I eluded to it in my previous post that I was going to provide a step by step guide on setting up a trial of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 and also Office 365 so that you can test out & play with the new integration features that the Update 1 release has provided us. These features are specifically the OneNote Integration and the Inline Excel editing tool.

Microsoft keep changing how to set up free trials and it was fairly simple a little while ago. However over the past month they seem to have changed it so for Dynamics CRM you have to go through their concierge service which isn’t really the most timely option or suited if you just want to have a play. So this guide shows you a way to get around that, in a good way of course.. 😉

Considering the numerous different angles this can be approached from and also taking into account if Microsoft again change the blockers that are currently present on setting up a CRM free trial in the future, this guide has been designed so that it is split into sections which can be easily selected or skipped.

The purpose of this post is to trial the functionality so I’ll cover what I am doing in minor details to be expanded on in later posts as it’s intention is to be a quick-setup step through with lots of pictures and pointers. I would suggest you start out with an entirely new portal account for this. Whats a portal account? Read on..

Note: When following this guide, at any point, should never prompt you to enter in any financial information. Do not enter any. You don’t need to.

Where to start?

You need a portal account. By portal account I mean an account where the login includes bla@companyname.onmicrosoft.com.

Remember I said that setting up a free trial can be approached from multiple angles? At the moment you can start a trial for Microsoft Dynamics Marketing or from Purchasing a Trial of Office 365. If you go down the route of Office 365, you can skip the step where you add this trial to your subscription further down, but I’ll cover it for those who take the Marketing route. Don’t worry you don’t need to be interested in Marketing at all – it’s just a route for you to create your portal account quickly and easily.

  1. Ensure you are not logged into any other portal account.
  2. Select One of the links below
  • Microsoft Dynamics Marketing – http://tinyurl.com/ktfqj2v
  • Office 365 (Select ‘Free Trial’) – https://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/p/?LinkID=403802&culture=en-US&country=US

If you are signed to another portal account in it won’t appear to create a new portal account and ask you if you want to add this to your current subscription. Sign out and click the link again.

Lastly, add in your details and choose your address. Enter a number to get your verification code sent to you – it is normally be sent immediately, enter it and click next.

It will take a moment to load and then you can click a link to be taken to your ‘Home’ screen. In the top left corner you will see the grid menu button which shouldn’t have anything on it at the moment, like in the screenshot below. (Don’t worry if it does!)


The ‘Home’ page of your new Portal


The trials, much like any purchases you end up making through this route, act like a ‘pay as you go’ service, (Software as a Service, SaaS) implementation that Microsoft have become so fond of, similar to also how Azure services are being angled. So the next steps include how to add these trials to your new portal account much in the same way. These trials contain a certain number of licenses which then you must associate to a user through the portal.

To add & set up an Office 365 Subscription (Screenshots below)

  1. Lets first add the Office 365 Subscription. To add a subscription to your account, ensure you are on the admin home page, if you are unsure, select the grid and select ‘Admin’. Navigate on the left hand side to ‘Purchase Services’ and select it. You should then get a whole list of stuff you can add to your account.. including trials, which is what we are interested in.
  2. When you are on this screen, select the Office 365 Enterprise E3 TRIAL only, don’t click purchase. (Remember nothing in this guide requires you to enter your billing info.)
  3. Confirm your Order by selecting ‘Try Now’.
  4. Continue past your Order receipt and you will be taken back to your home page
  5. Setup your Licenses (Go to the section “Associating your new licenses through the Portal“) below and follow the steps there.
  6. Office 365 takes a little while to set up, and it’s likely if you select your grid menu again in the top left corner you will see all of your new services but they will be greyed out.
  7. Refresh your entire browser with CTRL F5.
  8. You should now be able to access your newly added services. Test them, try them out & have fun.

A few things to be aware of..

  • You can now access the Excel Integration functionality in CRM if you already have a free trial of CRM associated to your portal account – skip to the section “Accessing Excel Integration” to read a few notes on this.
  • OneNote cannot be accessed – you will get an error that comes up that your notebooks cannot be accessed right now. I think this has something to do with them not being stored anywhere as when the Document Management and OneNote Integration is set up this no longer occurs. However, a quick way past this error in the meantime is to turn the 2 in the URL into a 1 and hit enter (circled in the screenshot below). You will now be able to temporarily access your notebooks without going via CRM. This doesn’t ‘fix’ it though as when you attempt to gain access to OneNote again you will come up against the same error.



Select ‘Purchase Services’ to get a list of items you can buy or trial



Select TRIAL on the Office 365 Enterprise E3 option



Confirm you would like to trial this item by selecting ‘Try Now’



Greyed out services – Once a license has been setup you are likely to see this whilst everything is getting setup.



When the services are ready to use, they will be shaded in.



If you attempt to access OneNote from the grid menu, you sometimes get this error. Changing the auth=2 to auth=1 will get you past this and allow you to create notebooks, but this is not a permanent solution. Follow the guide on setting up Document Locations and a folder below and this should no longer occur.



A screenshot showing being able to access your Notebooks using OneNote Online


To add and setup a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional Subscription (Screenshots below)

  1. Now lets add a Dynamics CRM 2015 Professional Trial to our portal account. To add the subscription navigate on the left hand side to ‘Purchase Services’ and select it. You should then be taken to a page where you can add a whole list of paid services to your account.. including the trial which we are interested in.
  2. When you are on this screen, scroll down quite a bit to find the select the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Professional TRIAL only, don’t click purchase. (Remember nothing in this guide requires you to enter your billing info.)
  3. Confirm your Order by selecting ‘Try Now’.
  4. Continue past your Order receipt and you will be taken back to your home page
  5. Setup your Licenses (Go to the section “Associating your new licenses through the Portal“) below and follow the steps
  6. CRM is pretty quick to get set up, you just need to refresh your browser, select the grid icon and then select the CRM logo
  7. The first time you do this will take you to the familiar CRM setup screen, select your Language and Currency then select ‘Finish’
  8. Wait a moment whilst your CRM instance is set up and then once ready, the URL will appear on the screen
  9. Select the URL to be taken to your new CRM
  10. Scroll down to see the “Accessing OneNote Integration” section to find out how to setup the One Note Integration functionality using your new trials.

Scroll down and select the TRIAL of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Professional



Confirm your trial by selecting ‘Try Now’


CRM Setup screen – select your Language and Currency then select ‘Finish’



Associating your new licenses through the Portal

Going back to the point I made about the Software as a Service approach, this methodology is also taken with the licenses in the Online model so it remains flexible who you have on your Portal account as users and also what service licenses you associate to them – for example you could have 10 people associated to Office 365 but only 5 of them have CRM.

When setting up trials you still have to also work this way so the two trials that we have set up with the portal account have a certain number of licenses associated to them. The steps below show you how to associate them to a user so they can be accessed.

  1. Navigate to the Admin area of your Portal page. (Grid Icon > Admin)
  2. On the left hand navigation, Select ‘Users’
  3. Select ‘Active Users’
  4. You should now have a list of users you have created for this Portal account, including yourself. Select yourself
  5. One the right hand side you can now see some additional information about the selected user,  including their Assigned Licenses. Select ‘Edit’ next to this.
  6. A new popup on the right hand side of the page will appear, select from the Pool of licenses you have available in the trials by selecting the tick boxes for Office 365 and CRM
  7. Select Save

Additional Notes..

If you went down the initial route of creating your Portal account through a Marketing trial, for some reason the Microsoft Dynamics Marketing and Microsoft Dynamics CRM Professional trial licenses conflict. Uncheck the Marketing and select only the Office 365 and CRM checked instead. When you want to use Marketing switch thelicenses around in the same way.



Select a User record and select ‘Edit’ next to the Assigned License heading on the right hand side




Choose the licenses you wish to associate to the user by using the check boxes. Ensure the Office 365 E3 and the CRM Online licenses are checked



Accessing Excel Integration functionality

You shouldn’t need to do anything else to be able to access the Embedded Excel editing functionality in Dynamics CRM. Using your grid left hand navigation, choose CRM, go to a view and select the ‘Export to Excel’ drop down, you should see an ‘Open in Excel Online’ option and then it will take a moment to load and display in an embedded excel sheet for you.

Have a play, some of the most notable things you have available to you are:

  • Multiple sheets
  • Make Excel Charts on the fly
  • Under the ‘Data’ menu item –  Refresh your connection – useful if someone else is working on the underlying data

When you have finished, save your changes and return to your list.


In a View, select the ‘Export to Excel’ option and then ‘Open in Excel Online’



Accessing OneNote Integration (Screenshots below)

To access the OneNote integration you need to do a little more setup work compared to Excel. It’s a pain but it’s worth it, really. Firstly you need to get your SharePoint site URL…

  1. To get your SharePoint Site URL, choose Admin from your portal and select SharePoint from the left hand side navigation. In the very first screen that loads you should see about 5 or 6 URLs. You are interested in the top URL, copy it.
  2. Now select CRM, and go via the Settings to ‘Document Management’.
  3. Select the bottom left hand option – ‘Enable Server-Side Based SharePoint Integration’. (Note: This menu heading name will change once it has been setup) Selecting this will begin a wizard process where you will need to paste the URL from the previous step. There will be a validation time where, providing you selected the correct URL, it should be validated after a moment. The last part of the wizard asks you if you would like to open the Document Location Folder Settings, select Yes and Finish.
  4. Now to set up Document Location Folder Settings – your window should already be open or select the ‘Document Management Settings’ from the Settings > Document Management Menu on the top left. Here you will select the entities you would like to enable for Document Management (SharePoint). Keep it simple for now and keep the default selected, which includes Account. At the bottom of the wizard you will see another ‘Site URL’ box, paste the same URL from the step before and select Next. Another Validation timer will begin and once competed it will let you know your URL is valid, finish the wizard and don’t bother selecting the folder structure based on entity, we are not interested in that at the moment.
  5. The last few steps include setting up OneNote Integration. You will see this setting on the Settings > Document Management section in the bottom right corner called ‘OneNote Integration’. Select this.
  6. You will see a similar screen to the one you just encountered where you select the entities you would like to turn on OneNote integration for. Again, keep this the default for now which also includes Account. Read the section at the bottom of the wizard as it contains useful information – especially for OneNote pros – e.g. The integration does not support Section Groups for example. Select Finish.
  7. You are now setup. Navigate to the Account View and Open an Account Page. You will now see a ‘OneNote’ option next to the Notes section on the record in the middle of the form. Select this, there will be a slight delay whilst it creates your notebook and your first section for you. Selecting the section opens OneNote automatically for you.
  8. You can access your OneNote Notebook and Sections also through the associated entities button > Documents – here you can rename your notebook from ‘Untitled’ by selecting it and selecting ‘Edit Properties’.

Select the ‘SharePoint’ option on the left hand side



Copy the top URL to your clipboard



Begin the Wizard to Enable SharePoint Integration



Keep ‘Online’ selected



Paste your URL that you copied here



Click Next once you have your URL in the box



Validation should now be successful and select ‘Enable’



Now you must set up your Document Management Settings – select the checkbox on this Wizard to open it automatically for you after selecting ‘Finish’



Keep the default entities selected and also paste the same URL from the previous step into the ‘Site URL’ box



Click Next



Your URL should be valid – Ignore Folder Structures for now and select Next



Your Library should be successfully created and you can select ‘Finish’



Select ‘OneNote Integration’ in the Settings > Document Management area of CRM



Select the Entities you would like to enable for OneNote Integration – Keep this default for now.




You should now see a ‘OneNote’ area in the middle of the form for the entities that you enabled for OneNote Integration



Selecting this for the first time creates your Notebook and your first Section (Called ‘Untitled’ by default)



By going to the associated entities > Documents you can access your OneNote items



Select an item and select ‘Edit Properties’ to change the name



When you click a OneNote item in CRM it automatically opens OneNote Online


Thats it! Have a play around with these two awesome pieces of functionality at no cost and no hassle – any questions please leave them in the comments or ask on twitter @dynamiccrmcat