Office 365 introduces a drastically new way of managing your Microsoft Applications. In many ways, this is a positive change allowing you to gain insight into and control over the software deployed in your environment.

However, if this is your first Microsoft Office 365 Subscription, the activation process can be somewhat confusing. Here we will look at the major steps that you will take before you can begin using Office 365.

After you’ve purchased an Office 365 subscription through Office 365 Open channel or Enterprise Agreement, you’ll need to sign in to your Volume Licensing Service Center (VLSC) portal.

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Note:  For more information on how to sign in and navigate VLSC, refer to the Microsoft Volume Licensing Service Center User Guide.

msft vol 2Navigate to your Office 365 subscription and click Activate.

1)  There will be an email sent to your Online Services (OLS) Contact.

2)  The activation email will provide you with two options: Sign up or Sign in. If you have previously created a trial, choose to Sign in. If you do not yet have an Office 365 tenant, choose, Sign up.

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This will redirect you to the appropriate Office 365 sign in or sign up page.

3)  Now, sign in to Office 365 ( using your existing Office 365 administrator credentials. After you successfully sign in, you’ll receive another email confirming your purchase.

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4)  Once you’ve signed in, you can click on Billings –> Subscriptions, to verify that your purchased Office 365 Subscriptions are activated within your tenant. (You can also click the Subscription tab in the VLSC to view details verifying that your subscription has been deposited.)

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5)  Now, you need to add your users to Office 365. There are several ways of accomplishing this.

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      1. Add individually or in bulk with a CSV file. Select this option if it is OK for your users to use credentials different from their system credentials to login to Office 365.
      2. Set up Same Sign On with Active Directory (AD) Sync. This is a good option if you want your users to use the SAME credentials that they use to access anything else that is tied to Active Directory.
      3. Set up Single Sign On with Active Directory Federation Services (ADFS). This is the option to choose if you need to reroute your users through your on premise Active Directory in order to authenticate through Office 365. (If, for example, you have security concerns that you can mitigate using Active Directory, this may be a good option. With ADFS, one option is to restrict use of Office 365 Services based on your users’ IP Address).
      4. Use a 3rd party service to set up single sign-on.

Note: One of the steps in Syncing AD is to “Add a Domain.”  This will enable your users to use the same email address that they use for sending and receiving mail.

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6)  Finally, you will need to assign Office 365 Licenses to your users. You can accomplish this with the portal, by clicking on the boxes to the Left of the user’s name, or, you can use Powershell: Manage Windows Azure AD using Windows PowerShell (

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From here, you can enjoy the many administrative and user productivity benefits of Office 365!

Need more information? Let us know in the “Comment” section below. To learn more about Microsoft software solutions, visit the CDW Microsoft Showcase.

3 thoughts on “Activating a New Microsoft Office 365 Volume License Subscription

  • Hello,

    What’s happening when the customer add a new user?
    Is there a trial periode? When I order a licence, the distributor needs 1-2-3 days before delivery.

    What about the contract duration? When I add a new user, I have to buy a one-year licence on my distributor website.
    If the customer main licence (10 users) is on the February 14th 2014, and 11th user is on the 25th of May 2014, what’s the contract duration? What’s happening for the renewal on the February 14th 2015? Do I need to renew 10 users and then 1 user? Or 11 users loosing 3 month?



  • Greg Quinlan says:

    We have a Volume License Agreement, but Office 365 doesn’t show up under subscriptions. What now?

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