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January 08
SPTechCon Austin 2016

Ausitn16_300x250_ROTCan you believe that it’s almost time for the SharePoint Technology Conference again? It’s coming up next month, and I’ll be there!

When you register, you can use the code ROGERS to get a $200 discount off of a full conference pass!

Click here to see my speaker profile.

Click here to see all sessions on the site, with various filters to find sessions you’re interested in.

Are you a fan of our SharePoint Power Hour?  Are you going to SPTechCon? 

We’ll be doing a live broadcast at the conference, and you all are invited!  My WHOLE TEAM is going to be there:

Joelle Farley (@Joelle_Shmoelle) https://spmacgyver.wordpress.com/

Kevin Hughes (@sharepointkevin) http://www.sharepointkevin.com

Corey Emmons (@corey_sp)

Tanya Keyser (@TanyaKeyser)

Stephen Wilson (@StephenTech911) http://www.sharepointbitme.com/

Ryan Keller (@RyanKeller)

Tavis Lovell (@TavisLovell) http://tavislovell.com/

PLUS of course @ToddKlindt and @sharepointlhorn will also be speakers there too. Smile

SharePoint Power Hour will be at the usual time, on Wednesday at 11 Central.  We’ll put information about the name of the room once we get more details later.

Here is a list of my sessions, and notice that I’m co-presenting with Joelle too!

Feb22

11:30am – 12:45pm

Simplifying File Organization with Enterprise Keywords

When working with documents in SharePoint and Office 365, there are various challenges around categorizing and organizing documents. Most of the challenges are around end user understanding and training. Metadata, folders, and combinations of the two are used in order to keep documents where they belong and find them when needed.
In this class, you will learn about the flexibility of using Enterprise Keywords, and the many integration points with Office and Windows. With the end goal of being to remove complexity for end users, you will learn about tagging from within Office and OneDrive, automatic tagging, organizing metadata, and then how to make it easy to find what has been tagged.

Level: Intermediate

Audience: Information Worker Essentials


4:00pm - 5:15pm

Creating an Approval Workflow

Forms and documents are everywhere in your organization, and a lot of them must go through an approval process.  SharePoint is such a flexible platform, it provides us with multiple methods that can be used to build our processes.  In this session, learn about the different out-of-box ways to create a workflow around a form approval process.  Laura Rogers will show you the various alternatives when creating an approval workflow: content approval, out of box workflows, and the task process designer in a SharePoint Designer workflow.  Quickly create and implement intuitive workflows for your critical IT and business systems, with no programming involved!  The concepts in this session are applicable to SharePoint 2010, 2013, and Office 365.

Level: Overview

Audience: Architecture Essentials, Power User Essentials

Feb24

8:30am - 9:45am

The Power User Cheat Sheet for Rollups & Search

Joelle Farley and Laura Rogers

Do you have a lot of content in SharePoint, and need to be able to categorize and find things?  In this session, learn best practices for utilizing metadata and search capabilities to get the most out of out-of-box content management in SharePoint. During the session we will focus on the many different ways that Managed Metadata can be used with the Content Search Web Part to surface information from across the site collection. The session will also include information and demonstrations on using the Refinement Panel Web Part, getting the most out of your Search Schema, working with Term-Driven Pages, applying Faceted Navigation in the real world and fully utilizing People Search. The goal of the session will be to introduce the audience to these new features and show examples of how we have used these features for clients to create real business solutions with simple configurations.  

Level: Overview

Audience: IT Pro Essentials, Information Worker Essentials


1:30pm – 2:45PM

Driving User Adoption, From a Technical Standpoint 

Lori Gowin and Laura Rogers

When IT professionals set up the infrastructure of SharePoint, the subsequent task of end user adoption is often left to the business unit.  During this process, the business unit will often turn to “The SharePoint Person” for help and guidance.  Good news IT Pros, there are useful technical configurations in the administration console to improve and increase user adoption.  Ultimately this will improve user satisfaction with SharePoint and increase productivity.  Lori and Laura both began as SharePoint Administrators 11 years ago.  The real world experience of implementing these practices will be integral in this session.  Among the topics covered will be defining user audiences, improving Office integration with SharePoint, and demonstrations of improving how users can quickly and easily get to the information they need. When leaving this session, attendees will possess a specific action list that may be used to optimize their technical experience and drive user adoption.

Level: Intermediate

Audience: IT Pro Essentials

December 02
Microsoft PowerApps for No-Code Apps

Microsoft's new PowerApps just came out this week! PowerApps is an app for Windows 8 and up desktops, or mobile devices. It is also only for Office 365 customers. When you go to http://www.powerapps.com, you can request an invite, so that your Office 365 tenant will be allowed to use it. Here is the link to install it http://aka.ms/powerappsinstall This is a preview of the product, so things in these screenshots may change over time before the final release.

There are several links on the homepage to get you started, such as Plans and Resources. Also, as you're trying out PowerApps, there is a little smiley icon at the top right. That's where you give your feedback. Please let them know what you thing, and constructive criticism letting them know specifically what you are referring to.

To see my demo of this product preview, stay tuned to our live SharePoint Power Hour on 12/2/2015, or watch it recorded later.

Once you get logged in for the first time, the web page will look like this. You can immediately start making an app or a logic flow:

(To get back to PowerApps, it will also be available here):

You may assume that you'd need an app before creating a logic flow. Not really. Logic flows can be based off of a lot of different types of data sources that you may have access to, such as Salesforce or Azure. I love the web page ifttt.com, which lets me automate a lot of things in my life. Well, this is similar, except more for business data sources.

In this example, I'll start making a SharePoint app based on a couple of lists.

Under "Make an app", when you click Get Started, it shows you a lot of example apps to try out. I highly recommend creating one or two of these, even if they don't have the data source you need, just to try them out and see how all of the controls work, and how they are set up. Notice at the top, that you can flip between a Phone or a Tablet, and the app templates will look different for each.

Phone:

Tablet:

When you click the Choose button at the bottom right, it opens up PowerApps on your computer, or prompts you to install it.

For the sample data in the examples, for now it only lets you choose between Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive. As you can see, I selected Dropbox.

In PowerApps, click Connections on the right side, so that you can create one or more connections to your data. You'll notice in the pricing plans that the number and type of connections will be different in different plans. For example, the enterprise level will even let you connect to on-premises data sources. As of now, the available connections you can create are:

  • Dropbox
  • Dynamics CRM Online
  • Google Drive
  • Microsoft Translator
  • Office 365 Outlook
  • Office 365 Users
  • OneDrive
  • Salesforce
  • SharePoint Online
  • Twitter

You can just create some connections, which you will potentially use in various apps you create. You don't have to use every data connection in every app, but PowerApps will remember all of your connections and they will stay in there for next time you fire it up to create another app. I'm not going to create the sample app right now, I'm going to do a SharePoint Online one, so I went ahead and added a connection and authenticated to my Office 365 tenant. Here is their set of steps for creating connections.

  1. For my SharePoint app, on the main screen I'm going to choose Start from your data, as a phone app:

  2. I choose SharePoint Online from my list of connections, then on the right, I can add my SharePoint site using New Site. I can have multiple sites in this list.

  3. I selected my travel site, which doesn't have that many lists in it. Once you select a site and click Connect, you will be prompted to select a list. Don't worry, even though you're only selecting one here, you'll be able to add more to your app. Select a list and click Connect.
  4. Your app is built. Pretty basic and needs some tweaking, but it totally works!

Let's walk around and see what's what. Here's Microsoft's set of instructions, and you can scroll down to the Customize the app section.
https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/tutorials/get-started-create-from-data/

 

Getting in and Out

First of all, if you create this app and then exit PowerApps and come back, you'll see list of all of your apps that you can open. Like me, you may click the name of the app to open it to design it some more. BUT, when you click the name of the app, that is the end user experience of interacting with it, filling out forms, etc.

Design: You need to click the little "Edit" icon (pencil) to get back to the designer.

Sharing: That's how you "Publish" it (for now), you share it with people using their email addresses.

Pin: Pin this PowerApp to your Start screen. For people who use it, fill out forms, etc on a daily basis, this is what they would do. Currently there is no out-of-box direct link from your SharePoint site to your app.

Screens

The concept of Screens in here is similar to Views in InfoPath or Forms in MS Access. Same set of data, just different ways of looking at it or interacting with it. The default screens are down the left, and there are three. Notice in the ribbon in the screenshot above, you can create new screens, rename existing ones, and even select from pretty layouts for them.

BrowseScreen1 – This is the screen that shows you a list of stuff. Each item has a button to go to the detail page.

DetailScreen1 – This is like the DisplayForm in SharePoint. It's for looking at data, like a list item.

EditScreen1 – This is used for new items being filled out OR for existing items being edited.

Just like with views in InfoPath, you can create buttons that will let you switch between views. For example, by default when you create a new item in here, it takes the user to the DetailScreen to view the item they just created. You can even click the little ellipses button next to any screen to do additional actions such as delete it or duplicate it.

Quick Tools

Notice the pane on the right in my screenshot above. If you don't see it, click the Quick Tools button at the bottom of the screen. I love the way that you can quickly change the layout on your screens, pick from some color themes, or pick from your content fields. Layouts and themes are pretty self-explanatory, but what's "Content" for?

I can tell by looking at the data that those aren't the fields that I'd like to display here. For example, the one that says "stuff" is actually in the description of a travel request. I see on the right that Heading8 is bound to the description. To change it, I just change the drop-down box to Title. You'll notice when you click one of those drop-downs for the values, that you see the system name for each field, not the pretty display name.
(Note: In list settings in the browser, look at the hyperlink of a SharePoint list column name to see Field= to find out what that column's system name is)

I went ahead and switched some of mine around, so that the fields that I want are showing, instead of the defaults.

Options

There is an Options button at the bottom, next to the Quick Tools button. This has my data sources in it, and I can insert more data. For example, I'd like to have multiple SharePoint lists in this app, for lookups and such.

Adding more data sources

I'm not sure what the TextualGallerySample is, but there's my Travel Requests list.

  1. Click Insert your data to add more sources, such as other SharePoint lists, Twitter, OneDrive, Azure, whatever I need.
  2. Click SharePoint Online.
  3. Click the name of your site, or you can even add other sites in here, so you can have cross-site data!
  4. Click the name of one or more lists, and click the Insert button.

Controls

There are many really cool, modern types of controls that you can use in PowerApps. Here's a page where they walk you through adding and setting up several. https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/tutorials/add-list-box-drop-down-list-radio-button/

Data Cards – These are little sections in your form. Click on your default EditScreen1, and click on a control. The card I selected here is for the Title field, which I call the "Destination" in my travel request list. It contains the label and the text box for the destination.

When I open up Quick Tools again while this control is selected, it looks a little different. There's more that I can do. Notice the little Edit column on the far right. See that my estimated cost field has a number icon, that's because it's a number field and the rest are text. I'd like my trip start and trip end fields to be date pickers instead of textboxes. This is what you will see when you click the little abc icon:

Advanced Settings

Also, notice that when you're working in controls, there is a drop-down box and function button at the top of the screen. This can be used with screens, controls, buttons, etc, and this is where all of the logic happens. Also, there is an advanced view of properties.

On the View tab in the ribbon, click Advanced.

This is where it gets to be more like a programmer's tool, but a power user can still make their way around a bit. I can click the dropdown at the top that says Default, and each of the properties that have values will show in bold. Then, I can use the fx (function) button to do more advanced functions. Notice in the Advanced pane on the right, a lot of the properties are listed there. See that I have my Trip End control selected, and the Default property says Trip_x0020_End, and you can also see the property and some others on the right. You'll notice that when you let PowerApps generate your app for you from your data, and when you use any of the default templates, a lot of that logic is already there. For example, when I click the little checkbox (submit) button control, I can see that the OnSelect has a long string as the function:

If(editGallery1!Valid, UpdateContext({EditRecord1: Patch('Travel Requests', EditRecord1, editGallery1!Updates)}); If(IsEmpty(Errors('Travel Requests', EditRecord1)), Navigate(DetailScreen1, ScreenTransition!None, {BrowseRecord1: EditRecord1})))

As you start filling in or typing a function, it does prompt you and help you out as you go, letting you know what it's expecting, to an extent. Here's their formula reference: https://powerapps.microsoft.com/en-us/tutorials/formula-reference/

Using the App

At any time, you can use the Share button that I mentioned at the beginning of this post, to share and let other people use this app. There are even iPad and Android apps that they can use!

Well that's all for now. This was just a preliminary run-through to get you started and familiarized with some of this.

September 15
Workflow Lazy Approval

What is lazy approval? It is the ability to reply to an approval email with the word "Approved" or "Rejected", without need for the approver to go to a site in SharePoint. With the mobile workforce, this is a feature that is in high demand, for people to quickly be able to read an email and approve or reject instantaneously. In this blog post, I'll show how this can be done with SharePoint 2013, specifically with SharePoint 2013 workflows. This is only an on premises solution, and is NOT available in Office 365, this specific solution also cannot be done with a SharePoint 2010 workflow. Office 365 does not have the functionality that SharePoint on premises has, where you can turn on "incoming email". On premises, this is something that your SharePoint server admin had to have set up at the server level.

Incoming email can be used for Document Libraries, Announcement lists, and Calendars.

When you turn on incoming email in a list or library, you assign it an email address. In this solution, this will be useful for lazy approval, because the approval email that they send can arrive in a SharePoint list, and then a workflow can go out and complete the associated task automatically.

The components of this solution:

  1. A request form that needs to be approved. My example is a very simple travel request form. This has been created as a custom list.
  2. A task list. In this example, I'm just letting the workflow use the default "Workflow Tasks" list on my SharePoint team site.
  3. An Announcement list. When I created this list, I used the "Announcements" list template. I named this list "Approval Email".

Two workflows:

  • Approve Travel. Running when new items are created in the travel request list (1)
  • This is a site workflow, and will wait for emails to arrive in the announcement list (3)

Some of the trickiest workarounds we'll be dealing with in this solution are the lack of list relationships. First of all, task lists are inherently not related anything. There is no lookup field that connects a task to the thing that is being approved. So we'll have to use the task name as a unique field. Also, when we receive incoming emails, they will not be related to anything either. Another challenge is that when you create a workflow ON the list where the emails are arriving (3), the arriving items do not trigger a workflow. This is why our workflow will be triggered in a different way. I've heard about people making configuration changes on the server or doing something with PowerShell to make this work, which would also make it work in 2010, but this solution is NOT going to make you do server changes.

My associated video:

SharePoint Power Hour Episode 97: Workflow Lazy Approval

Here's how to build this.

  1. On the approval email (announcement) list (3), go to list settings, and click Incoming Email Settings. I used the following settings. In this case, I only need simple information as to whether or not something is approved. The subject and body of the email will automatically fill in the Title and Body fields in the list. I don't need any email attachments, and I don't need the original *.EML email file. Also, I chose the email security policy to accept messages based on permissions. That way, I can let only a certain group of approvers have Contribute permissions on this list, and no one else. That way, I won't get random other people trying to send email here, or approve things they're not supposed to approve.
  2. Create the SharePoint Designer workflow, Approve Travel, on the list of travel requests. Set it up to run when new items are created.
  3. For the first action, use "Assign a task" or "Start a task process". I usually prefer the first one for several reasons, one to point out for this solution is that the task name will be identical for all tasks that get assigned for any given travel request. I named my stage Assign Task. Click the blue this user.
  4. For the participant, pick a user or group. For the task title, pick just the ID of the current item. Yes, in real scenarios that is not a feasible task title, but we will make this more complex later as we go along.
  5. Expand Email Options, and click the first Open email editor button, for the task creation email.

    Don't forget, you may want to modify the task overdue email in the same way, if you use these and if you want your users to have lazy approval links in these emails as well. Notice it in the screenshot above.
  6. This standard email tells the task assignee some info about what they're approving, with a link to the task and a link to the item needing approval. For a scenario where you want the approver to have all of the info they need, right in the email, it will help to insert some additional fields. You could insert every field from your travel request if you wanted to, but for demo purposes, I only inserted the start and end dates of the trip. This is also where we are going to insert links to let the approver click to do the lazy approval. Type the words Approve via email, and Reject via email. We will create the hyperlinks next, but here's the general idea:
  7. We will put all of the info that we need into a mailto URL. Here's the mailto Link Syntax guide that I found. Select the word Approve, and click the hyperlink button (the little globe). Click the little ellipsis next to the Address box, to bring up the string builder. For now we're going to keep this super simple, and only put the ID of the travel request in the email subject. We'll get it running that way, and then we can get more advanced with various string actions. What email address did you create at step 1? We'll use that here.

    mailto:wonderlauratest@atrackspace.com?subject=[Current Item ID]&body=Approved

  8. Click Ok twice, and then select the Reject text, so that you can make this a hyperlink also. Repeat step 7, and the only difference is that instead of Approved, the mailto syntax will have &body=Rejected
    Click Ok on all screens.
  9. This workflow is going to be pretty simplistic, and of course in the real world you will have other things going on in it. For example, I'm just going to log whether the travel was approved or not, but realistically you'd be using the Send an email action to notify people that something has been approved or not, etc. Add two more stages to the workflow, call them Approved and Rejected. Here's the whole thing:
  10. Finish out the Create the Approve Travel workflow as above, and publish it. Make sure it's set to run when a new item is created.
  11. Create a new SharePoint 2013 Site Workflow, and call it Wait for Email. The important thing to remember about this workflow is that it will be running and perpetually looping each time an email arrives in the Approval Email list (3), so each time you change it and publish a new version, you have to go terminate the currently running one, and start it all over again. This will mostly just happen during testing and the workflow creation process. Once it's being used, it will just run and stay running.
  12. For the first action, add Wait for event in list item. If you are not using a SharePoint 2013 workflow, you will not have this action available. No, I'm not sure how you'd do this in 2010. I named this first stage Waiting. Click the blue this item event.

  13. Choose Event: When an item is added, and for the list choose Approval Email. Click OK. This means that when a new email arrives in the approval email list, this action will be triggered on the already running workflow, and will also give you this variable called related item, which is the GUID of the item that was just created. (note that GUIDs are new to 2013 workflows and are not the same as the ID of the item)
  14. For the next action, choose Log to History list. This step is not required for this workflow to function, but gives you some reference info when troubleshooting. Just log that the email arrived, and what the GUID is. On the string builder, click OK.
  15. The only data that we have to go by in this arriving email is the info in the subject and body. To start off, we need to be able to match the arriving email with which task it needs to complete. In this simple example so far, we have created the task and the email to both equal the ID of the travel item being approved. After logging which item arrived, create another stage called Complete Task. The Waiting stage will just go straight to the Complete Task stage for now. Here's the whole thing, and I'll show you what was done in each action. Note that the "contains" that I used is case sensitive.
  16. Here's the Set Workflow Variable action (the 3rd one). Set an integer variable called TaskID to this, which is the ID of the task WHERE the title of the task is equal to the email subject of the email that just arrived. This TaskID can now be used in several other places in the workflow, to reference the task.
  17. Here's the Approval Email: Body (the IF statements). Basically, get the Body of the email WHERE the GUID of the item in the approval email list matches the related item variable.
  18. The Update item in Workflow Tasks is the Update item action. Basically, set the status to completed and outcome to Approved for the task WHERE the ID of the task equals the TaskID workflow variable. Whew!

  19. For the Else if part of the workflow where the rejection is, you can just use copy and paste in your workflow to copy the IF statement and also the update list item action. Then, all you need to change is the word approved to the word Rejected.

  20. Notice that the last Transition to Stage is to go back to the beginning, to the Waiting stage. This way, the workflow will be waiting again for the next email to arrive. Once your whole workflow looks like step 15, Publish it. Go to your SharePoint site, and go to Site Contents. Click Site Workflows.
     
  21. Click the name of your Wait for email workflow, to kick it off. Then you will see it listed under My Running Workflows, in the Waiting status (because that's what we called the first stage).
  22. Okay, time to try it out and see what it can do so far, BEFORE making it more complicated. Go to your travel request list and create a new request. I think I'll go to Hawaii.
     
  23. Wait for the task assignment email to arrive. I simply assigned mine to myself for now. This could take 5 minutes or so, because these run based on a timer job on the server. Here's the email

  24. Try the Approve hyperlink. See that it opens up a new email. Click Send, without changing anything. (This can also be verbiage that we can add to the task and the email, telling users not to change it just click Send.)
  25. Keep an eye on the Approval Email list on your site. The email will arrive here, which will trigger the workflow to complete the associated task (in Workflow Tasks), which will then display the word Approved next to my travel request for my trip to Hawaii (Travel Request list). You can change your view in the Approval Email list, to include extra columns, such as Body and E-mail Sender. The Title and Email Subject will have the same value.
    You may want to try doing a couple of these. Also, take a look at the still running site workflow from step 20. Click on the Waiting status, to see the log of what's happened so far. If your workflow says "Suspended", that means that there's a problem, so click End Workflow. Then once you fix/tweak and re-publish (like I have done many, many times in figuring this out), you just have to remember to do step 20 again (start it again).


     
  26. Okay, so now that you see that it works, you will probably want to make some tweaks, such as to have a better email subject, or to even make sure that the person sending the approval email is actually the same person that the task is assigned to. This is where it can get really tricky. In SharePoint Designer, open your Approve Travel workflow to edit it. Open your Assign a task action, so that you see the screenshot in step 4. Click the ellipsis next to the task title. I'm calling mine Travel Req: # Approval. Click OK. (I'm using the term "approval" as a generic term referring to the approval process. The actual outcome is approved or rejected, and it will be in the body.)
  27. Now the task will look nicer, but now we need to make the email subject still match the task name so that step 17 will work correctly. I also use the URLEncode URLDecode website to help me with my syntax. I'm also throwing in some info about who is going and where they are going.

    With the above syntax, when the approver clicks the Approve hyperlink in the email, it will create this email, and they just need to click Send.
     
  28. If you want to check the name of the email responder to make sure it's the same as the person who the task is assigned to, this adds more complexity, but can be done. Here's the new, more complex workflow, with logging added as well:

  29. Here's how to do the comparison between the person sending the lazy approval email and the person the task is assigned to. This is in the IF statement inside that first stage transition.

    and

That's it! There are many different ways you could slice this, but I tried to break it down to the simplest way. If you need to extract specific info from within the body or subject after the email arrives, there are several utility actions that can be used:

Also, there's the possible complexity you may have when using the task process that involves more than one approver. All task names are the same for that one travel request when that happens. One thing you can possibly do, would be to run a workflow on the task list, so that when items are changed, and the status is equal to completed, it actually changes the task name. Another idea: When you send the lazy approval email, there is no task ID available to include in it, but there is a task URL, which will inherently contain the unique ID of the task. You could include that in the response email, and then use the utility actions to extract that ID, like extract substring from index of string. For example, my task url might be http://site.contoso.com/lists/tasks/dispform.aspx?ID=# so the index would be 54, which is where the ID is. As you can see, it could get much more complicated. For troubleshooting, don't forget steps 21 and 25.

Again, here are the requirements to be able to do this:

  • SharePoint 2013 on premises
  • Incoming email is set up on the server

No, I don't know how this could be done in Office 365, and yes, this type of solution is possible in SP 2010 I've heard, but there's something you have to do on the server to make the arriving email actually trigger a workflow, since it won't by default. I've never done it.

 

August 20
Simple Browser Settings for “Single Sign On”

This is a topic that I’m being asked about more and more frequently, so that’s a great reason to write a post!  There are issues that crop up, multiple annoying authentication prompts, and even issues and errors with MS Office (and InfoPath) integration with SharePoint.  The best part about this browser setting, is that it gets rid of your authentication prompts for SharePoint after the first login. First of all, I’ll show you the quick fix, and then I’ll let you know some of the issues that it solves. 

This is really important for end users to know!

  1. First of all, what Internet Explorer (IE) security zone is your SharePoint site in?  Go to your SharePoint site in IE.
  2. Open up the Internet Explorer Internet Options screen.  Go to the Security tab:
    image
  3. What zone is selected by default?  Mine has Trusted Sites selected, so that’s how I know that’s the zone my site is in.  I like to leave my internet zone with pretty high security settings, so for any SharePoint site I go to frequently, I usually add them to my Trusted Sites zone.  If you’re on a corporate network, you may notice that your SharePoint site is already in the Local Intranet zone, which makes sense.
  4. For the zone that your SharePoint site is in, click the Custom Level button. (Again, I’m not recommending you do this for the Internet zone, but I’ll show you other options in a minute).
  5. After you click Custom Level, scroll all the way to the bottom.  In the User Authentication section, select Automatic logon with current user name and password.  Click OK.
    image
  6. After you’ve done this, close and re-open your browser, then when you go to your SharePoint site, and when you log in at the authentication prompt, be sure to check the box to remember your credentials before clicking OK.
    image

I use the trusted sites zone for SharePoint sites that I go to which aren’t necessarily on my intranet.  To add sites to it, look at the screenshot at step 1 and click the Sites button there. 
image

You don’t need to type the names of every single web app in the farm.  You can simply use an asterisk.  See in the example above, I put an asterisk there, and any site that has something.atrackspace.com will be covered.  Notice that there are a couple of them in my list that I could have consolidated.  So instead of my.contoso.com and rtm.contoso.com, I could just put *.contoso.com.

After you add your site to the list, click Close. Click OK on all screens.  You also may want to go to the IE Compatibility View Settings screen, and add your SharePoint site there as well.

Why would you want to do all of this?  Here are some issues that I’ve seen it fix:

  • Dragging files into SharePoint libraries.  If you’re not able to, this fixes it.
  • This security prompt will go away. “Some files contain viruses that can be harmful to your computer.  It is important to be certain that this file is from a trustworthy source.”
    image
  • You’ll stop being prompted for credentials every time you open an Office file or create a new one directly from SharePoint.
  • Saving straight from Office programs to SharePoint.  When you start a new file directly in an Office program, you can save it straight to a SharePoint library without having to go to the site in the browser.  I’ve seen this not act properly when browser settings are not correct.  When saving straight to SharePoint, it’s supposed to look like this.  See, you can see the site branding at the top, and you can even navigate up a level, and navigate to another library, using the breadcrumb trail at the top. 
    image
    This may look slightly different depending on your OS and/or version of MS Office.
  • Gets rid of this error when trying to publish an InfoPath form to SharePoint.  I’m trying to reproduce it, to get the exact text, but haven’t been able to. 
    image

I’ll update this post if I think of any other issues and errors that this fix solves.  In general, it improves your Office integration with SharePoint, dramatically.

What about those of you who are server administrators, who would like to apply these IE settings globally, using Group Policy?  You can do that!  Lori Gowin and I are actually presenting a session next week at SPTechCon, about ways that the server admin can help improve user adoption, and this is one of the things we talk about.

Group Policy

image

The value 1 = intranet zone, so intranet zone is selected here:

image

Have fun!  I’m interested to see the feedback on this one, and if you server admins have anything to throw in that I missed.

July 20
Speaking at SPTechCon in Boston

SPTC-Bost15-SpeakerBadgeHi everyone, I’m really looking forward to speaking at the SharePoint Technology Conference (SPTechCon) August 24-27, 2015!

I’ve been speaking at this conference for about six years now, and I absolutely love it.  It’s a nice size, so that you get a chance to network with others, but aren’t too overwhelmed.  It’s also SharePoint/SharePoint Online specific, compared to other conferences that combine many different technologies.

When you register for the conference, use my code ROGERS to get a $200 discount off of a full conference pass! 

Click here to see my speaker profile.

Click here to see all sessions on the site, with various filters to find sessions you’re interested in.

While you’re there, come visit us in Rackspace booth 400, meet us and get some cool swag!  My co-workers who will also be speaking there are @ToddKlindt and @SharePointlhorn (Jason Himmelstein).

Here is a list of my sessions:

Aug25

11:00 – 12:15

Creating an Approval Workflow

Forms and documents are everywhere in your organization, and a lot of them must go through an approval process. SharePoint is such a flexible platform, it provides us with multiple methods that can be used to build our processes. In this class, learn about these different out-of-box ways to create a workflow around a form approval process. You will see the various alternatives when creating an approval workflow: content approval, out of box workflows, and the task process designer in a SharePoint Designer workflow. Quickly create and implement intuitive workflows for your critical IT and business systems, with no programming involved! The concepts in this class are applicable to SharePoint 2010, 2013 and Office 365. This session consists of simple and purely out-of-box settings and functionalities, geared toward beginners.

4:00 – 5:15

Simplifying File Organization with Enterprise Keywords

When working with documents in SharePoint and Office 365, there are various challenges around categorizing and organizing documents. Most of the challenges are around end user understanding and training. Metadata, folders, and combinations of the two are used in order to keep documents where they belong and find them when needed.

In this class, you will learn about the flexibility of using Enterprise Keywords, and the many integration points with Office and Windows. With the end goal of being to remove complexity for end users, you will learn about tagging from within Office and OneDrive, automatic tagging, organizing metadata, and then how to make it easy to find what has been tagged.

Aug26

11:45 – 1:00

Driving User Adoption, From a Technical Standpoint

Presented by: Lori Gowin & Laura Rogers

When IT professionals set up the infrastructure of SharePoint, the subsequent task of end user adoption is often left to the business unit. During this process, the business unit will often turn to “The SharePoint Person” for help and guidance. Good news, IT Pros, there are useful technical configurations in the administration console to improve and increase user adoption. Ultimately this will improve user satisfaction with SharePoint and increase productivity. The instructors both began as SharePoint Administrators 11 years ago. The real world experience of implementing these practices will be integral in this class. Among the topics covered will be defining user audiences, improving Office integration with SharePoint, and demonstrations of improving how users can quickly and easily get to the information they need. When leaving this class, you will possess a specific action list that may be used to optimize their technical experience and drive user adoption.

June 18
Internal Company Newsletter Using SharePoint

This is a very simple trick, and it can be done with any version of SharePoint such as 2007, 2010, or Office 365. 

I see a lot of companies send out newsletters to their employees, and sometimes they actually pay for services such as MailChimp or Constant Contact, in order to send out those newsletters.  In this post, I’ll show you a way that you can do this in SharePoint, if you want to save some money and not use those other services.  Also, this offers something that those services don’t offer… a place to go look to reference older newsletters from the past. 

The solution?  Create a SharePoint blog site and create alerts on the “Posts” list.  That’s it.  Here’s the step-by-step on how to do that.

  1. In SharePoint (or SharePoint Online), create a blog site.  (use the “Blog” site template)
    Whatever you name your site, that will be the “From” name that will show when these newsletters arrive in people’s inboxes.  So for mine, I’m calling the site “Team Newsletter”.

    image
  2. Click the little Site Settings gear at the top right, to go to Site Contents.
  3. Go to the list called Posts.  In the ribbon, in the List tab, choose Alert Me, and Set alert on this list.
    image
  4. Change the Alert Title to New Newsletter. 
    In the Send Alerts To, I put Everyone, so that it will go to everyone in the company.  This part is up to you.  Who is the group of people who need to receive this newsletter?  You can put that SharePoint group here, or put an email-enabled AD group, or just a bunch of individuals here.
    Important!  When you set up this alert, everyone in that group will immediately receive an email letting them know that they have had an alert set up for them.
    Change Type – New Items are Added
    Leave the rest of the options as default, and click OK.
    If you’re just testing this at first, just put your own name in the box to send alerts to.
    image
  5. Open Microsoft Word, and for your template, select Blog Post.  Click Create.
    image
  6. In Word, in the Blog Post tab in the ribbon, click NEW, and add the URL to your blog site if it isn’t already there.  You can see that I have two different ones in mine now.
    image
  7. Give your newsletter a title where it says “Enter Post Title Here”.  You can also give your post a category with the Insert Category button.
    Here are a lot more resources on the topic of blogging from MS Word.
  8. To make this look and feel like a newsletter, I use the insert tab to insert a table with two columns.  Then it’s just all about adding your content that you’d normally put in your own newsletter.  As a shortcut, I’m creating a new file in Word, and using some example newsletter, so that I can copy over some of the images and example text over into my blog post table that I already inserted.  Now it looks like this after some colors and pictures are added: 
    image
  9. Click Publish.
  10. You’ll receive a SharePoint alert email that looks just like your “newsletter”! 
    SNAGHTML2590e5a2
  11. Another thing to pay attention to is permissions.  For all of the people who will receive this newsletter, you may want to also give them permissions to your blog site, at least read permissions, so that if they click any of the links in the email, they won’t get access denied errors.  You will definitely need to give them at least read access to the library called “Photos” on your blog site.  This is where the images from your posts automatically get stored.
    You can tell that there is some work that could be done around using the right fonts and some formatting, but the cool part is that the images come across too, and all of the tables and colors come across in the email just like they were set up. 
    Here’s another one that I did, that turned out really nice looking in the alert email:
  12. What about all that nice information that you get with newsletter products, about the number of clicks and stuff?  You can kind of do that with this also, with built in reporting.  At the site collection level, go to site settings, and site collection features.  Enable the feature called Reporting.
    image
  13. Once you have reporting enabled, all of your libraries will have a button in the library tab of the ribbon, called Most Popular Items.  In your blog site, go to Site Contents, go to the library called Photos, and click Most Popular Items.
    image
  14. For the alert emails that go out, this is how you can track whether people have opened them.  In the email client, when the photos are shown in the email, the users are actually authenticating to SharePoint to see those photos.  This will count as views to the items.  Go to your Photos library on your blog site, and click Most Popular Items.  This will show you the number of people who have viewed those pictures (via the newsletter!).
June 09
SPBiz Virtual Conference Next Week

SPBiz-Speakers-BadgeNext week, I’ll be speaking at the SPBiz virtual conference!  It runs for 24 hours, June 17-18th, so that no matter where you are in the world, you’ll be able to attend.

My session will be:

Making Life Easy with Tagging and OneDrive for Business

When working with documents in SharePoint and Office 365, there are various challenges around categorizing and organizing documents. Most of the challenges are around end user understanding and training.  Metadata, folders, and combinations of the two are used in order to keep documents where they belong and find them when needed.

6/23 update: Click here for the recorded version

Type of Session
Data Management and Architecture
Why is this topic of interest to the attendees?
In this session, you will learn about the flexibility of using Enterprise Keywords, and the many integration points with Office and Windows.  With the end goal being to remove complexity for end users.
Features Covered
  • Libraries
  • Enterprise Keywords
  • Managed Metadata Service
  • Search
  • Microsoft Office
Session Objectives
In this session, you will learn:
  • Tagging from within Office and OneDrive
  • Automatic tagging
  • Organizing metadata
  • How to make it easy to find what has been tagged
Audience Level
Easy
Target Audience
Power User / Site Manager

I actually pre-recorded this session.  The awesome thing about that is that during the session I will be in there being social with all of you in the chat window, and answering questions the whole time!

Go ahead and go to their site and register, and I’m looking forward to seeing you there!

May 22
SharePoint Saturday Atlanta

SPSATL_Banner

In one week, I’ll be driving to Atlanta, to speak at SharePoint Saturday!  This is always a great (FREE) event, and this year the list of speakers is phenomenal! You can Register now.

Here’s some information about the sessions I’ll be teaching:

9:15 AM - Creating an Approval Workflow: Part 1

Level: 100

Track: End-User, Business

Forms and documents are everywhere in your organization, and a lot of them must go through an approval process. SharePoint is such a flexible platform, it provides us with multiple methods that can be used to build our processes. In this session, learn about these different out-of-box ways to create a workflow around a form approval process. Laura Rogers will show you the various alternatives when creating an approval workflow: content approval, out of box workflows, and the task process designer in a SharePoint Designer workflow. Quickly create and implement intuitive workflows for your critical IT and business systems, with no programming involved! The concepts in this session are applicable to SharePoint 2010, 2013 and Office 365. This is part 1 of a 2 part presentation. This first part has only the simple and purely out-of-box settings and functionalities, geared toward beginners.

2:45 PM - Creating an Approval Workflow: Part 2

Level: 300

Track: End-User, Business

Forms and documents are everywhere in your organization, and a lot of them must go through an approval process. SharePoint is such a flexible platform, it provides us with multiple methods that can be used to build our processes. Quickly create and implement intuitive workflows for your critical IT and business systems, with no programming involved! In this advanced session, learn about creating a completely custom new hire approval process. In this part 2 session, Laura Rogers will build out an HR onboarding workflow in SharePoint Designer, using a complex example that involves a process with both serial and parallel components, with multiple workflows. The concepts in this session are applicable to SharePoint 2010, 2013 and Office 365. This is part 2 of a 2 part presentation. This second part has only advanced concepts geared towards those who are already familiar with SharePoint Designer workflows.

Hopefully I’ll see you there!

March 30
Speaking at Microsoft Ignite #MSIgnite

It’s official, as of today, there are only 34 days until Microsoft’s biggest conference, Ignite!  As we lead up to the conference, there are so many exciting things happening, so if you have registered, I definitely recommend staying tuned to what’s going on when you log into the conference site.  The schedule builder will be coming online soon, and if the last SharePoint conference is any indication, there will probably be a lot of useful social tools on the site, so that we can get to know each other and the speakers before the conference even starts!  Also, I’m excited to announce that I’ll be presenting some sessions there!

Here are my three sessions:


1. MVP Panel:

SharePoint On-Premises, Online and Everything in Between

Speakers: Christian Buckley, Christopher McNulty, Dan Holme, Jennifer Ann Mason, Laura Rogers

Type: Best Practices

Audience: IT Influencers & Implementers

Topic: Deployment & Implementation

Imagine five great minds coming together to talk about Microsoft SharePoint across the board, be it within Microsoft Office 365, in Microsoft Azure, on-premises and certainly hybrid. Via a panel Q&A format, these MVP experts expose how online and hybrid improvements increase both deployment scenarios and value. This session is designed to help ITIs and ITDMs find the right cloud formula to deploy based on practical business and technical considerations. This is a must-not-miss session for any IT pro!


2. Breakout Session:

Driving User Adoption from a Technical Standpoint for SharePoint, Exchange and Office 365

Speakers: Laura Rogers, Lori Gowin

Type: Best Practices

Audience: IT Influencers & Implementers

Topic: Usage & Adoption

Good news, IT pros, there are useful technical configurations in the SharePoint administration console that will improve user satisfaction and increase productivity and adoption. Topics covered and demonstrated include defining user audiences, improving Microsoft Office integration, and managing available apps. This session uses real-world experience to help you define a specific action list that may be used to optimize user experience and drive user adoption.

image


3. Pre-Day session (Sunday):

End-to-End OneDrive for Business Planning, Deployment, Best Practices and Adoption Techniques

Speakers: Laura Rogers, Todd Klindt

Type: Pre-Day
(additional fee required)

Audience: IT Influencers & Implementers

Topic: Deployment & Implementation

This pre-day session covers IT planning and adoption considerations to properly deploy Microsoft OneDrive for Business. The topics include ways to synchronize your on-premises directory data to the cloud to achieve identity SSO (single sign-on); rollout of OneDrive for Business across your organization (training, apps, sync client); getting other Office 365 suite-level features running in conjunction with OneDrive for Business; and overall management for OneDrive for Business in production across all your users. The training, too, will cover numerous deployment scenarios especially hybrid.

image

To read my previous blog post about this conference, you can click here.

See you all there!

February 24
Speaking at SharePoint Evolution Conference

Square-Web-Banner

This April, I’m very excited to be invited again to speak at the SharePoint Evolution Conference in London.  This is the largest SharePoint conference in the world in 2015! 

There really is no conference like this one.  Besides the fact that it’s just awesome and it brings together the top experts in the world, the conference also provides attendees with a set of DVDs of all conference sessions afterwards!  Also, as a bonus, a new 4th day has been added as a free dev day for Office 365 developers.

See you there!

My sessions are:

Making the Most of the Out-of-Box Web Parts

There are over fifty out-of-the-box web parts in the enterprise version of SharePoint!  In this session, you will learn just how flexible and useful these web parts are.  Not only will you get a detailed look at the Filter, Excel, Social, Rollup and Media web parts, but you will learn about a few new ones in SharePoint 2013 such as the Content Search Web Part.  You will then learn how to customize some of these web parts, see examples, demonstrations, and learn about new features.   All of this is done without writing any code.  Push SharePoint as far as you can using out-of-box functionality! 

Creating a Business Solution Workflow, Part 1

Forms and documents are everywhere in your organization, and a lot of them must go through an approval process. SharePoint is such a flexible platform, it provides us with multiple methods that can be used to build our processes. In this session, learn about these different out-of-box ways to create a workflow around a form approval process. Laura Rogers will show you the various alternatives when creating an approval workflow: content approval, out of box workflows, and the task process designer in a SharePoint Designer workflow. Quickly create and implement intuitive workflows for your critical IT and business systems, with no programming involved! The concepts in this session are applicable to SharePoint 2010, 2013 and Office 365.

This is part 1 of a 2 part presentation. This first part has only the simple and purely out-of-box settings and functionalities.

Creating a Business Solution Workflow, Part 2

Forms and documents are everywhere in your organization, and a lot of them must go through an approval process.  SharePoint is such a flexible platform, it provides us with multiple methods that can be used to build our processes.  Quickly create and implement intuitive workflows for your critical IT and business systems, with no programming involved!  In this advanced session, learn about creating a completely custom new hire approval process.  In this part 2 session, Laura Rogers will build out an HR onboarding workflow in SharePoint Designer, using a complex example that involves a process with both serial and parallel components, with multiple workflows.  The concepts in this session are applicable to SharePoint 2010, 2013 and Office 365. 

This is part 2 of a 2 part presentation.  This second part has only advanced concepts geared towards those who are already familiar with SharePoint Designer workflows.

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Laura Rogers @WonderLaura
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Display a Sub-Site List on a Top Level Site132
Workflow: Reminder Before Due Date – MOSS vs. WSS130
InfoPath 2010 and Repeating Tables126
The Text Filter Web Part – Without Having To Filter Exact Text122
InfoPath – Query Specific SharePoint List Data103
Displaying SharePoint Fields by Permission Level101
Web Part: Sites that I have access to89
InfoPath: Pre-populate the People Picker77
Using Content Types as Statuses76
SharePoint List Form – Default User Information75
SharePoint 2013 Out of Box Web Parts70
Click to Copy List Item to New69
List of SharePoint 2010 Web Parts68
User Information within InfoPath Forms62
Hack: Data View Web Parts in SharePoint 201349
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