PTG specializes in the delivery of IT services with a focus on business continuity, virtualization, and storage solutions to support your line-of-business and communication applications. Our implementation services are centered around IT and business best practices, gleaned from years of working in the industry and from well-established vendor partnerships.

Turn names into email addresses in Excel

Today’s post is from Becky Azevedo, our NOC Manager on the Managed Services Team

Have you ever had a list of items in Excel that you wanted in a different format, but you didn’t want to spend the next few days or hours manually typing them into different columns or copying and pasting until your fingers bled? For example, let’s say you have a list of people’s names that you would like to turn into email addresses. Or a column of names in the lastname, firstname format that you want to separate out into separate columns. There are a number of other examples, but it is my experience that in the IT world these are the most common.

Let’s start with first example, a list of people that you want to turn into email addresses. I’ll show you how to make Excel do the work for you.

In this scenario, we have a list of the people that exist at Fake Corp,. but we would like to publish their names with their email addresses.


1. We will start by selecting the cell in the 2nd column next to the cell that contains the name.

a. The email address format we want is

2. The function we will call to help us with this is “CONCATENATE”. The formula we will use in this example is =CONCATENATE(K2,".",L2,"") And the first result looks like this: clip_image004



Now the easiest way to fill in the rest of the cells without having to type all that information in again is to use the Fill Handle (my personal favorite). The fill handle is at the bottom right corner of the selected cell.

You may have never noticed it before, but once you get the hang of it, I know you will find it to be very useful. To use it, hover your cursor over the fill handle until your cursor changes to a +. Then click and drag it down as far as you want to copy the formula to other cells and then release the mouse. Whether it’s 5 cells, 500 cells or 5,000 cells the fill handle will make them all match.


Now for the 2nd scenario. If you have a list of people, but they are listed in the lastname, firstname format and you want to separate them into different columns, there is a built-in function in Excel 2013 called Text to Columns that makes this super easy.

1. Highlight the cells you want to separate.


2. Click on the Data tab of the ribbon and you will see several useful tools here. However, we are going to be exploring Text to Columnsclip_image012

3. Clicking Text to Columns will start the wizard that walks you through your options. On the first screen of the wizard, we will select “Delimited” because our data is already separated by a comma, and click next. clip_image014

4. Next we will check the box next to comma and click nextclip_image016

5. We can leave the data format as General and click Finish on the last screen of the wizardclip_image018

6. Now the names have been separated into different columns!


Now you can combine cells and separate text within cells like a pro! Happy Excelling!

Microsoft PowerPoint Security Bug–All in the news

There has recently been coverage in the news about a security flaw in Microsoft PowerPoint (and other Office products as well), that could allow a remote attacker to gain access to a PC or system.  As usual, this is much ado about nothing if you are paying attention to what you are doing on your PC.

In order for the security flaw to be exploited:

1) You have to open an infected PowerPoint.  In most cases, this would mean something that you were emailed or that you downloaded off the internet.  First way to keep safe: Don’t open files that you aren’t expecting or that you have downloaded off the internet.

2) In Office 2010 and 2013, if you have not modified the default settings, Office warns you before running code on an Office file.  (This functionality may have existed in 2007…but if you are still using 2003 or 2007, time to upgrade!)  This functionality was created specifically to limit these types of attacks.  Second way to keep safe: Run an updated version of Office and don’t enable code that you aren’t expecting.

For more details – you can visit this link. 

Don’t get us wrong – this is a serious security flaw, but if you follow the normal rules of staying safe on the internet, your risk is very low.

Review of Surface Pro 3

I have been using the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 for a few months now.  Previously, I used a Lenovo ThinkPad x230 but I put it aside to put the Surface Pro 3 through the paces.  Here are my thoughts.  My requirements on a laptop are:

1) Light

2) Tough, I move around throughout the day and my machine needs to be able to take a beating

3) Great battery life

4) Able to keep up with me if I have several applications open at once

5) Solid state drive and more than 4GB of RAM (16GB is ideal for me)

My thoughts on the Surface Pro 3 (256GB SSD, i5 processor, 8GB RAM)

Size and Form Factor

This thing is light.  Super light and super thin.  It’s very easy to carry into meetings and not feel like you are lugging a laptop with you.  I bought a Snugg Leather case (brown) for it – it is the perfect size and allows you to pop the Surface pen right into the top.  (More on the pen later.)  Pretty much any case that fits the Macbook Air will be perfect for Surface Pro.

The kickstand is awesome.  Being able to position the screen is something I never really thought about with my Surface Pro 2 – but it makes sense because you can position your screen on a regular laptop.  Great engineering on the part of Microsoft designer engineers.

The keyboard leaves a lot to be desired.  It is backlit (which is very nice).  The track pad feels a little ‘off’ to me.  I don’t know if maybe it is too smooth or too big –  I can’t quite put my finger on it.  (No pun intended.)

Battery Life

The battery life is weak.  I am running the i5 and am lucky to get a full 5 hours of normal usage.  Normal usage for me is light productivity work, Bluetooth turned on, and using Wi-Fi.  I could get about 7 hours out of my x230.  I had a keyboard battery for my Surface Pro 2 – I really hope Microsoft makes one of these for the Surface Pro 3.


Performance is not bad.  It manages to keep up with me having about 30 windows open across IE, Outlook, Office, and our CRM application.

Files open quickly thanks to the Solid State Drive.  It does get a little hot every evening when our regularly scheduled antivirus deep scan kicks in – but that’s to be expected.  You can hear the fan working extra hard during this time frame.

Anecdotally, it feels like I need to reboot this machine more frequently than I did my Lenovo x230.  I can’t speak to why – but if I don’t, it inevitably slows down.  I would reboot my Lenovo only when patches were applied (about once a month). 

I’ve also noticed that all my icons occasionally will just go black.  I don’t know if this is tied to the Surface or Windows – but it has never happened across any of my other PCs.  I suspect it has something to do with the video drivers.

The included Pen

The pen works really well. I use OneNote for most every meeting I attend to help me keep my thoughts and to-dos all organized.  OneNote is great for that and the integration with the pen works flawlessly.  The Surface comes with a little loop that you can hang off the device or the keyboard to hold your pen.  I think it looks silly, so instead I tuck the pen into the side of the Snugg case or into the keyboard.  Both work well and I have yet to lose my pen (fingers crossed).

Pen tucked into the nook on the Snugg Case


Pen tucked into the keyboard


Accessories You Will Need

The Surface doesn’t come with a keyboard.  I guess that is so Microsoft can say that it is really a tablet, and thus, can operate without a keyboard.  But – you need a keyboard. 

You really need a docking station for the Surface Pro 3 if you are going to use it as your standard machine.  I use a Plugable UD-3900 and run 2 24” monitors plus my Surface monitor.  At home I use the Microsoft docking station and it works well.

If you do lots of presentations, you should probably buy the DisplayPort to VGA connector.  Most projectors are VGA – so this is your safest bet.  The Surface does have DisplayPort, so if you are good with that – then no need to spend the money.

I also like the Microsoft Arc mouse.  It folds flat, uses Bluetooth, and works like a charm. 

Tablet Use

I can’t see using the Surface as a tablet, ever. It’s just too big.  I can’t think of a time when  I have ever seen anyone using a Surface as a tablet, either.  (Save, of course, when they are taking notes.)  This may also be due to the lack of apps that are useful in the modern interface.  If the app ecosystem gets closer with Windows 10, perhaps I will use my Surface more as a tablet.


I know a lot of people tether their PCs to their mobile phones, but I like having a built in SIM.  Microsoft has all but said that is not in the cards for Surface.

As stated above, I seldom reboot my PC.  Instead I mostly put my PC to sleep.  The Surface seems to have a really hard time with this.  I am not sure if it’s due to the design of the keyboard (there is no clasp to hold it shut, there is no hinge to keep it shut, so it will randomly wake up from sleep) or something else.  I have worked with the power settings to no avail.  The issue is I will put my machine to sleep, throw it in my bag and head to a meeting.  When I get to the meeting my Surface has been awake the whole time and my battery is significantly drained.  In one instance my meeting was two hours away and my Surface was completely dead.  Luckily I had my power supply, if not, it would have been a short meeting.

All in – the Surface Pro 3 is a very solid device and, for most folks, you can definitely replace it and use it is as your daily machine. 

Working with OneDrive for Business for iOS

OneDrive for Business is a part of the Office 365 Suite or can be used as a standalone product.  OneDrive is a great way to share documents and files without having to pass a bunch of email around internally or externally.  With OneDrive for Business you can easily share documents with other folks from inside your organization or outside your organization.

Here’s how the process works on iOS (iPhone).  This post assumes that you already have your file in OneDrive.

Open OneDrive and look for the file you want to share.  Once you have found it – tap on it.  In this example, I am sharing a ZIP file.  Once the file is opened you will see a person icon with a plus on it in the lower left hand corner.  Tap that to share the file. (The buttons across the bottom are Share, Make Available Offline, and the ellipse allows you to rename, delete, or open the file in another app.  By the way, if you are working with an Office document, you will also have the option to edit the file from this menu.)


Now tap the + button to actually share the document.


The next screen allows you to put in the email address of the person with whom you would like to share the document.  You can also press the + button in the Share With: box to search contacts from your phone.  Slide the ‘Let Recipient Edit’ bar over if you want to allow the user to just view the document versus editing it.

image image

Then press “Add” in the upper right hand corner and your document will be shared!  Happy sharing!

Why do my deleted messages have a ‘strikethrough’ in IMAP on Outlook?

Submitted by: Amar Raina, an Outsourced IT Support Specialist with Palmetto Technology Group

One of the quirks of IMAP is that messages are neither deleted immediately when you press Del nor moved to a Trash folder.  Instead they are "marked for deletion" until you update the folder (usually by navigating to another folder).  IMAP is not a true Active Sync so it leaves the message in the users respective folder until they navigate away from it.

How to fix this issue:

To hide messages already marked for deletion in Outlook:

- Outlook 2010/2013

  • Select  VIEW à CURRENT VIEW (drop down) 
  • **** If you have IMAP set up you will see HIDE MESSAGES MARKED FOR DELETION
  • Would show up here if I had IMAP set up

· clip_image001

- Outlook 2003


Configuring the CRM Email Router for CRM Online and Office 365

Submitted by: Matt Banning (PTG Project Engineer), Outsourced IT Support and Office 365 Specialist

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Email Router Setup

If you’re interested in using the On Premise Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Email Router this is the blog for you, because there isn’t currently much documentation on how to install or configure it.

So what is the Email Router you ask? Because CRM is not an email system- it cannot send emails directly. Instead CRM has to rely on a mail service to send the mail for it. The Email Router is the connection between the two. The router catches the outgoing requests sent from CRM and then uses your mail service (Exchange or POP) to send email. Alternatively CRM deployments can utilize the CRM Outlook add-in, but emails aren’t sent unless Outlook is actively running. Email queues are not supported with the Outlook CRM add-in, so if you want to use queues you’ll have to setup an email router.

Office 365’s Exchange Service is what we’ll be using to configure the instance we’re working on in this tutorial.

Here’s a simple version of the requirements:

1. A machine that’s always running (it doesn’t have to be on a server) to ensure that your mail is delivered as soon as you click send.

2. A mail account with ‘Send As’ rights for each CRM user

3. A fully licensed CRM account

After you determine where you’re going to host the Email Router you can start by downloading the appropriate version here: (Helpful Hint- if you don’t see the download button- add * to your trusted sites in Internet Explorer). If you’re on a Windows 8 or better PC, you’ll need to install Service Pack 1 which is available here:

Step One: Install

Launch the installer and you’ll immediately get asked if you want to automatically retrieve updates (choose yes).


Continue through the prompts and accept the EULA. After a few screens you should be prompted to download anything that you don’t currently have installed on your machine.


Next, select the components you want to install (we will not be covering the Rule Deployment Wizard in this post).


You can choose the default install location.


After choosing the location, the wizard will do a few system checks.


On the next screen, click the ‘Install’ button


After all of that comes the fun part- actually configuring the Email Router.


Step Two: Configuration

First things first

Now that we’ve installed the Email Router- we need to configure it. We need to setup a configuration profile, a deployment, and configure the mailboxes to use the router.


Configuration Profile

The configuration profile is the account that used by the Email Router to confirm that CRM is allowed to send emails. The account has to be a fully licensed CRM user AND it has to have a mailbox associated with it.

Emails will appear to come from the CRM user that actually sent the message, not the account we’re configuring. This account will need to have Send As rights for any CRM user that wants to send messages.

1. Start by clicking the ‘New’ button on the ‘Configuration Profiles’ tab.


2. On the window that opens, go ahead and name the profile something that makes sense to you. This name doesn’t matter and will only be seen on the Deployments tab in the next phase of the configuration.

3. In the ‘Direction’ dropdown- choose ‘Outgoing’. An incoming profile is only needed if your organization is using queues.

4. In the ‘Email Server Type’ we’ll choose the ‘ExchangeOnline’ option- as we’re using Office 365 mailboxes that are hosted in the cloud.

5. Check the ‘Autodiscover’ checkbox. This option will forego the need for you to manually find the URL of your Web service.

6. Set the ‘Access Credentials’ to ‘Administrator’, otherwise each user will need an individual profile. Enter the full email address and password of the account we designated earlier.

7. Finally, set the ‘Access Type’ to ‘Send as permission’.



Next we’ll choose which CRM instance is allowed to send mail. Unless you are a large organization, you probably only have one instance. To fill out the deployment tab you’ll need to know the instance name.


Find your Instance Name

1. As a CRM administrator browse to the Settings > Customizations section and choose ‘Developer Resources’

2. At the top of the page copy the ‘Organization Unique Name’ exactly as it appears – it is case sensitive.


Setting up the Deployments tab

1. Start by clicking the ‘New’ button on the Deployments tab. When the new window opens, choose the option for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online.clip_image027

2. In the field titled ‘Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server’ delete the text that is prepopulated. In its place, insert “” followed by the case sensitive organization name you found in the ‘Find your Instance Name’ section from earlier in this tutorial.

3. For ‘Access Credentials’ insert the CRM admin account that we used in the ‘Configuration Profile’ step.

4. For ‘Outgoing configuration profile’ select the drop down and choose the outgoing profile we setup earlier. Since we didn’t setup an incoming profile, we don’t need to designate one.


Testing the Configuration

Now that we’ve setup the tool and the accounts we can progress into testing the configuration. On the ‘Users, Queues, and Forward Mailboxes’ tab click ‘Load Data’.


If you’ve configured all the settings properly you should see a list of users loaded.


Select a user and then click ‘Test Access’. On the next screen you should see the ‘Outgoing Status’ test succeed.


Close the ‘Test Access’ window and return to the ‘Users, Queues, and Forward Mailboxes’ tab. Click ‘Publish’ at the bottom of the screen to ensure that your settings are saved.

Step Three: Telling CRM to use the Email Router

Now that we’ve got everything setup we need to tell CRM online to use the Mail Router. To do this, open a browser and navigate to the ‘Administration’ section of the settings.


In the ‘System Settings’ browse to the ‘Email’ tab. In the first field, ‘Process Email Using’, click the dropdown and choose the ‘Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Email Router’ option.


Optionally, a little lower on the page, you can also set the default options for newly created users.

Configuring the Users

Working from your browser, navigate back to the ‘Administration’ section of the settings. In the ‘Users’ section you’ll need to change each user’s profile to use the Email Router. To do this, at the bottom of the page, expand the ‘Administration’ area and click on the user’s mailbox.


On the following screen, set the ‘Outgoing Email’ to use the ‘Server-Side Synchronization or Email Router’. Optionally- you could select ‘None’ to not allow a user to send or receive email through CRM, or select the option for ‘Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook’ to use the Outlook add-in.


Finally- try sending an email from CRM and see if you get the message.

OneNote Modern (Metro) App Sign In Issues

Recently we had an issue with OneNote not allowing organizational accounts to be added in the Modern (metro) app – but organizational accounts could be added to the OneNote Desktop app.  This particular client also had Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS) in their environment. 

The problem presented itself in that when the user input their credentials the credentials would not be accepted – it would just keep querying the user for the credentials. 

Here’s the fix:

In your browser, Tools > Internet Options > Select Security Tab
Choose Local Intranet
Click Sites Button
Click Advanced
Add the URL for your ADFS proxy server (
Ok from all windows
Problem solved!

Confused By All The New “Gadgets”…

Submitted by Graham Cobb, Projects Manager at Palmetto Technology Group, an Outsourced IT Support and Office 365 Specialist based in Greenville, SC.

Are you confused by all the new gadgets that say they can make your Cloud experience the greatest? I believe I have found the one device that is not only top notch for your business needs but also favors well for personal use. I am talking about the Lenovo X230t, I use this machine daily and am impressed every time I tackle a task or a project. This thing is a work horse that will stand the test of time. I have an i7 with 16 GB ram and a solid state drive which blows most machines out of the water. If your company is looking for the next upgrade our sales team can get a demo out to your location. Speaking of the cloud and Windows 8 (, having a touch screen is becoming a must, you are in luck the x230t comes touch screen ready with a stylus. I am finding more and more that during meetings I will hand write notes using OneNote and sync it to SharePoint for use later. I love having the confidence that when I go into a meeting my machine can keep up while working on multiple items all while having a long battery life that charges very quickly. Trust me, next time your machine is running slow or when you are ready to see what life would be like having a machine that can meet your demands take a look at the x230t, go with the extra ram and a solid state drive and you will never look back.

(Unlicensed Product)…(Protected View)

Submitted by Gary Byrne, System Engineer at Palmetto Technology Group, an Outsourced IT Support and Office 365 Specialist based in Greenville, SC.

How to fix “Unlicensed Product” error for Office products?

Recently, I’ve had several calls with Microsoft Office 2013 users who suddenly get an “Unlicensed Product” red banner across the top of their Office product even though their Office license is valid.  When you click on File – Account, the Product Information shows that it is properly activated.  Of course, this can be very frustrating, but luckily, the solution can be quite easy.

Give this a try for a quick fix.

  • Make sure all your MSOffice applications are closed, including logging off of and exiting Lync.
  • Find your Word or Excel application and right-click on it and choose to open it as Administrator.
  • Click on File – Account and under User Info choose to Sign out, then sign back in (make sure you make note of which email account you are using with your product before you sign out).
  • Close your Office application and then reopen it…your Application should now be fixed.


If for some reason this does not work, you may have to check and see if you have any other accounts connected to the Products.  Choose to run Word or Excel as Administrator again, then go to File – Account, and under Connected Services, remove any associated accounts except the one you are using to log into your Office Product.

Connected Services

As a last resort, you may have to run a script file to re-register your license.  Once again, make sure all your Office programs are closed.  Next, open a Command Prompt window as Administrator by clicking on Start and in the search field type in cmd and right-click the Command Prompt to Run as Administrator.  In the Command Prompt window, navigate to %Program Files%\Microsoft Office\Office15 (if you have a 32-bit Operating System, replace %Program Files% with %Program  Files(x86)%), then type in cscript ospp.vbs /act and hit Enter.  The output should read Product Activation Successful.


If I had my guess though, you won’t need to go farther than opening your Office product as an Administrator, logging off and back in, then restarting the Product.  I hope this gives some quick relief to a frustrating issue.

SharePoint Misconceptions

Submitted by: Graham Cobb , Project Manager at PTG, a Microsoft Tier 3 Cloud Champion, Cloud Accelerate partner and Cloud deployment partner providing technology solutions including Office 365, Dynamics CRM, Private Cloud, and IT Infrastructure to businesses and enterprises nationally.

One of the biggest misconceptions of SharePoint is that you have to log into the website to access your data. I manage several migrations each month and it is a necessity I have quick access to signed scopes and customer information. The easiest way to get to that information is to download SkyDrive Pro to your desktop and click “Sync” on the SharePoint site you wish to have access to from your desktop.

Sharepoint Image 1

Once this is setup it is as simple as opening a folder on your desktop. You can view all the files in one location.

Sharepoint Image 2

The icon on the file will let you know the status of the file. It will also alert you if the file hasn’t synced or available. This makes opening up your files very easy without having to save them locally to your machine. Setting up this process can be done usually within one afternoon (selecting the files you want to have quick access to and the time for them to sync to your file explorer). Schedule a demo with our Sales team @