration with SharePoint 2010
    2. Part 2: Reporting CRM data in SharePoint using Excel services (This post)
    3. Part 3: Publishing CRM entities in SharePoint.
    4. Part 4: Search CRM entities from SharePoint Enterprise Search.

    The word you are thinking is “awesome”, well I know J. Ok let’s cut short the talking and make it work, get ready!

    Reporting CRM data in SharePoint using Excel services

    So below is what you will need,

    1. CRM 2011 deployment and some sample data (I populated my CRM with built in sample data).
    2. A SharePoint 2010 farm, with a web app created
    3. This post

    What we will achieve by end of this post is to create an excel based report, to – Show all the account’s revenue, and have a filter on accounts based on number of employees . Our first step in the direction of SharePoint –is the SSS i.e. Secure Store Service. We will use Secure Store Service to, create an Application ID, We will use that App ID to retrieve the information from database server where the CRM 2011 is currently connected.

    TASK 1

    So we to SharePoint Central admin > Secure Store Service application and Create a New Application ID> and fill in the info as shown in the figure below,

    1. Target Application ID – CRMKey
    2. Display name – CRMKey
    3. Contact E-mail – any valid email address preferably
    4. Target Application Type – Keep it to Individual

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    Click Next,

    Modify the Field name to reflect appropriate application credentials, this is not a necessary step, you could leave the default names as is.

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    Click Next

    Specify who is going to manage the target application, Apart from farm admin, who by default has rights to modify the settings. For now, I have specified my CRM admin’s account – contoso\crm11.

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    Click Ok and proceed to SSS main page, with our Application ID created.

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    Here we just need to set the credentials once, Click on the drop down and select Set Credentials

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    Below is what you will see, in Credentials owner specify the account that will manage this credentials – more simply put – just put the farm admin account here. What is more important here is in the username and password box, you specify the CRM 2011 account who has admin credentials, basically who can create a connection to the database Server of CRM 2011 deployment

    I have specified my crm11 admin account and its password. Click Ok to Finish

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    We are DONE with SSS now.

    TASK 2

    Next we will create a Data connection Library, which is a specific type of library where we will store the data connection file (.odc),

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    Now create a library where you want the resulting excel file to be published, this can be any normal library. I am going to use my Shared document library.

    TASK 3

    Now one important task, We need to configure excel service to trust the “data connection library” and the “shared documents” . Unless the trust is configured the report would not render.

    So Open Excel Service application main page > click on “Trusted File Location

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    Click “Add Trusted File Location”

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    Enter the shared documents location (and of course remove the trailing /forms/allitems.aspx)

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    Tick mark – Children Trusted

    Scroll down, Under the External Data section Select Trusted data connection libraries only (this is because we will use the connection kept in SharePoint)

    Uncheck Refresh warning enabled

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    Click on OK

    Now go back to Open Excel Service application main page> click on “Trusted Data connection Libraries

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    Click on Add Trusted data connection library

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    Enter the location for data connection library and click OK

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    The result should like this

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    TASK 4

    After this Next comes the task to create a connection file which will enable Excel to connect to CRM database views

    1. Open Excel > Data > From Other Sources> From SQL Server

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    2. Specify the CRM’s SQL server name,

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    3. Specify the Organization database of the CRM, in my case its Fabrikam_MSCRM, and Select FilteredAccount

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    4. On the next screen, click Authentication Settings next to Excel Services, and enter the SSS Application ID we created

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    5. Click ok and come back to the wizard, Now click on Browse and save the connection file to SharePoint Data connection library

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    Click Finish in the wizard, after the wizard finishes just click on OK, in the property window that pops up

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    Then just hit cancel and exit out of Excel.

    6. Now click Save, Once saved, Go to SharePoint data connection library and Approve the connection file, as shown below

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    TASK 5

    Let’s now create an Simple Excel Report. Open Excel > Data> Existing Connections> Click on Browse for More and specify the SharePoint data connection library location, and click open.

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    Now you will get the Import data prompt , select Pivotchart and Pivotable Report, and click Ok

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    You get the Pivot chart on the Excel worksheet

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    Now Coming back to our objective to –“– Show all the account’s revenue, and filter to filter the accounts based on number of employees”

    We will drag the Field “Name” to “Axis Fields (categories)” box, By the way the fields are sorted in alphabetical order, it should be easy to find fields.

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    Next drag the “revenue” field to “Values” box,

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    The end result is as below

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    You will notice the pivot table shows the COUNT of the revenue, which is not what we want, we want to see the number, so right click on the “revenue” or “count of revenue”

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    By default Count is selected, change it to Sum and click OK

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    Now we see the table and the chart correctly

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    Now the next job is to Add a Slicer that will filter the chart and table based on the number of employees. Select the Chart by clicking it once and then Click Insert and select slicer

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    Select “numberofemployees” and click OK

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    You will now be able to see some meaning full report

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    Task 6

    Now the real hero comes into picture, the Excel Services. Click on the file>Save & Send> Save to SharePoint > double click on “Browser for a location” and locate the SharePoint document library location where the Excel report will be saved

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    Navigate to shared document library

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    As soon as you save you see the report in the browser

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    Verify if its working by selecting the “number of employee” slicer

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    And yes it does J

    Ok what happens when the CRM data changes ? Try it – Open an CRM account and change the revenue value , I did for “A store (sample)” form 10000, to 12000.

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    Now go back to the excel service report and click Data> refresh all connection

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    And see the smooth update of data

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    And this way you can hopefully build complex and more meaning ful reports and publish it in SharePoint.

    Enhance this ?

    If you want to show/display the excel workbook anywhere in SharePoint, you can use the Built in “Excel Web Access web part

    Open your SharePoint site and edit the page and add a webpart “Excel Web Access”

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    Click Add and see the web part added. Now open web part properties

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    You will see the properties

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    In the workbook Box enter the excel work book location, in my case - \crmrpt/shareddocument/CRM report.xlsx. Click Apply.

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    Further we can just have the chart shown in the site

    Change the web part property, Enter Named Item to Chart 1 (This is the chart object’s name), if you want to verify open excel and see the chart property

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    And It just shows the chart on the home page,

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    To get the chart name see in the Excel, click on the chart object to select it and see the name in ribbon.

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    Further Enhance this using Connected Web parts

    If you have several reports in the library AND you want to just have click and see behavior we can create connections between web parts to have that kind of experience. Just ensure that you have multiple reports in the library.

    Edit the home page, Add the library that has Excel Reports in it AND add the Excel Web Access webpart on that same page, Configure the Excel Web access to show a report (this would be the default report that it will show). Now click on the menu of the Library >Connections>Send Row of Data To > Excel Web Access Web part.

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    In the following popup menu

    Got to Tab 2. Configure Connection> and set the Field name to Document URL> and Finish. Now save and Close the page.

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    See it in action, by selecting the report

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    With that I will come back with the 3rd and the 4th part soon. Thanks for reading.